Joe Vickery Jr.

Joe Vickery Jr.

Henry Joseph Vickery Jr., better known as “Joe” Vickery, went to be with his Lord, May 15, 2015. He was born to Henry and Videlia Vickery August 20, 1933 in Anniston, Alabama.  The family moved to Texas City in 1947 where Joe attended Blocker Jr. High and Texas City High school where he was active in the school’s athletic programs.

Joe was a member of the Marine Corps Reserves in Galveston when the unit was activated in 1950. He proudly served his country during the Korean conflict and for many years thereafter in the Active Reserves. While in the Corps, he was nominated for Marine of the Year. He was an excellent marksman qualifying expert in both rifle and pistol.

Upon returning home, he finished his education and was employed at NASA for two years. He then transferred to the Galveston County Health District. Joe was active in many professional organizations including, Texas Public Health Association, Sanitarians Association and the Environmental Health Association. He was elected and served many years as Director of Texas Municipal Health Officials, Eastern Section. This area included all of east Texas. During Joe's tenure as the Director of Environmental and Consumer Health his Department was considered one of the best and most progressive in the state. Environmental and consumer health programs in Galveston County were recognized as front runners and models throughout Texas. Joe loved animals and spent many years working to have a State approved animal shelter built in Galveston County. In 1993 the Animal Shelter at 3412 Loop 197 N was completed and the county commissioners court named it the “Joe Vickery Animal Shelter” in his honor. The shelter is sometimes referred to as the Galveston County or Texas City Animal Shelter. He was also a two time Director of the Galveston County Mosquito Control Department. He retired in 1993 and was honored with the title of Director Emeritus. After his retirement he remained as Chairman of the Mosquito Control Board for ten years.  

Joe was a life member of the Marine Corps League. Esprit de Corps (Group Spirit, Pride, Devotion) was his motto and Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful) was his code. He held the office of Chaplain and Commandant in the Galveston Detachment and was elected Chaplain, Department of Texas in 2014. He authored the Marine Corps League “Fallen Marine Program” in 2002. This program honors all fallen Marines and was adopted by the State Department as their official honor service. It has since been adopted by Departments and hundreds of Detachments all over the world. Joe has led Honored Services for over 400 fallen Marines in the Galveston County area. He was presented The Unsung Hero Award in 2011 by the Galveston Daily News for his efforts.

Joe loved to travel with friends and believed laughter was holistic medicine. He welcomed a good story and never missed a chance to share one. He loved sports of all kinds. In his younger years he played tennis, racket ball, semi-pro football and golf. At one time, he carried a golf handicap of 71.5 with his lowest score being a 59. He had 3 hole-in-ones and shot in the low 70's well into his late 70's. In the 1950's Joe was also one of only four Water Safety Instructor Trainers in the State of Texas

Joe was an active member of the First Baptist Church in Texas City. He accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at an early age. He often admitted having problems back sliding in his Christian life but said many times, “If you attend church regularly and walk with God daily, He will wash the grease from your shoes.”

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, sons Walter Harris and Jay Vickery, and brothers Curtis Hurst and James Vickery. He is survived by his wife of 47 years Dolores Vickery, daughters, Debbie Harris, Karen Brewer, Cayce Brewster and husband William, and Rita Mussmann and husband August. Sons Keith and wife Victoria and Richard Vickery. Sisters Lucille Sizemore and Margaret Dale and husband Bill. Brothers Donnie Caltagirone and wife Janet, and Ronnie Caltagirone and wife Lorrie. Grandchildren, Kara Brewer, Michelle Scott, Christy Key, Kari Vickery, Katie Halstead, Richard Keenan Vickery, Jr. and three great grandchildren.

Visitation will be from five to seven p.m. Tuesday, May 19th at Carnes Funeral Home, 3100 I-45 N Texas City, Texas.  Services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 20th at First Baptist Church, 1400 9th Avenue N. Texas City, Texas. Interment Service to follow at Forest Park East.  Honor service will be performed by the Marine Corps League, Detachment #668 and the United States Marine Corps. Pallbearers will be his fellow Marines. Honorary pallbearers are Dr. John Hart, Ben Levisee, Bill Dale, Jim Greenwood, and Herbert Noakes. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Baptist Church 1400 9th Ave. North Texas City, Texas 77590 or Marine Corps League, Two Fort Point Bldg. 6B MCTC, Galveston, Texas 77550.

Walk with God.