Deacon John Edward Ryals, Sr., loving patriarch of the Ryals family, a kind and generous friend to all, answered the Master’s call on Feb. 27, 2013. He was born on Aug. 11, 1930 in Wheeler County to the parentage of the late Essix Ryals and Mattie Lee Mincey Ryals. John was the fourth child born to this union.
John was united in holy matrimony to the late Beatrice Ryals. He resided in Jacksonville, FL the majority of his adult life. He accepted the Lord as his personal Savior and joined the fellowship with the New First Corinth Baptist Church, under the leadership of Pastor Lucious Parker. He was a member of the church for several years and served faithfully as a deacon and usher. John was a dedicated employee for several years at the Jacksonville International Airport. He was also self-employed as an automobile painter.
In 2006 John moved back to Georgia and resided in Hazlehurst. He became employed part-time with the Jeff Davis County Library. John joined fellowship with the Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of the Rev. Reginald Cordy. He served as the assistant chairman of the Deacon’s Ministry until his health failed.
John loved to travel extensively and he never met a stranger. He had a smile that could light up any room. He loved to go fishing. John was very loyal and devoted to his family. He was passionate about keeping unity in the Ryals family and was the family historian. He served as the President of the Ryals, Knox, and Tobler Family Reunion for many years. John was always there to lend a helping hand to others. Most importantly of all, he loved the Lord.
While traveling the river of life, John met many people along the way. As he journeyed towards the end of his river, John acknowledged the fact that his time was up. We rest in the assurance knowing he is at rest with his Savior, Jesus Christ.
Survivors include his daughter, Marian Ryals of Durham, N.C.; three step-daughters, Glenda Cotton, Mary Griffin and Marcia Smith, all of Jacksonville, FL; a very special and devoted friend, Rosa Strong of Jacksonville, FL; 10 grandchildren, Ben Powell, Dameion Ryals, April Ryals, Ashanti Thomas, Brandy Ryals, Grace Thomas, Randy Ryals, Jamie Weathel, Rinoda Brown and Justice Cole; six great-grandchildren, Daniel Thomas, Shekira Jordan, Brianna Tripp, Ja’Nae Harris, D’Asia Thomas and Dacoda Ryals; sisters, Susie Mae Buxton and Elaine Solomon (Naymond), both of Baxley; Carrie Lou Morris of Orlando, FL, Bernice Hepburn of Eustis, FL, Essie Mae Hamlett of Miami, FL and Rosa Lee Campbell of Green Cove Springs, FL; two brothers, Willie Ryals, Sr. of Jesup and Roger Ryals of Atlanta; and a host of nieces, nephews cousins and friends.
Funeral services for Deacon John Edward Ryals, Sr. were held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, March 9 from Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church with the Rev. Henry Josey presiding. Eulogy was given by the Rev. Reginald Cordy.
Interment followed in Miles Cemetery, Hutcheson Road, in Baxley.
Active pallbearers were Marvin Ryals, Henry Ryals, Jr., Ben Powell, Randy Ryals, Dameion A. Ryals and Daniel Thomas.
Honorary pallbearers were Charles Vann, Sr., Charles Vann, Jr. and Noah Vann and deacons of Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.
Musical selections were rendered by Naymond Solomon, Jr., Brittany Roberts and a combined choir.
Arrangements were under the direction of Brown Funeral Home.