Joel David "Hoogie" Eller

February 05, 1939 - May 17, 2023

Joel David “Hoogie” Eller, 84, departed his devoted family and entered his heavenly home to spend eternity with his Savior on May 17, 2023. Joel was born in Montcalm, West Virginia to Thurman and Annie Spencer Eller, both of whom preceded him in death. He was also preceded in death by his loving wife, Nikola Sowers Eller, an infant brother, Sonny Eller, and a great-grandson, Ryan Joseph Atkinson. In 1947 his family moved to Pilot, VA where Joel attended and graduated from Auburn High school in 1957. He met and married the love of his life, Nikola Sowers, on January 31, 1959. They were married 62 years. They lived in Christiansburg until 1972, they then moved to their “forever” home until their passing. He enjoyed hunting and fishing, making “walking sticks”, whittling peach seeds into animals and baskets, hunting morel mushrooms and eating them, along with playing music on his guitar (and the piano which he kept a secret)! He taught himself how to play the acoustic guitar as a teenager and learned numerous Country and Western, Bluegrass, Gospel, and Elvis Presley songs. He could still sing many of those songs by heart just weeks before his passing. Joel worked for a while in Chicago, was a prison guard in Patrick County, and a Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff before going to work at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant. He worked there for 25 years before retiring on disability in 1992. His humor, quick wit, love of the JUMBLE puzzles, and uncanny ability to make up songs and to sing many song lyrics was truly a blessing to all who knew him. After retiring, Joel spent a few hours fishing in the Little River daily until a medical condition prevented him from going anymore in 2001. His wife, Nikola, cared for him while he was recovering and continued to be his caregiver until May 2021. In an effort to fulfill his wishes to be at home, his immediate family stayed with him at all times until his passing. Joel is survived by his loving children, Darryl (Patricia) Eller of Lillington, NC, Rita (Donn) Sunshine of Wytheville, VA, and Tina Morrell of Christiansburg, VA, as well as his fur babies, Oscar and Princess. He was affectionately known as Palpal, Grandpa, or PopPop to his eight grandchildren, Erin (Jonathan) Apperson, Ginny (Michael) Atkinson, Jason (Mandy) Eller, Hannah Eller, Brandon Eller,Stacey (Jon) LeCompte, Alyssa Fox, and Colton (Lindsay) Henderson. He also loved his seven great-grandchildren, Cole, Ian, Claire, Owen, Justin, Jackson, and Nori. He is also survived by his brother, Randy Eller, brother-in-law, Garry (Weeta) Sowers, sister-in-law, Viola (James) Tawney, and sister-in-law, Deborah Farley. Uncle Joel is survived by numerous nieces and nephews and their children. He also leaves behind special cousins and friends. Services will be held at Abundant Life Fellowship in Pilot, Virginia on Monday, May 22, 2023 where the family will receive visitors at 1:00 PM followed by the service at 2:00 PM Pastor Donn Sunshine officiating. Burial will follow at Sunset Cemetery in Christiansburg, VA. Arrangements were made by Gardner Funeral Home.

Guest book

Delores Akers

May 21, 2023

I am so sorry to hear about your father’s passing! You all will be in my prayers. I lost my father back in November and this is definitely not an easy journey. I’ll be praying for peace, comfort and God’s love to surround you during this difficult time!

Donn Sunshine

Wytheville and Pilot
May 21, 2023

You were more than my Father in law, you were my fishing and hunting buddy, an advisor and a true friend. You showed me there was more to life than work, how to raise a garden and how to have fun. You have gone before me and I shall come behind you.