Joe Wendell Carr was born to William Delmar (Bud) and Willie Beatrice (Bea) Carr on October 14, 1939 in Avery, Texas. He was raised with his half-brother Delbert Earl Carr who later worked in law enforcement in Houston, Texas. Joe graduated from Avery High School in 1957 and joined the National Guard Army based in Ft. Chafee, Arkansas where he served two years, two months, and two days. Joe married Trena Sue Spruill at the home of her parents, Sam and Annie Mae Golden Spruill, in Avery, Texas on July 18th, 1958 and they had five children.
Joe’s Grandfather, Delbert Howard Carr, was 28 years old and a night watchman in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. On June 23, 1919, an argument broke out stemming from an old grudge between he and the deputy sheriff. During the argument Deputy Davis drew his gun and shot Delbert fatally three times. At the age of eight, Bud drove a covered wagon four days to return his daddy’s body to Avery where he is buried.
After Joe’s honorable discharge in 1959, he began making a living as a general laborer with Dodson Rans in Chillicothe, Texas. Little did he know he would soon follow in the footsteps of his Grandfather Delbert and serve a lifelong career in law enforcement. In 1963, Joe went to work as a patrolman for the police department in Quanah, Texas. He transferred to the Snyder Police Department in 1964 and then to the Midland Police Department in 1965 where he and Trena would settle in and raise their family. Joe worked for the MPD 20 years. During his tenure there, he served as Sergeant Detective, Sergeant Narcotics and retired as Division Detective Sergeant in 1985. For the next two years, Joe owned and operated a bail bond company and in 1987 returned to law enforcement as Lieutenant of the Warrants Division with the Midland County Sheriff’s Office. In 1996, he was promoted to Captain of Public Safety and retired from the MCSO in 1998.
Highlights of Joe’s law enforcement career include having Midland’s first drug sniffing canine named Smokey in 1977. Joe was also assigned to security detail which allowed him to serve high-ranking officials and politicians such as Governor Clements. In 1975 he served President Gerald Ford when he came to Midland to commence the opening dedication ceremony of the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum. However, the most prized framed photo in his home is a reminder of one of his proudest moments while serving duty, a photo he had made with Midland’s very own President George H. W. Bush. Joe was also privileged when his friend and compadre oil tycoon, Clayton Williams, invited him to drive the chuckwagon for a cattle round up and trail ride. A picture of that adventure ended up on the cover of a national magazine.
Life-long honorary family members of the Carrs’ are the many friends Joe and Trena made during his years of working in law enforcement. Gayle Reeves served with Joe at the MPD and they stayed in contact until Gayle’s passing in July 2019. W.G., “Gerald” Bradford and Joe worked for different agencies but were together most weekends and always to watch the Dallas Cowboys. Joe and Trena with children in tow, drove across town to spend Sunday’s at the Bradford’s. Gerald’s wife Patsy and Trena were dearest friends. “Pat” hosted many events in their beautiful home to honor Joe and Trena’s family. A yearly tradition for Gerald and Joe was getting together in Trena’s kitchen to make some “really good” chili. Gerald was with Joe the day Trena died. He was a great friend. Joe put his life in the hands of a partner daily. That partnership offered him and Trena two lifelong best friends, Barry Hillard and Monte Kay Cross. Barry worked with Joe for ten years at the MPD and considers Joe the brother he never had. Monte Kay worked with Joe for a combination of 25 years with the MPD and MCSO. Monte Kay is ever grateful for the opportunity life gave her for the promotion she received to Lieutenant of the Warrants Division based on Joe’s recommendation. Both she and Barry too were there with our family the day Trena died. After retirement, Joe embarked on many visits to Midland to have breakfast with his buddies at Main Street Diner and then just down the street always to have a visit with Sheriff Gary Painter. There are too many friends to mention, but our family extends much love and eternal, grateful blessings to all of them.
Joe and Trena were married 24 years when he lost her to cancer; they still had three children at home, Sammy, Stacey and Marcy. He married Jo Ann Cox on August 19, 1982 and he lovingly added two daughters to his existing family: Lisa and Angela Sprague. Together, they combined families and built their lives in the country on three acres in Midland. Jo Ann made Joe very happy. They had some wonderful years together and they also lived through a tough time when they lost their mobile home to a fire, but they subsequently built a beautiful home where many happy memories were made and where Lisa and Stacy Worthan still live today. Joe and Jo Ann had been married 21 years when he lost her to cancer as well. Joe then moved to Bronte, Texas in 2003 to live closer to Barry and where he would meet and marry Raquel Molina in 2006. They then moved to Rowena.
Joe’s momma raised him in the First Baptist Church of Avery where her mother, Eudora Francis Kennedy Lemon’s father, James Clarence Kennedy, was a pastor and one of the founding deacons of the church. Joe accepted Christ at an early age and sang in the church choir. On the day of his passing, his daughter Marcy was transplanting some Yucca she had pulled up from his home place in Rowena. While digging in the flowerbed, just out of the blue she heard one of Bea’s favorite hymns, “When We All Get to Heaven”. Marcy realized it was Mamaw’s way of whispering in her ear that her son Joe was coming to join her that day and then her phone rang. Joe joined the saints in heaven on Sunday, May 17, 2020.
Joe leaves behind his wife Raquel, her son Jamie Vigil and daughter Melissa Vigil as well as his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren:
Joe and Marla Carr, granddaughter, Amber Gallagher and husband, J.C., great granddaughter Maddison and greatgrandson Coursen;
James and Melanie Carr, grandson, Jason Bennett and wife, Lesly and great granddaughter Dr. Regina Ramos;
Sammy Carr, granddaughter Katrina Carr and grandson, Kolton Carr;
Stacey and Missy Carr, grandson Joe W. Carr, II, granddaughter, Addison Carr, great grandson Joe W. Carr, III;
Marcy and Todd Shoemaker, grandson Chance Pipkin and great granddaughters, Brylee and Blakely, Matthew Pipkin and wife Megan, great grandson Waylon, granddaughter Erica and husband Justin Verfurth, great grandson Brody and great granddaughter Charlotte and granddaughter Sara Pipkin;
Lisa and Stacy Worthan, granddaughter Tiffany and husband Ryan Hayes, great grandson Brooks, grandson Aaron Worthan and his wife Mollie, great granddaughter Emaline and great grandson Lawson;
Angela and Bill Pfeiffer, grandson Jarrett Hall and wife Madi, grandson Lane Hall, granddaughters Lauren Hall, Hannah Pfeiffer and Brylee Pfeiffer.
Viewing will be available during business hours Friday May 29, 2020 at Lange Funeral Home located at 1910 Hutchings Ave., Ballinger, Texas and a memorial will be held that afternoon at 4:00 p.m. in the Lange Funeral Home Chapel.
Interment service will be Saturday May 30, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. Resthaven Cemetery 4616 N. Big Spring Street, Midland, Texas, Barry Hillard officiating. Song and guitar music will be shared by grandsons Aaron Worthan and Jarrrett Hall. Joe’s years of service to the City of Midland and Midland County will be recognized by an Honor Guard Presentation.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the local Midland Cancer support organization, Gifts of Hope, 2006 W. Tennessee.