I was born in Houston, Mississippi on 24 June 1945. I attended Houston High School, graduated in 1963, and joined the U.S. Air Force immediately after graduation. During my four years in the Air Force, I served as a non-morse intercept operator with duty assignments in San Antonio, Texas; Biloxi, Mississippi; San Angelo, Texas; Crete, Greece; and Brindisi, Italy.
After completing military service, I attended Mississippi State University and earned a bachelor of science degree in general business with minors in management, accounting, and economics.
While attending college, I joined the Army National Guard and attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia; attended Field Artillery Officer Basic Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and served in a 155mm field artillery battalion. I later resigned my commission with the grade of captain.
After earning my bachelor's degree, I was hired by the U.S. Army as a civil service employee with duty at Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas; Army Materiel Command Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia; Army Logistics Management College in Fort Lee, Virginia; and Huntsville, Alabama.
During my assignment at Fort Lee, I was elected and served as a city councilman in Petersburg, Virginia for 16 years (a part-time non-partisan elected office) and earned a masters degree in management science from Florida Institute of Technology.
My final assignment as an Army civilian was establishing and operating the U.S. Army Acquistion Center of Excellence in Huntsville, Alabama. Our mission was teaching contracting and program management courses to Army officers and civilians.
In 2012, I retired from the U.S. Government with 42 years of service and currently reside in Madision, Alabama where I spend time designing and building furniture, mentoring an Education for Ministry Course, writing novels, playing golf and bridge, traveling, and watching lots of television.
Webster defines extended family as, "an extensive group of people who are related by blood or marriage or who otherwise regard themselves as a large family."
My family is both large and extended. My parents were Joe and Jessie Mae East. They raised seven children including myself, Dennis, Margaret, Charles, David, Kelley, and George.
After serving in the Marine Corps during World War II, my father began working as a carpenter and midway through his career, he became a commercial construction contractor. He was an extremely talented craftsman who instilled in us the value of an education and a strong work ethic. My interest in woodworking came from helping him as I was growing up. My mother played the piano at church and gave me a love of music.
I have two sons (Joe III and Chris) by a previous marriage, one granddaughter, and 16 nephews and nieces. Sadly, Chris died on 14 September 2021. I also have a daughter, Kate, who was adopted as an infant. Kate is married and has two sons.
My wife, Joan, has two children (Van and Kim) by a previous marriage, 6 grandchildren, and 8 great grandchildren. Joan and I were married on 6 September 1981.
We have a church family and numerous other formal and informal groupings of people who are like family members. Additionally, we have a strong familial relationship with our three dogs.