Joseph C. Phayer

Published 3:31 pm Monday, November 2, 2015

Joseph Christopher Phayer died Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015 at St. Luke’s Hopsital.  He was born in the Bronx, New York, Oct. 12, 1927. He was the son of Thomas and May Sullivan Phayer who emigrated from Limerick, Ireland. He is survived by his wife, Alberta, and his children, Dennis (Connie), Kevin (Karen), and Patricia Prause (Teddy), and stepchildren Richard and David Beauchamp. His daughter Maureen Phayer and stepdaughter Elizabeth Beauchamp died before him. He had four grandchildren: Brenna Lawrence (Jason), Meaghan Nitchals (Greg) and Hillary and Molly Phayer. His great grandchildren are Sydney Lawrence and Cassie Nitchals.

He was educated at Regis High School and the New York Maritime Academy. He earned his Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University. He served twice in the U.S. Navy. He  enlisted after high school and sailed on destroyer escorts in the Pacific based in China, and after graduation from the academy, was an intelligence officer.

He spent his career as an senior engineer with ExxonMobil. He had assignments in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Libya, England, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Thailand as well as New Jersey, Texas and California.

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After retirement in 1986, he and Bertie retired to Tryon and he began his second career. He supervised the building of the Foothills Humane Society shelter, served as treasurer of Habitat and was on the board of directors of Hospice of the Carolina Foothills for many years. He acted as a patient volunteer for several years and then supervised the design and building of Hospice’s headquarters building and, his crowning achievement, the Hospice Inpatient unit. He loved playing racquetball, rowing his shell and hiking with the Foothills Trotters. He earned his license to pilot gliders.

A memorial service celebrating his life will be held on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at 12 p.m. at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. There will be a reception afterwards in the Church Hall.

Memorials may be made to Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, 130 Forest Glen Drive, Columbus NC 28722.

Condolences may be left at

Petty Funeral Home & Crematory
Landrum, S.C.