John Lee Carthel, 1928–2021

John Lee Carthel of Lockney passed away on Thursday, April 22, 2021.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at the West College and 3rd Street Church of Christ in Lockney. Steve McLean officiated.

Interment followed at the Lockney Cemetery.

Visitation was held from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at the Moore-Rose Funeral Home Chapel in Lockney.

Arrangements were under the personal care of Moore-Rose Funeral Home in Lockney.

John Lee Carthel was born in Lockney, Texas, on February 23, 1928, the second child of John T. and Ruth Carthel.

Shortly before John Lee was born, his father John T. had a bad accident and suffered a fractured lumbar vertebra, which partly crippled him for a few years. John Lee was born at the beginning of the Dust Bowl and Great Depression era. His family survived the hard times on their farm animals and produce they raised in the garden. He remembered as a very young fellow pulling the wagon with milk jars out to milk the cows, with his father crawling alongside him on his hands and knees.

John Lee showed great interest in farming and mechanical things from a young age. When he was about 7 years old his family often got together to enjoy singing gospel songs, but during those gatherings he said he much preferred to go out to the barn. In the grain bin, he’d draw out an imaginary field and challenge himself to figure out the best way to drive a combine through his envisioned field, so as to harvest the crop in the most efficient way possible.

Later, as a teenager and young adult John Lee learned to love singing, and at one time was leading songs at church so often that he had every song number and title memorized in the whole songbook. John Lee was baptized in 1941 by Paul Knight or perhaps Leland Knight (two brothers who were strong Church of Christ preachers during those years).

John Lee initially attended the Prairie Chapel school but finished his schooling in Lockney, graduating with his high school diploma in 1946. His high school years occurred during WWII, and most qualified teachers in the community had relocated to be involved in the war effort. John Lee related that several times he and another student had to teach the stand-in math teacher their math lessons. In many classes the students were largely self taught. A good part of his high school senior year was spent designing and building Lockney school’s first concrete tennis courts. School administration supplied him with help from other students during their school hours to provide manpower to get the building project done.

John Lee married his beloved sweetheart, Jo Ann Canon, on June 8, 1947. Charles Watkins conducted their wedding. (23 years earlier Bro. Watkins had conducted his parents’ wedding ceremony for John T. and Ruth.) After a short honeymoon, John Lee and Jo Ann lived on their farm north of Lockney and raised two daughters and four sons. They were members of the Westside Church of Christ at W. College & 3rd in Lockney their entire married life. John Lee served the church for many years, first being ordained as a deacon on Oct. 29, 1967, then was ordained as an elder on Sept. 12, 1976, serving as an elder for 42 years until his retirement on Dec. 31, 2018.

John Lee loved farming, and God blessed him with good success. He was extraordinarily gifted with mechanical understanding, enabling him to design and fix many, many things during his farming career. One son commented, “As a kid, once while I was helping him work on something outside his shop I asked, ‘Dad, how do you know how to do all this stuff?’ Dad replied, ‘The way I see it, if someone else can do it, I can do it. It might not be as fast or as pretty, but I can do it.’ Another son commented, “A huge life lesson I learned from Dad is, do things right! When you’re faced with a big problem, don’t give up, don’t cut corners, exercise patience and spend the time and effort to fix it the right way.”

John Lee served for a number of years on the board of the Lockney Coop Gin, the High Plains Water District, and served as a delegate for the Plains Cotton Cooperative Assoc. (PCCA). He also served as president of the Lockney Cemetery.

But what John Lee enjoyed the most was being a blessing to others. He purposely raised far more garden produce each year than he needed, so that he could share with others. He was a kind hearted, generous Christian man who served the Lord Jesus, and was always faithful to his beloved wife during their almost 74 years of marriage.

John Lee Carthel passed from this life on Thursday April 22, 2021, at the age of 93, due to an accident while getting his garden tractor ready to continue preparing his garden acreage for the next crop. He died working right up to the very end, doing what he loved. He will be greatly missed by many!

John Lee was preceded in death by his parents, John T. & Ruth Carthel; two sisters, June Leondar and Joyce Wilson; and one son, Gary Lee Carthel.

John Lee is survived by his wife, Jo Ann Carthel; one brother, James Carthel (wife Carol), one sister, Janice Parish (husband Tom); two daughters, Gayle McCullough and husband, Everett, Glenda May and husband, Thurman; three sons, Ron Carthel and wife, Charla, Criss Carthel, and Guy Carthel and wife, Alice; 18 grandchildren, Jared, Kevin, Chad and Jonathan McCullough; Anthony and Preston May, Kymberli Saldaña; Nathan and Reid Carthel, Holli McClanahan; Ethan, Seth, Kyle, and Tyler Carthel, Vanessa Semonick, and Valerie Sobral; and Tyson and Dru Carthel; plus 29 great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.

Prior to John Lee’s passing, counting the spouses married into their family, John Lee and Jo Ann’s clan had grown to 77 living people with five generations—a wonderful blessing from the Lord.John Lee Carthel, 1928–2021

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