Joseph Lawrence "Jay" Fohner Jr., 88, husband of Gayle Turbeville Fohner, passed away Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, at Covenant Place in Sumter.

Born in Beaumont, Texas, to the late Joseph Lawrence and Julia Ruth Moore Fohner, he was a graduate of the University of Maryland and retired from the USAF after 20 years of active service as a navigator and meteorologist. Following his time in the military, he went on to enjoy a career in civil engineering and land surveying.

He loved being on the water and outdoors. Of all the boats he had, his prize was a sailboat named Fantasea on which he and Gayle lived and sailed for five years. They went everywhere from Annapolis to Granada. He made wonderful drawings of the people and places he visited. He was always kind and giving of himslef. A strong Christian soldier, he was always thinking of others' needs. A husband, father and friend to many, those who knew him will have many happy memories.

Surviving are his wife of 41 years; two sons, Joseph L. "Joe" Fohner III and wife ELlen, of Camden, Thomas A. "Tom" Fohner and wife Mary, of Omaha, Nebraska; and a daughter, Deborah S. Vallez, of Chesapeake, Virginia; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his first wife, Addie B. Fohner; and two sisters, Anna May Bunker and Ellen Ballsmith.

Memorial services will be 1 p.m. Wednesday at The Church of the Holy Comforter with the Rev. John Sosnowski and the Rev. Canon D. Joseph Rhodes officiating.

The family will receive friends from 2-3 p.m. Wednesday in the church parish hall. Burial will follow the visitation in Sumter Cemetery with full military honors.

The family is at the home.

If you would like to make a memorial, please consider The Church of the Holy Comforter, 213 N. Main St., Sumter, SC, 29150, or to The American Cancer Society, 128 Stone Mark Lane, Columbia, SC, 29210.

Online condolences may be sent to

Elmore Hill McCreight Funeral Home & Crematory, 221 Broad St., is in charge of the arrangements, (803) 775-9386.