JOSEPH S. EPPS
Newton businessman Joseph Schrum Epps, a resident of Conover, died Wednesday, April 24, at Catawba Valley Medical Center, following a one-month illness. He was 83.
A memorial service will be conducted Saturday, April 27, at 11 a.m. at Newton First Presbyterian Church by the Rev. Dr. Wallace Johnson and the Rev. Marion Powell. Music will be performed by John Mull, vocal soloist, the First Presbyterian Church Choir, and Tim Warren, organist.
The family will receive friends following the service in the church parlor.
A private burial ceremony for the family at Catawba Memorial Park will be held prior to the memorial service, when Hickory American Legion Post 48 firing squad will present a military salute and Taps will be played by a trumpeter.
Surviving Epps are his wife, the former Betty Neill Boggs of Catawba, whom he married October 12, 1957; two sons and a daughter-in-law, Dr. Bradley Scott Epps of Boston, MA, and Erich Joseph Epps and Carla Elizabeth Epps of Salisbury; and two grandsons, Aaron Joseph Epps and Caleb Samuel Epps of Salisbury.
A native of Newton, Epps was born April 11, 1930, a son of the late Luther Macon Epps and Mittie Schrum Epps. The family resided on West Sixth Street in Newton. In addition to his parents, he was also pre-deceased by his brothers, Luther Macon Epps Jr. and his twin, Charles Lee Epps; and his sisters, Ruth Gilletta Epps Hunter and Louise Epps Greer.
He was a 1947 graduate of Newton-Conover High School and a 1953 alumnus of Duke University with the Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. At Duke he played on the freshman basketball team and sang in the university choir, performing with the choir on national television on the Perry Como show in the early 1950s.
Epps interrupted his education to leave Duke for two years to serve in the Army during the Korean Conflict. He was posted during the war years in the Panama Canal Zone, later returning to the university for two more years and graduating. He then returned to Newton and joined his father in the family business in 1953, Epps Printing Company, a commercial printing business at that time located on West A Street.
Epps became owner-operator the company founded by his father in 1923 following his father's death and expanded it to include clients in several area counties. He built the present business building on North College Avenue in 1964 and retired recently, ending the retail and printing operations there.
In 1964 Mr. and Mrs. Epps built their present home in Conover and have resided there since that time.
Throughout his career Epps was involved in community activities in both Newton, Conover and Hickory. Former Newton mayor Tom Rowe appointed him to the city's Revitalization Committee in 1996, serving through 1999. He later was vice chairman of the Downtown Newton Development Association (DNDA). For more than a half century he was active in the Newton Lions Club, serving as both club president and for three years as district governor. He was a former member of Catawba Valley Executives Club.
He was also a member of the Hickory-based Moonlighters men's singing group and was in earlier years a vocal soloist for local weddings and funerals and a member of several church choirs. Epps attended Newton First Presbyterian and Gateway Baptist churches and was a former member of Newton First United Methodist Church.
Epps was a member of Hickory American Legion Post 48 and was recently inducted into the Legion's elite Society of the Forty and Eight, dating from World War I.
His hobbies included cartography and geography, with a life-long interest in local and historical maps, gardening, and tennis.
The Epps family has suggested that, in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to American Legion Post 48, Post Office Box 505, Hickory NC 28603.