Joe and Pat Hartness first met while attending Furman University in Greenville, S. C. Both realized they shared a common interest in aviation, especially their radio control modeling hobby.
After completing his studies at Furman, Joe attended the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N. C. Realizing his goal of entering the ministry, he and his family settled in Smithfield, N. C., where he became Associate Pastor of the First Baptist Church. Upon his ordination, Joe received his pastorate in Halifax, VA. Always seeking to expand his horizon in ways to help his fellowman, Joe later studied at Wake Forest University of Law. Upon earning his law degree, he returned to Smithfield to establish his law practice.
Pat and Joe had maintained their friendship throughout these years and continued to share their love of aviation. Joe became a qualified instrument rated pilot and a Certified Ground School Instructor, teaching student pilots at the Johnston County Airport near Smithfield.
In 1986, with the help of his friend U.S. Representative from North Carolina, Martin Lancaster, along with U.S. Senator from North Carolina, Jesse Helms and Pat Hartness, Joe received an appointment by President Ronald Reagan as a Board Member of the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, D.C. Joe Nall died in an aircraft accident while on official business in Caracas, Venezuela in 1989.
During the years from 1982 until his death in 1989, Joe served as Master of Ceremonies of the Giant Scale Fly In held at Hartness Field ~ always using his aviation and modeling experience as well as his sense of humor to entertain the audience.
After Joe’s death, Pat honored his good friend’s memory by in 1990 he renamed the event THE JOE NALL FLY-IN.
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