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1926 Joy 2022

Joy Emerson (Graham) Rosser

August 12, 1926 — September 1, 2022

Somerville, Tennessee

Joy Emerson Graham Rosser, Fayette County Historian, age 96, passed away peacefully at her home in Somerville, Fayette County, Tennessee on September 1, 2022.

She was born August 12, 1926, on Ms. Frankie Graham’s farm about 5 miles East of Somerville on present-day Highway 64. Her parents were the late Charles Franklin Newfrey Graham and the late Lorene (Rene) Emerson Graham. Newfrey passed away on Christmas Day in 1934, and Rene passed away in February of 1999.

Joy was married on December 30, 1948, to John (Johnny) William Rosser. Their marriage endured until his passing on August 28, 1993, and she never remarried.

They had three children together: Ray Rosser (wife Sherry), born on July 11, 1950, of Somerville, Tennessee; Elizabeth (Beth) Adeline Rosser, born on June 16, 1951, of Somerville, Tennessee; and Richard Graham Rosser (wife Sissy), born on May 11, 1954, of Somerville, Tennessee.

Joy was a life-long resident of Somerville, Tennessee. She could trace her ancestry back to the 1830’s. She loved the land and was still the owner of the Graham and Chambers Farms that had been in her family since about the time of the War Between the States.

During her childhood, she was a member of Rehobeth and First Presbyterian Church. After her marriage, she was a member of First Baptist Church in Somerville. There, she served as the director of the Nursery for almost 20 years. After the death of her husband, she returned to First Presbyterian Church and attended consistently until just a month prior to her passing.

She attended Somerville and Warren Elementary Schools in her younger years, then went on to attend Fayette County High School and graduated in 1943 during the middle of World War II. Afterwards, she attended Lambuth College in Jackson, Tennessee. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.

While attending college, she used to ride the bus back to Somerville on the weekends to work for Mr. Will Mayo, who was the Clerk & Master at the time. After college, she taught at Tanyard School, located on Jernigan Drive behind the present-day Mt. Olive Church. She went on to work in the Clerk & Master’s Office shortly thereafter as a full-time deputy clerk, mostly under Joe Cocke. She persevered in that office for 38 years, retiring as Clerk & Master in 1986.

From that point on, she devoted herself to her passion: Genealogy and the history of Fayette County. She and Johnny traveled to all 51 States in the nation, as well as a trip “across the pond” to Europe. She published many volumes of Fayette County History, which can be found in the Fayette County Library in Somerville. She loved the library and the people that worked there.

Most often, she could be seen strolling the sidewalks of Somerville with her close friend and next-door neighbor, Clarice Burrow. Their normal route took them about 3 & ½ miles all over Somerville, come rain or shine.

There is so much more that could be said about Joy Rosser. Let it be said that she was a Christian woman, devoted to her family, and a walking Encyclopedia of Fayette County history. She will be dearly missed by so many.

Mrs. Rosser is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth A. Rosser; two sons, Ray Wilson Rosser (Sherry) and Richard Graham Rosser (Sissy); eight grandchildren, Joy Staton, Ben Staton, Cathy Staton, Leigh Wilburn (Steven), Laura Hooker (Buddy), Colin Rosser, Brooke Holmes (Daniel) and Anna Claire Rosser; and a host of great-grandchildren.

Special thanks to all the caregivers and Caris for the special care in last few weeks of life. Additionally, thank you to Dr. Raymond Hawkins, Nurse Practitioner Brooke Holmes, and Nurse Katie Logan for their knowledge and guidance during such a difficult time. You are all truly appreciated.

Funeral Services for Mrs. Rosser were held at 2 P.M. Tuesday, September 6, 2022 at First Presbyterian Church of Somerville with Bro. David Reeves, pastor of Midway Baptist Church in Whiteville, Tennessee, officiating. Special music was provided by Melvin German, soloist and Judy Henderson, pianist. Interment followed in Rehobeth Cemetery near Somerville.

Those honored to serve as pallbearers were David Newby, Billy Johns Graham, Steven Wilburn, Buddy Hooker, Colin Rosser and Daniel Holmes. Honorary pallbearers were Mickey Graham and Larry Graham.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joy Emerson (Graham) Rosser, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, September 6, 2022

12:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

First Presbyterian Church of Somerville

12940 South Main Street, Somerville, TN 38068

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

First Presbyterian Church of Somerville

12940 South Main Street, Somerville, TN 38068

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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