Cover photo for Johnny Joe Nunley Jr.'s Obituary
Johnny Joe Nunley Jr. Profile Photo

Johnny Joe Nunley Jr.

February 21, 1964 — December 3, 2020

Johnny Joe Nunley Jr.

February 21, 1964 – December 3, 2020

Johnny Joe Nunley, Jr. was born February 21, 1964, to Johnny Joe Nunley Sr. and Donna Jean Starks-Nunley in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. John was the first-born child of his three younger siblings, Lisa, Tiffany, and Dawniesha. As a young boy, John (also known as John-John) was always a jolly little fella who loved to laugh and make others laugh so much so that he became well known for his practical jokes and his ability to captivate the hearts of all who were in his presence. He loved his mother Donna dearly and cherished his relationship with his father more than anything, but sadly during his adolescence, his father was tragically killed, changing John’s role as the eldest of his siblings to the protector of his mother and sisters. 

John spent most of his formative years growing up in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. He was the epitome of the proverbial African colloquialism; “It takes a village to raise a child.” Along with his mother, Donna, and grandmother Tish, he was raised by a host of aunts, uncles, and elders in the small community of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, where core values were instilled into his soul. Priceless “pioneer treasures” such as “Ma’am” and “Sir” and the offering of his seat to elders was simply John’s nature. 

During his teenage years, John began captivating the hearts of a different audience that would serve as a catalyst to his life’s journey. He was Pawhuska’s golden tri-athlete who rose to stardom during his high school years, excelling in football, basketball, and track & field. His natural love for running and swift speed landed him a place on the school’s track team, helping the team win several championship titles. On the football field, his speed allowed him to dominate the sport as a cornerback, defensive end, and running back, while his offensive skill left him turning the heads of crowds in amazement. After one particular game in his athletic career, with less than five minutes left in the game, John was named “Rushing Hero” for the Huskies, taking the ball to the 11th-yard line. After gaining over 1000 yards in a 12-game season, John was named “Offensive Back of the Year.” In 1982, John became the first Huskie football player to make all-state since 1959. He went on to lead his team to win several more conference championships, including becoming an all-state legend for the town of Pawhuska. 

John graduated from Pawhuska High School in 1982. After receiving multiple scholarship offers for his swift-footed talent on the football field, John decided to share his gift with Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and later Porterville College in Northern California. John continued playing football at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada. After his college football career, John moved to Los Angeles, California to be closer to his family on the west coast. He began a career as a salesperson in telecommunications. His gift of gab and charismatic personality allowed him to excel in the sales industry.   

As part of his upbringing in the country, John loved the outdoors. He was an avid bike rider and enjoyed riding along the beautiful shoreline of Venice Beach. He loved exploring various cultures throughout the world. He was a historian at heart. He could speak factually on any subject, whether it be politics, religion, ancient Mayan history, trans-Atlantic slavery, science, astrology, or governmental affairs; you name it, he knew it. He would spend countless hours in the library, educating himself on various topics. John had a multiplicity of gifts and talents that he loved to share with family and friends. John was also an excellent cook, and his nephew Jalen would often confirm this by saying, “Uncle John can make a meal out of anything!” 

John had an electrifying laugh and personality that would bring comfort to your soul on your darkest day. He had a very giving spirit and loved to see others happy. He was a great listener who would try to help you with any problem or circumstance you were challenged with. He would patiently listen to the facts of your situation and then give you a precise strategy to overcome it. John was a man who believed in paying attention to the signs and symbols in life’s journey. No matter how tough life would get, he had an incredible knack for re-inventing himself. John was able to attain a goal that God had written into his life’s plan before his day’s end. It was during the final quarter of his life that God used John’s resilience to accomplish one final goal before he was called home. In the last years of John’s life, he gave his life to the Lord. He shared with his mother how he prayed daily and how his one and only desire was for his family to live in unity and love. If you knew John, you knew that all he ever wanted was the best for everyone. Although he leaves behind a family who loves him and misses him dearly, rejoicing can be heard in heaven and on earth as a “true hero” has gone home! John has been reunited with his earthly father John Nunley Sr., and joined in “Heavenly Life,” with a host of other family members, including his beloved grandmother Tish and grandfather P.G. 

John will be greatly missed by his mother Donna Davis, step-father James Schanks, his sisters Lisa Nunley-Macon (Nathan Macon), Tiffany Nunley, and Dawniesha Amaya (Marcelo Amaya), his nieces La’Toneyay Ragland, Imani Jones, Talani Harris, and Anasia Doss, nephew Jalen Brown, and great-nephews Major Gober and Kacen Brown. John leaves behind a host of family and friends, including his aunts Ola Nunley-Tadlock, Edith Bonner (Raymond Bonner), Jacqueline Colliver (Ron Colliver), Marian Sutton, and Beverly Starks, and uncles Joel Timothy Sutton (Tina Sutton), Jonathan Sutton (Laura Sutton), and Lewis Bennie Gibson. Preceding John in death is Johnny Joe Nunley Sr. (father), Icy Lula Harrison (great grandmother), Benjamin Harrison (great grandfather), Ada Hamilton (great grandmother), Letitia Wright Evans (grandmother), Wallace Evans (step-grandfather), Bernice Clark (grandmother), Pete Gilbert “P.G.” Starks (grandfather), Lewis Benjamin Harrison (great uncle), Raymond Gibson (uncle), Richard Fowler (uncle), and Denise Tadlock (cousin).

Heaven is rejoicing with its new angel. Rest in heavenly peace, John.

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