A.J. “Jay” Garris

Published 8:19 pm Saturday, August 8, 2015

OBITS_A.J. Garris_WEBA.J. “Jay” Garris

Oct. 5, 1939 – Aug. 7, 2015


“I have fought the good fight, I finished the race, I have kept the faith.” II Timothy 4:7


Ashley Joe Garris, better known as A.J. or Jay, fought and won a 7 ½ year battle with cancer, and left this earth to be with Jesus in his heavenly home on Friday, August 7, 2015.

Jay was born on October 5, 1939, in Lenoir County, the fourth child of Ashley and Annie Letchworth Garris. Jay knew the value of hard work, was faithful to his employers, always giving them more than a day’s work. Jay was a “man’s man.” He was able to complete any project that he began. Jay had a strong background in construction, working in this field for most of his working life. The last nine years, Jay worked for First South Bank. He retired from the town of Ayden in 2001, having been recognized as Ayden’s Employee of the Year in 1993. He was a member of Tau Tribe #18, Improved Order of Red Men. In recognition of his years of faithful service to First South Bank, Jay was presented a resolution, which read, in part, “Whereas surely the greatest accolade we can render him is this, Ashley J. Garris is a person of integrity; a person of unlimited devotion to his family, to his friends and to his fellow workers.”

Jay was a giving man, always willing to help with fundraisers to assist those in need. He often anonymously paid for others meals in restaurants. In 2001, Jay gave his heart to his Lord and Savior and never wavered from that commitment. He was baptized in the First Christian Church of Washington in 2003 and shortly thereafter went on the Walk to Emmaus on Pamlico Emmaus #33. This experience solidified his love of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Jay’s life was forever changed through this spiritual journey. In 2014, Jay and Libby joined First Baptist Church of Washington, NC.

Jay married Elizabeth (Libby) Daniels Garris on May 29, 1982, on the same property on which they continued to live. They enjoyed camping with the Four Seasons Camping Club and enjoyed camping trips they took by themselves. In 2004, they traveled across the United States. The last trip Jay and Libby took together was a trip to the mountains of Virginia.

In addition to his loving wife and caregiver, Libby, Jay is survived by two brothers, Milton Garris and wife Hazel and James Garris and wife Jennie Lou, of Ayden, NC; three sisters, Ruth Mason and husband James, Gladys Pierce and Mary Payne, all of Ayden, NC; three sons, Jeff Garris, Johnny Garris and wife Lanie and Jesse Garris and wife Angie all of Ayden, NC; and a daughter Joyce Lewis and fiance William Arrington of Vanceboro, NC; a stepdaughter, Beth Twyne and husband Eddie of Manteo, NC; a stepson, Mark Barton and wife Gilda of Greenville, NC; six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.

He is also survived by his best friends, Gizmo, Hershey and Maggie, his North Shores family, Bryan, Gayle, Brenda, Tom, Lee, Martha, Steve and the entire neighborhood.

A funeral service will be held on Monday, August 10, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Washington, NC, officiated by Dr. Jimmy Moore. Burial will follow in Oakdale Cemetery. Tom Vann, Steve Gruninger, Jason Biggs, Scott Hammonds, Linwood Lewis, Ray Kennedy, Bobby Rees and Phillip Dixon will serve as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers will be his grandsons: Jesse Garris, Kendall Jones, Trent Barton and Davis Barton, Curtis Carman, Clyde Roberson and Mike Letchworth. The family will receive friends from 12:30 p.m. until the service hour at First Baptist Church of Washington, NC, 113 North Harvey Street, Washington, NC 27889 and other times at the home located at North Shores.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center, Patient Assistance Fund, 1209 Brown Street, Washington, NC 27889, First Baptist Church, Widow’s Mite Campaign, 113 North Harvey Street, Washington, NC 27889 or the Graceway Pentecostal Holiness Church, 1047 Slatestone Road, Washington, NC 27889.

Online condolences may be offered to the family by visiting www.paulfuneralhome.com.

Paul Funeral Home & Crematory of Washington is honored to serve the Garris family.