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“His wit, intelligence, kindness and wisdom will be missed. Rest in Peace, Joe. ”
1 of 3 | Posted by: Jim Wyatt - Spring Hill, TN

“My name is Margie Mays Lester. My father, Joe Allen Mays, also worked on the West TN Agriculture Experiment Stations. I lived on the Station until I...Read More »
2 of 3 | Posted by: Margie Mays Lester - Jackson, TN

“I well remember meeting with Mr. Joe during my interview and I took a liking to him immediately. We had many laughs and enjoyable times working...Read More »
3 of 3 | Posted by: Robert M.'Bob' Hayes - Medon, TN


Joseph Robert Overton, 95, resident of Columbia and former long-time resident of Jackson, Tennessee, died Monday, November 28, 2016 at Maury Regional Medical Center.

Funeral services will be conducted Thursday at 1:00 P.M. at First Presbyterian Church with Reverend Joe Evans and Reverend Carol Scrivener officiating. The family will visit with friends Thursday from 11:00 A.M. until service time at the church. Graveside services will be conducted Friday at 1:30 P.M. at Ridgecrest Cemetery in Jackson, Tennessee with Reverend Terry Hunley officiating. The family will visit with friends Friday from 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Tennessee. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements.

The family suggests memorials to First Presbyterian Church, 801 South High Street, Columbia, TN 38401 or to First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1730 Highway 45 Bypass, Jackson, TN 38305. Condolences may be extended online at www.oakesandnichols.com.

Born August 9, 1921 in Toone, Tennessee, he was the son of Joseph Absalom and Mary McCain Overton. He attended public schools in Hardeman County, and received a BSA degree in 1941 and a MSA degree in 1962 from the University of Tennessee, at Knoxville, Tennessee.

He professed Christianity at an early age and was a long-time member and elder of the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Tennessee. Later he was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, Tennessee.

He was a veteran of World War II serving in the China-Burma-India Theater and received an honorable discharge from the United States Army Air Force in December of 1945 as a Staff Sergeant.

He was employed by the University of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station as soil surveyor from 1946 to 1952 and as agronomist at the West Tennessee Experiment Station from 1952 to 1983, contributing to many research papers on soils and crop production in state, regional and national publications.

He was active in The West Tennessee Agricultural Museum at Milan, and in The Tennessee Agricultural Chemical Association.

He was a long-time director of The Merchants and Planters Bank in Hardeman County, Tennessee and chairman of the board from 1991 to 1996.

Survivors include his daughter, Mary Elizabeth Overton Cotham and her husband John Thomas Cotham, Jr. of Columbia; son, Joseph Robert Overton, Jr. of Durham, North Carolina; grandson, John Cotham, III of Madison, Wisconsin; granddaughter, Anna Elizabeth Cotham of Knoxville; nieces, Margaret Kenner (Steve) Swafford, Mary Virginia Kenner (Hugh) McKay, and Nancy Kenner (George) Gann; nephews, Daniel C. (Corinne) Kenner, and David Joseph (RyShel) Kenner; step-children, Marilyn Van Dyke (Joe) Pennington, David Brown Van Dyke, and Carol Kuthumi; sister-in-law, Ruth Edenton (Charlie) Williams; step-grandchildren, Carol Pennington (Brent) Dykes, Andrew (Erica) Pennington, Ken (Paula) Cooper, Michael (Shelley) Cooper, Laura Van Dyke (Robert) Reid, Emily Van Dyke (Jameson) Bouldin, and John Nichols; and several step-great grandchildren.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his first wife, Edith Van Dyke Edenton Overton in 1976 and by his second wife, Rubye Lee Cooksey Van Dyke Overton in 2000; sister, Margaret Overton Kenner of Little Rock, Arkansas; infant sister, Mary Virginia Overton; and step-granddaughter, Anna Pennington Bailey.

Active pallbearers will be Bob Lay, Terry Layman, Bill Woods, Dan Ward, and Walter Smith.

Funeral Home
Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors
320 West 7th Street Columbia, TN 38401
Tel. (931) 388-4711
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