Joseph Burton (Joe) Applegate passed away on December 4, 2018. Dr. Applegate grew up in Washington, DC, and Albany, Georgia, where he excelled in sports and general awesomeness. He attended East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, where he studied English and psychology, earning his Master’s Degree in English and subsequently teaching college English for a number of years until fate sent him to Florida State University to earn his doctorate and meet the love of his life. After settling in Georgia, he and his wife managed a small business, J & N Collectibles, and spent the next ten years traveling to shows on weekends and selling memorabilia online. After retiring in 2007, he spent much of his time caring for his wife and his animals, all of whom he adored.
He is survived by his loving wife of 27 years, Nancy Applegate; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Ed and Inge Grant, who loved him like a son; a clowder of cats; numerous raccoons, possums (all named Opie), and squirrels (all named Fred); and some human siblings, nieces, nephews, and cousins whose parents employed a more complex naming strategy. Children loved him (although he didn’t understand them), and people who met him once, standing in a gas station or chatting in a restaurant, often remembered him ten years later.
He was a Renaissance man, able to talk on nearly any subject, having worked in fields as diverse as academia, retail, journalism, sports refereeing, and sports memorabilia sales. Among his many gifts were his ability to read subtle clues about people and his knack for making people feel better after a difficult situation. He was, at various periods in his life, too broke to buy a mosquito a low-cut vest and as happy as a gopher in soft dirt. He will be remembered for his larger-than-life personality, his kindness to small things, and his ability to brighten any room that he entered.
On the night of his death, his last words to his wife were the same last words he had spoken to her every night for twenty-seven years: “I love you.” He will be missed.
A celebration of Joe’s life will be held in the Solarium at the Rome campus of Georgia Highlands College on Wednesday, December 12, from 3:30-5:00 PM.
Henderson & Sons Funeral Home, South Chapel makes this announcement for the family.