Andrew Jackson “AJ” Paulk, 97, of Bethlehem Community, Bonifay, Florida, died Monday, October 19, 2020 at his home.
AJ was born in Florida just south of Black, Geneva County, Alabama on March 26, 1923. He was the 13th born of 18 children. He married his high school sweetheart, Mary Miller, on November 29, 1942.
He joined the U.S. NAVY after Pearl Harbor and served as a destroyer sonar operator in numerous Pacific battles including Iwo Jima, Leyte Gulf and Midway. He returned to dredge boats after the war and worked his way to Captain of the boat covering waterways from Corpus Christi to Chicago to Pittsburg and Port Saint Joe. AJ had a riverboat captain’s license as well as an airplane pilot’s license and was on a destroyer during a typhoon in the Pacific Ocean and a river boat in a hurricane on the Mississippi River.
He and Mary expanded her childhood family farm and he retired at age 61, AJ spent the next 36 years enjoying their farm, the cows, equipment, cars, motorcycles, family, dogs, building ponds, and having a black cup of coffee several times a day.
AJ is preceded in death by his wife, Mary Miller Paulk, and parents, James Joseph Paulk and Rosa Lee Urquhart Paulk.
He is survived by his sister, Mary Ellen Piccarillo of Bonifay, FL; four children, Cheryl Croft of Greenville, GA, Gerry Paulk (Pamela) of Fayetteville, GA, Dennis Paulk (Luticia) of Bonifay, FL, and Elizabeth Sims (James “Petey”) of Marianna, FL; 10 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandsons.
A graveside service will be 10 a.m. Saturday, October 24, 2020 at Union Hill Baptist Cemetery with James “Petey” Sims officiating. James & Lipford Funeral Home of Graceville directing.