Joe Buck Strong

May 31, 1924May 30, 2018

Joe Buck Strong, of Nacogdoches, completed his earthly journey Wednesday, May 30, 2018. He was born to William Thomas Strong and his wife, Era Pullen Strong, in the Pine Hill community of Garrison on May 31, 1924. After graduating from Garrison High School, he worked primarily for the Austin Bridge Company until entering and serving in the Army during WWII, guarding the Panama Canal. He then came home to East Texas and enrolled at SFASU where he completed a Masters of Education in Vocational Agriculture, and married the love of his life, Vernice Lavon Phillips, also of Garrison, on December 20, 1950. The union was blessed with four children. He spent his entire career teaching Vocational Agriculture at Central Heights ISD from 1950 until retiring in 1983. Thousands of students from CHHS and surrounding area schools knew and loved “Joe Buck,” as he never allowed anyone to call him “Mr. Strong.” After retiring from teaching, Joe Buck worked part-time in Nacogdoches for Foretravel Motorhomes delivering coaches all over the nation, and for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company as a route supervisor. He was a faithful member of the Church of Christ for over 60 years, serving the Lord and his brethren as a Deacon, Elder, and Bible Class teacher in congregations in Nacogdoches, Lufkin, and Jacksonville. He is preceded in death by his parents, and all of his five sisters and one brother, but is survived by his devoted wife of 67+ plus years, Vernice (“Vertie”) Phillips Strong, and four children: Ronna Strong Sparks (and husband, Clell) of Nacogdoches TX; Terry Strong (and wife, Kathy) also of Nacogdoches TX; Karla Strong Kirby (and husband, David) of Dallas; and Philip Strong (and wife, Donna) of Indianapolis, IN; and grandchildren, Jenifer Sparks Beasley, Sheri Sparks Harrington, Ruston Kirby, Stuart Kirby, Trevor Kirby, Seth Kirby, Lindsey Strong Langford, Aaron Strong, Austin Strong, and Logan Strong; as well as 12 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. Visitation will be from 2-4pm, Sunday June 3rd, with Funeral Services on Monday, June 4th at 2pm, at the Cason Monk Metcalf Funeral Home in Nacogdoches. Bro. Warren Miller (Sinton, TX) and Bro. Philip Strong (Indianapolis IN) will be officiating, with congregational singing led by Bro. Nathan Cox (Nacogdoches TX). Everyone is invited to come and share in the celebration of a life well lived with the family of Joe Buck- “Go Blue!”

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be offered to: SFASU office of Development PO Box 6092- SFASU Station Nacogdoches, TX 75962 Memo: Joe Buck Strong Scholarship or Nacogdoches Treatment Center 1198 Hughes St. Nacogdoches, TX 75961

Online condolences may be offered at Arrangements are under the direction of Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Directors.


  • Vernice "Vertie" Strong, Wife
  • Ronna Strong Sparks and husband Clell, Daughter
  • Terry Strong and wife Kathy, Son
  • Karla Strong Kirby and husband David, Daughter
  • Phillip Strong and wife Donna, Son
  • Jennifer Sparks Beasley, Granddaughter
  • Sheri Sparks Harrington, Granddaughter
  • Ruston Kirby, Grandson
  • Stuart Kirby, Grandson
  • Trevor Kirby, Grandson
  • Seth Kirby, Grandson
  • Lindsey Strong Langford, Granddaughter
  • Aaron Strong, Grandson
  • Austin Strong, Grandson
  • Logan Strong, Grandson
  • 1 2, Great-Grandchildren
  • 0 5, Sisters
  • 0 1, Brother
  • William Thomas Strong, Father
  • Era Pullen Strong, Mother

  • Ruston Kirby , Active Pallbearer
  • Trevor Kirby , Active Pallbearer
  • Seth Kirby , Active Pallbearer
  • Aaron Strong, Active Pallbearer
  • Austin Strong , Active Pallbearer
  • Logan Strong , Active Pallbearer


  • Visitation Sunday, June 3, 2018
  • Funeral Service Monday, June 4, 2018

Joe Buck Strong

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Ronnie Porter

June 4, 2018

As a young and very green teacher in the fall of 1971 Joe Buck "took me under his wing" and constantly checked with me to see if I was doing OK or needed anything. I had many great conversations with him as he shared a cup of his freshly "built" coffee with me on frequent occasions. Those years were among the most memorable and enjoyable I experienced in education......and Joe Buck played an important role in making that happen. My deepest and most sincere good wishes and condolences to the family......we have truly lost a good one !

Ken (Yank) Rosenberger

June 1, 2018

As a young boy in th e 1950's Joe Buck had a huge impact on my life . He not only taught AG , he taught character, respect and friendship.
I will always remember his voice and how to duck an eraser.
He was a blessing for all of the Central Heights Community.
Thank you Joe Buck.
Ken (Yank) Rosenberger