Logan County gives thanks for Brother Joe's life
By Jim turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

The day before Thanksgiving, Logan County lost the man who well may have been its best-known citizen. During the days and weeks which have followed, thanksgiving for his life and his contributions to the Land of Logan has been a stronger emotion than grief.

Brother Joe Carrico had lived a life of selfless giving for 88 memorable years before his wife Linda and step-children made the decision to let him go without pain following heart and breathing problems that had plagued him in recent years.

He is only on comfort care now. There have been Soooo many prayers for Joe and me, and I want to thank each and every one of you for them,” Mrs. Carrico wrote shortly on Facebook before his death.” Now I'm gonna need a lot of prayers as I try to go on without him. He's been my rock all of these years, but God is in control and there is nothing I can do that will change that. God bless Joe Carrico.”

Countless people have been blessed by Joe Carrico having come into their lives. Those blessings could have come to those who heard him preach for 40 years at Post Oak Baptist Church, who were fed and clothed through the beneficence he led, who were warmed by heat he channeled their way, who survived heart problems in part because of funds he had helped raise through the Logan County Heart Fund Sports Spectacular, who found peace of mind during war and deployment by his ministry to the soldiers at Fort Campbell, who received much needed services for their disabilities through his advocacy for the disabled, who were comforted when a loved one died or were married by this man of God, who were moved by his radio ministries, and, of course, the thousands of children (many of whom are now grandparents) who experienced boundless happiness at Christmas because of the Agape Toys for Tots program Brother Joe founded and led for decades.

The calls I received over the decades from Joe Carrico were frequent, but they were never for him. He wanted me to do stories about members of the military who were visiting and assisting Logan County (some were generals; others privates repairing broken bicycles at Christmas), about Heart Fund activities, about services for the disabled, about fund-raising and food-gathering activities for the needy and for those around the state who had been victimized by both winter storms and spring tornadoes, about raising money through the Optimist Club to buy the land for City-County Park at the Sportsman Club, and to get the football field at Logan County High School lighted. Sometimes the call was for me to ride with him to visit a family in need. There are hundreds of other Logan Countians who have had those same calls.

He had many titles. I always thought the most appropriate was Logan County’s Doer of Good Deeds.

Many of my memories of Brother Joe involve his relationship with Rockwell Manufacturing Company and its founding manager, Harry Whipple, and with the leaders of Houchens Markets, such as Ruel and Suel Houchens, Glenn Hatler, Logan Chick and Jimmy  Davenport. Houchens Markets were deeply involved in the Toys for Tots Ham Breakfast, as were their suppliers. Hatler and Pernell Dennison played key roles in transporting him in his last years. Mike and Janice Humble were closely allied with him through Agape.

He was able to get Kyle Macy and Dwayne Casey to a Heart Fund event only a few days after they had helped Kentucky win the 1978 national basketball championship. Sam Bowie, who was drafted into the NBA onr noyvh ahead of Michael Jordan, was a regular at the Sports Spectacular. Gene Keady, who became a legendary Big Ten basketball coach at Pardue, sat in the crowd for one of the Spectaculars. Attorney General Bob Stephens, who became Chief Justice Robert Stephens, attended often. UK football coach Fran Curci flew in to Russellville to help the cause. UK coach Joe B. Hall, who had been the last coach to go against UCLA’s Johnny Wooden in the 1975 NCAA finals, watched Bobby Knight’s 1976 Indiana team win it all exactly a year later, sitting with me in the Russellville Middle School cafeteria, because Brother Joe had asked him to be there. He was also instrumental in getting many guests to attend the Dignitaries Luncheon on Parade Day Saturdays during the 1970s and ‘80s.

He was one of the hardest Logan Countians to say ‘no’ to (joining the late Bess Martin and Hazel Carver in that category) because he was never asking for something for himself.

Over the years, we’ve found ways to honor him. There have been “Brother Joe Days.” The Carrico Center was built and named for him, primarily to provide care for the needy, especially at Christmas. Then upon the suggestion of Councilman Jack Whipple, Mayor Shirlee Yassney led the movement to name Russellville’s oval park in the center of town Carrico Park Square.

Many of us paid our respects earlier this year when his beloved daughter Renee died. The funeral came over 40 years later than doctors had predicted when she was born with severe physical handicaps. He had reached one of his primary goals, to make sure Renee was cared for throughout her life.

Funeral services for Joe Carrico were conducted at noon on Saturday, Nov. 24 in the Post Oak Baptist Church with Bro. David Daugherty, Bro. Richard Oldham and Bro. Lon Sosh officiating. Burial followed at the Maple Grove Cemetery.

His widow wrote,The service was prefect; Joe would of been so happy .The funeral possession took one last ride around CARRICO PARK SQUARE. The soldiers at Fort Campbell came and participated in the service, with the gun salute, bagpipes, and bugle. And the presentation of the American flag. What a beautiful funeral to be a part of.”

For many years when people didn’t have a church home they either asked Frank Dockins Jr. or Joe Carrico to perform family weddings and family funerals. The majority of those funerals were at Sanders Funeral Home.

“Thanks to Brent Summers and Kevin Kirby of Summers, Kirby, and Sanders Funeral Home. And a special thank to Janie Gregory, whose mom and dad, Jimmy and Kathleen Sanders, owned Sanders Funeral Home. Janie served as the only female honorary pallbearer in special memory of her mom and dad. They would be proud of Janie,” Linda Croft Carrico wrote.

Yet there is still no way we can adequately repay him for all he has done.

All of us can join Linda Carrico in giving thanks that Brother Joe came our way and stayed among us.

Many people wrote tributes to Brother Joe Carrico on Facebook.

