April 23, 2018

In Memory of Dr. Joe Fontenot

Joseph Paul Fontenot, 90, of Blacksburg, Virginia, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

Joe was born on May 11, 1927 to the late Cleveland and Amalie Fontenot in Mamou, Louisiana. He is survived by his loving wife of 71 years, Eula Bertrand Fontenot; his six children, Beatrice (Thomas) Mills of Blacksburg, Karleen Fontenot of Blacksburg, Sue (Tim) Haeberle, of Spring, TX, Debbie (Joe) Pallini of Tomball, TX, Paul (Jeannette) Fontenot of Bel Air, MD, and Linda (Tim) Winder of Glen Allen, VA. He is also survived by his 15 grandchildren, Kara Mills (Daniel Pinckney), Elizabeth Guinn (James Thomas), Caroline (Matt) Harbert, Hunter (Jennifer) Haeberle, Heather Haeberle, Kelly (Toug) Tanavin, Michael Pallini, Matthew Pallini, Joe (Leathy) Fontenot, Dana Fontenot, Adam Fontenot, Emily Winder, Kevin Winder, Eric Winder, and Kaitlyn Winder. Joe has two great-grandsons, Brandon Pinckney and Rowan Harbert. He is also survived by his brother, Cleveland Fontenot, Jr. and numerous nieces and nephews.

Joe received his BS degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1951. He received a MS and PhD in Animal Nutrition from Oklahoma State University (OSU) in 1953 and 1954, respectively. After working for 1 year at both OSU and Mississippi State, Joe joined the faculty in the Departments of Animal Science and Biochemistry at Virginia Tech in 1956 and was promoted to Professor of Animal Science in 1963. In 1986, he was named the John W. Hancock Professor of Animal Science. He retired from Virginia Tech in 2003, but remained active in the field of Animal Science for many years after that.

Joe served in many leadership roles in professional organizations. He was President of the Southern Section American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) in 1972-73 and President of the National ASAS in 1985-86. He was nationally and internationally recognized in his field of science as an innovative researcher, educator, and leader. He traveled extensively around the world, usually with his beloved wife, Eula, providing expertise in animal nutrition. While at Virginia Tech, he trained over 100 MS and PhD students in animal nutrition research and these students (and their students) are now leaders in the field of animal nutrition. He received numerous awards recognizing excellence in research and education.

He resided in Blacksburg from 1956 until his death, and was a strong supporter of the Virginia Tech Hokies and a proud Pioneer season ticket holder at Lane Stadium and Cassell Coliseum. He was an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, where he served many roles including usher, lector, communion minister, and member of the parish council. He enjoyed playing golf and spent much time golfing with his family, friends, and colleagues. Above all else, Dad was a family man and looked forward to the annual family beach vacation in North Myrtle Beach where he and Eula spent the week enjoying time with their grandchildren, children, golfing, and good food.

The family would like to thank special caregivers, Sherri, Nara, and Luba, along with special friends Helen and Becki. Also, they would like to thank William Lester and the staff at Showalter Center and Good Samaritan Hospice, especially Kim and Karen.

A funeral mass will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Blacksburg, with Father Jim Arsenault officiating. Interment will follow at Memorial Gardens of the New River Valley. The family will receive friends on Friday, April 20, 2018 from 5:00-7:00 pm at McCoy Funeral Home with a Rosary Service at 7:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to The Joseph P. Fontenot Appreciation Club, American Society of Animal Science, P. O. Box 7410, Champaign, IL 61826-7410,(217)356-9050, which provides graduate student travel to the National and Southern Section ASAS meetings.

Obituary from McCoy Funeral Home