Joe Cooke VanDyke, Jr.

December 31, 1947 ~ November 4, 2023 (age 75) 75 Years Old

Joe VanDyke, Jr. Obituary

Joe Cooke VanDyke Jr., 75, passed away at his home on November 4, 2023, after a short, but fierce battle with esophageal cancer. 

His Celebration of Life service will be Sunday, November 12, 2023, at Magnolia Church of Christ at 3:00 PM. The family will receive visitors from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. The service will be presided over by Grant Azbell and Billy Ray Warren.

Joe was born in Lexington, TN. on December 31, 1947. He graduated from David Lipscomb University with a degree in Psychology in 1969, then began graduate work in counseling at Harding Graduate School of Religion in Memphis. Joe served multiple churches in Georgia and Tennessee before moving to Florence, Alabama, where he served the remainder of his ministry.  Joe, Rita, and their boys moved to the Shoals area in 1981.  He preached at Chisholm Hills Church of Christ until 1993, when he then became the founding minister of Magnolia Church of Christ. He retired from full-time ministry in 2014. 

Joe and Rita were married December 12, 1969, and shared a wonderful life together for almost 54 years. After his retirement in 2014, they enjoyed traveling (they loved visiting Boston and the beach) and spending time with their children and grandchildren. Although retired from full-time ministry, Joe was still very involved in serving at Magnolia with Rita by his side. 

Joe loved the Shoals area! He was one of several local ministers who served as a Chaplain in the Florence Police chaplaincy group at its origination. Over the 42 years he lived in the Shoals, he served on numerous local boards of different agencies and preached in many different churches sharing the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:37-39). Joe had the honor of leading the opening prayers in both the United States House of Representatives and the Alabama State Senate.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Joe Cooke, Sr., and Charlotte Locke VanDyke. 

Joe is survived by his wife of 54 years, Rita Gossett VanDyke; sons, Will VanDyke and his wife Susan of Brentwood, TN, and Doug VanDyke and his wife Brandi of Florence, AL; grandchildren, Breanna Martin, Davis VanDyke, Claire VanDyke, David VanDyke, and Luke VanDyke; sister, Glenda Taylor; and nieces, Vonda Fowke (Mike) and Valerie Herndon (Brad).

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Benevolence Ministry at Magnolia Church of Christ.

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November 12, 2023

1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Magnolia Church of Christ
2650 Vulcan Avenue
Florence, AL 35630

Celebration of Life
November 12, 2023

3:00 PM
Magnolia Church of Christ
2650 Vulcan Avenue
Florence, AL 35630


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