Some of those remarks follow:

About the Funeral Service

Debbie J. Marshall:  It was a beautiful celebration to Bro. Joe, the way he lived his life and the people he touched with his kind loving heart and most of all the seeds he sowed to bring the lost to Christ .His memory will live on through all of us that had the great honor of knowing him . He was a father to those who did not have one. He was a mentor, a friend, a great spiritual leader to so many of us, Santa to all the children young and old, and so much more than words can describe!”


Voletta Havener:  A beautiful celebration of the life of Bro. Joe Carrico today. He will be greatly missed by many people. He helped many people in many ways, never thinking twice about saying yes to help someone out. He had a humorous side, a serious side, but a bigger giving and caring-for-others side. We love you and we will miss you, my sweet friend.”

From Fellow Ministers

Travis Bryan:  Bro. Joe is a legendary man in our home area! He has worked so hard for God, the kids (Toys for Tots), Logan County/Russellville area, and so many people over the years! What a celebration in Heaven when he arrived! There will never be another Bro. Joe!”

Dwight Bond:  What an incredible man who really loved the LORD! I am sure he enjoyed a great homecoming!”


Lon Sosh:  "Logan County lost an icon as a minister, a citizen, a peacemaker, a great family man and someone who never said no to a person who needed help, no matter what church they went to or their financial status. Bro. Joe Carrico was a true man of God..Visitation was very hard on me, but he was one of my best friends and advisor."


Steve Kenney:  “One doesn't have to be in Logan County long to realize what a tremendous influence he has. What a gift from God!”


Brother Joe, the Christian

Lee Ann Harris:  “Truly a man of God”


June Lyne Robinson:  A tremendous loss. We will never know how many souls he saved, how many he fed, clothed, housed...the list goes on and on. There will never be another Brother Joe. My heart aches with the loss of him and for Linda, who was always standing by him through his illnesses. Heaven rejoices as one of His Saints has come Home,”

Ronnie Blackwell:   "He baptized me 53 years ago. A true man of God."

David Billingsley:  I always felt love abounded when I was around him."

Stanley Knight:  Huge loss for the community. Never heard him have a bad word to say about anyone. #lovedandserved”

Layne Johnson:  He used to pick me and my twin brother up when we were about 8 and take us to Bible school."

Connie Stratton:  “We were just having that conversation the other day: Where in Russellville would be large enough to have his funeral? Not surprised it’s Post Oak, though. He had many, many years there serving the Lord that he loved so much.”


Brother Joe, the Benefactor

Brenda McGinnis:  There is not another individual around who did more for the people of Logan County.”

Joe Laird:  Logan County has lost its greatest treasure today. No one will be able to replace him. Let's memorialize him by keeping Toys for Tots the great ministry it has been for many years.”

Steve Johns:  Having worked in the funeral business for 20+ years, our paths crossed many times. I have called on him many times and he always came whether he knew the family or not. I also was blessed to have made many trips with him to see people who were in need be it groceries, heat or whatever. I even made a couple of trips to Ft. Campbell when they had a new commander to take over and was always amazed to see that everyone knew him and treated him like one of their own. I was also amazed that at any time he could pick up the phone and have a helicopter or two here in just an hour or so. Now who else in Logan County could do that? I remember some bad winter storms where he helped organize to help so many make it through by seeing they received wood, food and medicine delivered to them, and again some had to be done by helicopters. He would stop by the funeral home about everyday to say hello and to sit down to rest awhile. Let's not forget the kids and families he helped at Christmas, too. I helped him several years at this time and it was so pitiful to see some of the places we went. When these people saw Bro. Joe, it was so touching at the response we received.

“There are just so many stories that can be told of his kindness and big heart. No telling how many cars he wore out and how many millions he raised to help those in need. I was so glad they named the square in town after him while he was still alive to see it too. Rest in Peace, Bro. Joe. No one is more deserving than you.”

rson. As you remember how Joe Carrico affected your life, also remember his love for everyone, especially the poor children. Please join me in making a memorial gift to Agape and Toys for Tots in honor of Brother Joe. I don't have the number of facebook friends most of you do. If you could share this, it would be most appreciated.

Cathy Wheeler Jones:  He started Toys for Tots, and I’m so thankful the rest of this country has carried on with his vision. His knowledge just amazed me. At Dad’s funeral, we talked forever about life and what a blessing Renee, my classmate, was to him. What a wonderful man, person and father he was! God has just received the best."

Bob Birdwhistell:  “One of the best our state has produced, His deeds in Logan County will always be spoken."

Karyn Taylor Davis: “Great memories of Bro. Joe, He was very instrumental when we first opened our employment service, Your PersoNul Service . He found Charlene Manco of WKU as a career counselor for us. A good man, he saw no color."

Sam Hartford:  Brother Joe was a true example of ‘breaking the mold.""

Beth Jordan Taylor:  Joe Carrico had a daughter with disabilities and he became the chaplain for CAKY, INC. I had the pleasure of working with Joe on numerous occasions with my work. He was a good man with such a good heart!”

Paulette Bilyeu:  I don't think there is anyone in Logan County that didn't know him.”

Bill McGinnis:  The Lord blessed us when he sent a young preacher to Russellville over 50 years ago. There will be many testimonials to the life of Joe Carrico. He is truly irreplaceable in this community. But one testimonial to this great man will live on. Toys for Tots was the creation of Brother Joe. The time and energy he put into this one aspect of his ministry would have made a full-time job for a normal person


“As you remember how Joe Carrico affected your life, also remember his love for everyone, especially poor children. Please join me in making a memorial gift to Agape and to Toys for Tots in honor of Brother Joe.”

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