By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Former Gainesville mayor, veteran dies at 86
Joseph H. “Joe” Stargel Jr., 86, of Gainesville, who served as a mayor and as a judge, passed away Monday at Northeast Georgia Medical Center after many years of battling Alzheimer’s disease. - photo by For The Times

Read Joseph H. “Joe” Stargel Jr.'s full obituary here.

Joseph H. “Joe” Stargel Jr., 86, of Gainesville, who served as a mayor and as a judge, passed away Monday at Northeast Georgia Medical Center after many years of battling Alzheimer’s disease.

Stargel was born in Gainesville, and other than his brief time living in California while on duty in the Marine Corps, he lived in Gainesville his entire life.

He attended Gainesville High School, joined the Marine Corps for his first tour of duty and came back to Gainesville in 1946, taking classes at night to earn a college degree. He took a second tour of duty in 1948, and returned shortly afterward.

During his time in the Marine Corps, Stargel earned many promotions before being named a lieutenant colonel.
Stargel’s professional career included positions at Law Construction Co. in Gainesville, where he was employed for more than 25 years, his election to the city commission of Gainesville and his official position as mayor of Gainesville from 1972-1973.

In 2000, Stargel received the Joe T. LaBoon Award from the Marine Corps Association of Georgia Lawyers and the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Greater Atlanta.

In addition to these accomplishments, Stargel was a charter member of Lakewood Baptist Church, where he was on the Board of Trustees. As a member of the board, he was very involved in the business procedures of the church.

“(He was) a very straightforward, very honest and very sincere man,” said Dr. Jerry Gill, minister of pastoral care at Lakewood Baptist Church.

“He was very supportive of the church and attended with great regularity.” Gill is one of the ministers who will officiate Stargel’s funeral service.

Stargel also made many contributions to the Gainesville community as councilman and mayor. Bob Hamrick, a Gainesville councilman, worked on the council along with Stargel and considered him a friend, he said.

“He was a dedicated individual who was very concerned with the quality of life in our city and always had that as the forefront of the activities that he sponsored when he was on the council,” Hamrick said.

Hamrick also said Stargel was committed to Christian living and was an active part of the Gainesville community.
“He certainly was a person of high moral character,” Hamrick said.

Stargel also made an impact on Joe Sartain of Sartain Law Offices in Gainesville. Sartain met Stargel when he ran for mayor. He was a supporter of Stargel’s campaign, he said.

Sartain specializes in workers’ compensation cases. He worked with Stargel many times when he was an attorney with Law Construction Co.

He said he also worked with Stargel when he was appointed as an administrative law judge for the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, from which he retired in 1994. He said Stargel was very respectful of attorneys such as himself in the courtroom.

“He was very good about letting you try your case,” Sartain said. Stargel not only made a good professional impression on Sartain but also a personal impact, he said.

“He was not only an outstanding judge, he was just absolutely an outstanding gentleman.”

Funeral services for Stargel will be held at noon today in the chapel of Little & Davenport Funeral Home in Gainesville.

Funeral visitation will be held at the funeral home from 10 a.m. until the time of the funeral service. Interment will be at Alta Vista Cemetery with military honors.

Regional events