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Joe Lynn Vowell
May 16, 1935 - November 04, 2018
Joe Lynn Vowell of Frisco, Texas, passed from this life on November 4, 2018, surrounded by his family. Born in Lafe, Arkansas on May 16, 1935 to Linley and Olga Vowell, Lynn grew up as a Methodist preacher's kid in northeastern Arkansas and northeast Texas. He loved riding horses and shooting baskets. He excelled in basketball, academics, and singing. Lynn graduated from Blytheville High School, and attended the University of Oklahoma on a Navy ROTC scholarship where he graduated with a BBA in Finance and Business Law. Lynn was commissioned as a naval officer in December of 1956. Following graduation from OU, Lynn married Glenda Jo Dillahunty on December 22, 1956. They embarked together on an 11-year adventure as an active duty Navy couple. Along the way, they welcomed three children, Tawni, Mark, and Chana. After completing flight training in Pensacola, Florida and Hutchinson, Kansas, Lynn received his "wings of gold" as a naval aviator. Beginning in March of 1958, he flew the C-121 Constellation out of Guam, providing radar coverage and early warning for the fleet. In 1960, he was transferred to Whidbey Island in Washington State, and flew the P-2V Neptune, tracking Soviet submarines, deploying to Adak, Alaska. Lynn was stationed at Point Magu in Oxnard, California, and served as Aviation Safety Officer to the Commander of the Pacific Missile Range. During that time, he flew downrange to communicate with Mercury missions returning from orbit. Lynn developed a desire to enter astronaut training, and in 1965, he shifted to tactical jet aircraft to accumulate the required jet hours. He instructed student pilots in F-9 Panthers and qualified to land on a carrier. In 1967, Lynn realized that he was never going to be selected for the space program without an engineering degree. So, he decided to transition from active duty service to the naval reserves. He finished with eleven years of active and nine years of reserve duty, and retired as a Captain (O6). Lynn and Glenda moved the family to a home on 85 acres south of Valley View, Texas. Lynn began a career flying for American Airlines. Over the years, Lynn launched a real estate company, owned a steak house, ran for county and state offices, and earned an MBA in Finance/Economics. Lynn always made sure his family was in church. They attended First United Methodist in Gainesville, Texas. Lynn served as chair of just about every committee in the church, became a certified Lay Speaker, helped the congregation acquire a van for the youth group, as well as a bus to pick up children in the neighborhood on Sunday mornings, sang in the choir, became a certified to Lay Witness Missions Coordinator, organized singing in the local nursing homes, and on and on and on. Having grown up as a preacher's kid, Lynn was happy to do everything in the church . . . except become a pastor. But that is what he finally decided God was calling him to do. In 1977, he surrendered to a call to ordained ministry, became an itinerant Methodist preacher, and began seminary studies. This career move was unique - not about ambition, but rather about submitting to a call. He received his MDiv from Perkins School of Theology, SMU, and served local churches throughout North Texas for 20 years. Glenda dutifully served alongside as she did in every other phase of her life with Lynn. Lynn's signature phrase was, "Can't never did anything." He didn't just say it, he lived it - often to the exasperation of those close to him. Glenda used to joke that she had been married to a Navy pilot, an airline pilot, a real estate broker, a restauranteur, and a Methodist Preacher. She enjoyed watching the reaction on people's faces before she gave the punchline: "They were all the same man." In retirement, Lynn decided to "slow down" by driving an 18-wheeler locally and cross-country. He joined American Legion Post 71 in Denton, where he served a term as President. With the Americanism Program he helped boys to attend Boys' State. Most of his time was given to coordinating the Post's Oratorical Team, which prepared high school students to give speeches related to citizen's responsibilities to the U.S. Constitution. Lynn organized the recruitment of students, administered the Post's competitions, shepherded students all the way to the national competition, and served as Texas Oratorical Chair. When he moved from Denton to Frisco in 2017, he served Post 178 in the same capacity. Lynn loved and prioritized family at all times. His greatest joy was presiding at the extended-family dinner table, swapping stories and jokes with all. He took pride in his children, his children's spouses, and his grandchildren. He celebrated their accomplishments with all the strength of his forceful personality. Lynn was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Glenda, and his parents. He is survived by daughter, Tawni Luke and husband Ray, of Valley View; son Mark Vowell and wife Shannon, of Frisco; daughter Chana Keefer and husband Mark, of Santa Clarita, CA; sister Linda Smith, and 15 grandchildren. A time of family visitation will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, November 9th at Restland Funeral Home. Lynn will be buried at Restland Memorial Park, 13005 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, TX 75243, on Saturday, November 10th at 11 a.m. with full military honors. A service celebrating Lynn's life will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, November 10th, 2018 at First Frisco United Methodist Church, 7659 Preston Road, Frisco, TX 75034. Active duty and retired military personnel are invited to wear winter dress uniform with devices and ribbons. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to First Frisco United Methodist Church.
Published on November 6, 2018
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