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Joseph (Joe) Earl Todd, Sr. passed away on Monday, April 30, 2018, in the caring and loving community of Lake Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Madison, FL. He was born on October 14, 1922, on a farm near Sanford, NC and was one of eleven children. Diagnosed with a rare heart condition, Joe was unable to work in the fields. As a result, he contributed to the family by helping his mother in the kitchen. He became a fantastic cook and was known by many as the Pecan Pie man. One Thanksgiving week in his early 90s, Joe made 90 pecan pies and gave them away to his friends. Throughout his life, Joe nourished people with food, friendship and service.
In his early years, Joe worked for the Coastline Railroad. At that time, he was married to (Polly Todd) and had two children, Joe Todd, Jr. and Joy Todd (Wyman). While working for the railroad in 1954, he had a cardiac episode that sent him to John Hopkins Hospital where he was one of the first open heart surgery patients. He stayed in the hospital for 6 months where the doctors said it was a miracle he survived. In 2004 there was an HBO movie made of his famous ‘blue baby’ doctor, Vivian Thomas.
Following his surgery, Joe returned home to Rocky Mount, NC, where he ran a gas station and had two more children, Jenny Todd (Nash) and John Michael Todd. In 1963 the Todd family moved to Bradenton, Florida and Joe managed the Gulf Oil station on Manatee Avenue for over 30 years. Joe had a charismatic personality and was a true entrepreneur. He was a man who never met a stranger. In fact, one of his favorite sayings was “a stranger is just a friend you’ve never met.” While still working at the Gulf station, he began farming and loved working the land. In his later years, Joe’s passion was drilling oil wells in Kentucky.
Joe was proud of his children and told everyone! He had 4 children, 9 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents John and Rosa Lee Todd, 9 brothers and sisters, his wife Frances Rogers, and his great-grandson Daniel Wyman.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, July 7 from 1-3 PM at Griffith-Cline Funeral Home, 720 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205. Joe will be laid to rest next to his parents and Frances at the Jonesboro Cemetery in Sanford, NC on July 21st where his life will be celebrated by many of his extended family.