Joseph Lee Root was born in Jackson, MS on October 4, 1931. Being number four of ten children, Joe had a very rich childhood. He was the practical joker of the family. He didn’t take credit for all his shenanigans because he often blamed someone else. For years brother, Buddy, was blamed for the frog in the bathtub while his sisters were bathing. All along Joe was laughing inside. He was very good at doing what brothers do, pulling elaborate pranks on the unsuspecting.
Joe’s early life was spent around broadcasting. His father, Percy Root, was a radio pioneer. Joe followed his father’s footsteps into broadcasting, but his path was a little different. Joe became a television icon.
Root was in the Navy and stationed on the USS Yorktown for 4 years. He was discharged in 1955. After serving, Joe shared his talents with several Mississippi television stations. His career started in 1955 at WLBT where he was the Production Manager. Later, he served as the General Manager at WAPT before returning to WLBT. Most recently Joe was the camera operator for Skycopter3. Joe’s colleagues describe him as the consummate professional. And one of his most respected qualities was the ability to maintain a sense of calm during catastrophic events by focusing on the Mississippians he served.
In 2008, Walt Grayson performed the marriage ceremony for Joe and wife, Ha. They were terrific companions. Ha became a permanent member of the Root family on their wedding day.
Joe was very intelligent and never stopped pursuing knowledge. At age 89, he was serving as tech support for family members. Technology is a challenge for most, but Joe was a natural.
Joe passed peacefully on September 20th with Ha by his side. Joe is preceded in death by parents, Percy and Claire Root, and brothers, Ben, Henry, Gene, and Buddy. He is survived by wife, Ha and sisters, Martha Baker, Ruth Benton and Betty Root, and brothers Jon and Jack. “Uncle Joe” was dearly loved by 24 nieces and nephews.
There will be a graveside service at Brandon Memorial Gardens (Whitfield Road) on Thursday, September 23rd at 11:00AM. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
To send sympathy gifts to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph Lee Root, please visit our tribute store.