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Rita G. Joyner

February 2, 2021
Rita G. Joyner
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Obituary for Rita G. Joyner

Rita G. Joyner, age 71, died February 2, 2021.

Rita Marie Gatlin Hall Joyner was born on July 6, 1949, in Memphis, Tennessee, the fifth child of ten children born to Freddie Gatlin and Noble Gatlin, Sr. on February 2, 2021, the Angel of Peace called her home, and she died at Methodist University Hospital after a long illness; she was 71.
Rita was a gentle spirit, strong-willed with a heart of gold. A nurturer, caregiver, and generous, she embraced life with determination, independence and a drive to succeed. She was a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, teacher, cousin, counselor, secretary and mentor, but most of all, she was a child of God.
As a child, Rita was fun-loving, a book worm and loved singing and playing the piano. With being one of ten children, the chores were spread among the siblings. Rita didn’t like to cook or wash dishes, the major chores that were her responsibility, but she weathered the storm and became determined to let education and career be her way forward.
Rita grew up in the Klondike Community, attending Klondike School. She accepted Christ at an early age and was baptized under the leadership of Rev. William Suggs. The Gatlin family were members of the church for generations, and Rita was a member of the Youth Choir, eventually the choir’s director and she played piano for the Sunday school and sometimes church services.
In 1967, Rita graduated from Manassas High School with honors and was awarded the Firestone Scholarship, a full ride to Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. The scholarship program offers an annual scholarship to a child of those employed by the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company; Rita’s dad, Noble Gatlin, was an employee. But after one year of bitter cold weather, Rita transferred to Rhodes and eventually married Melvin Hall, and to this union, Melvin Hall, Jr. was born.
After the birth of her son, Rita worked as a secretary at Klondike School and tutored math at Shelby State College, now Southwest Community College.
Rita landed a job at Memphis Light, Gas and Water as a cashier and eventually a credit counselor. During her tenure at the utility company, Rita met and married Charles Joyner in 1982; the couple divorced after two years. Rita eventually moved to Vermont where her son had opened an African Restaurant and was developing an African Food business. Rita supported the effort by babysitting and raising the grandchildren in part. She loved spoiling her grandchildren.
Once in Vermont, she worked as a substitute teacher and various positions in the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire. Rita started working as an administrative assistant at Dartmouth College while working on her MBA that she received from Franklin Pierce College.
Rita decided to move back to Memphis after enduring years of cold weather in Vermont; also, her grandchildren were becoming more independent as well. She began working as a math teacher at Kirby High School, and she was also back to tutoring math on an individual basis, but health problems began to become an issue and she eventually stopped teaching.
She leaves to mourn her passing her son, Melvin (Damaris) Hall, Jr.; three grandchildren, Wangene Hall, Busara Hall and Ahadi Hall, all of White River Junction, Vermont; six sisters, Sylvia Gatlin Martin & Tallulah Gatlin Mosley, both of Memphis, Joyce Gatlin Honeysucker of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Gloria Gatlin Adams of Chicago, Illinois, Norma Gatlin Lacy of Garland, Texas, and Gail (Lenon) Brandon of Austin, Texas; two brothers, Noble “Butch” Gatlin, Jr., and Wayne Gatlin, both of Memphis, and host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Live Stream Link:

Serenity Funeral Home, Tel. 901-379-0861.

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4:00 PM 2/7/2021 4:00:00 PM
Serenity Funeral Home

1638 Sycamore View Road
Memphis, TN 38134

Serenity Funeral Home
1638 Sycamore View Road Memphis 38134 TN
United States

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