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

Born in Beaumont, TX, to the late Joseph Lawrence and Julia Ruth Moore Fohner, Jay 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, Jay 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. Jay made wonderful drawings of the people and places he visited. He was always kind and giving of himself. A strong Christian soldier, he was always thinking of other’s needs. A husband, father, and friend of 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, NE; and a daughter, Deborah S. Vallez of Chesapeake, VA; 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 1:00 P.M. Wednesday at The Church of the Holy Comforter with the Reverend John Sosnowski and the Reverend Canon D. Joseph Rhodes officiating. 

The family will receive friends from 2:00 until 3:00 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 Street, Sumter, SC 29150, or to The American Cancer Society, 128 Stone Mark Lane, Columbia, SC 29210.

On-line condolences may be sent to

Elmore Hill McCreight Funeral Home & Crematory, 221 Broad Street, Sumter, is in charge of the arrangements