John Joel Locke

Dr. John Joel Locke passed away on September 8, 2021 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Joel was born in Enfield, North Carolina and was the only child of John Sidney Locke and Gladys Rebecca Shearin. Joel grew up on the family farm during a time when small country towns were bustling with people, animals, commerce and excitement. As a young boy, he loved to hunt and fish. He was the starting pitcher on the high school baseball team as well as a tackle on the high school football team. Following high school, Joel attended North Carolina State College where he studied engineering and agriculture. While at school, Joel was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. It was there that he met and married his wife, Jeanne Horton. After graduation, Joel returned to Halifax County and began farming in 1960. Soon, Joel was farming over 1,000 acres with thirty-five mules before he had a tractor. In 1966, while continuing to farm, Joel enrolled in dental school at the University of North Carolina. After completing dental school in 1970, he moved to Rocky Mount, North Carolina where he opened his dental practice. Joel was proud of being a founding member and recruiting other dentist to Rocky Mount to become one of the first practices in eastern North Carolina to service all major dental specialties under one roof. Joel was a founding member of the Miska Dental Study Club and has enjoyed close association with this group for over fifty years. Along the way, Joel obtained his general contractor's license and constructed homes in Rocky Mount and Emerald Isle North Carolina. In addition to his business interests, Joel was an avid outdoors man and loved hunting and fishing with his family and friends. He was a member of the Roanoke Tar River Hunting Club and Goat Neck Lodge and he took numerous trips with his friends to South Dakota, Alaska, and Argentina. Joel is survived by his wife Martha Jean Horton Locke and his four children, Leslie Stuart Locke Craft (Blount) of Greenville, John Horton Locke (Tara) of Atlanta, Stephen Gregory Locke (Lauren) of Charlotte and Michael Rembert Locke of Asheville. He was blessed with nine grandchildren; Rebecca Ellis Werner, Heather Stuart Werner, Elizabeth Owen Locke Franzetti (John), John Thomas Locke, Caroline Hudson Locke, Sydney Grace Locke, Addison Rose Locke, John Sawyer Locke, Oliver Michael Locke and one great grandchild, Amelia Grace Franzetti. A Celebration of Joel's Life will be held on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at 1:00 PM at Lakeside Baptist Church, 1501 Sunset Avenue, Rocky Mount, NC 27804 with Dr. Jody Wright officiating. A reception at Benvenue Country Club will follow service. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the family is requesting the need for social distancing and wearing of masks due to health concerns faced around our nation at this time. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Joel's memory to at Lakeside Baptist Church, 1501 Sunset Avenue, Rocky Mount, NC 27804 or the charity of your choice. Arrangements entrusted to Wheeler & Woodlief Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 1130 N. Winstead Avenue, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. You may share memories and condolences with the family by visiting