Cover photo for Gregory Wayne Vannoy's Obituary
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1974 Gregory 2023

Gregory Wayne Vannoy

September 28, 1974 — December 25, 2023


Gregory "Big Dawg" Wayne Vannoy, beloved son, nephew, cousin, friend passed away on December 25, 2023 at the age of forty-nine. He was born September 28,1974 in Abingdon, Virginia to Jim Vannoy and Beulah Shelton Vannoy. Greg was preceded in death by his parents and dear brother, Brian "Bubba" Vannoy, as well as grandparents, Reverend John and Delta Vannoy, and William James and Roxie Caroline Shelton.

Greg was a 1992 graduate of Patrick Henry High School, birthplace of his adoration of friendship and class-clown humor we all came to love. He also completed a degree in 1997 at Emory & Henry College where he was a proud member of the Phi Gamma Phi fraternity and where he learned how to woo the ladies. 

After E&H, Greg took several graduate classes at ETSU and began making a whole new community of people laugh in Johnson City, Tenn. He then moved to hot and humid Louisiana where he became the Athletic Equipment Manager at Northwestern State University. In 2000, Greg had the privilege of transitioning to Director of Equipment Service at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. In Annapolis, he had many amazing opportunities including providing operational support for the annual Army Navy football game and bouncing at a local bar where he supposedly met Angelina Jolie (you decide if it's true or not).

In 2006, he returned to Southwest Virginia for the highly rewarding work of Home Ownership Program Coordinator at People Incorporated in Abingdon. At People Inc., Greg was able to help over 1500 families in the HUD housing counseling program and more than 100 families to become homeowners. Greg also had the opportunity to be the Public Administration and Housing Specialist for Mount Rogers Planning District Commission in Marion, Virginia.

If he knew you, he would surrender all he had to make you happy (raise your hand if you ever received any of those Amazon packages on your front porch). His heart and its generosity were as vast as the oceans and never ceased to help someone in need. If you had a problem, he was your guy and likely the first call you made on your quest for answers. Blessed with a mind to store an encyclopedia set of knowledge, he willingly shared all he knew (and all he pretended to know) on his search for your solution. Additionally, nothing thrilled him more than being the biggest cheerleader for all his friends' children as they excelled as students, athletes, musicians, and Eagle Scouts.

With a natural wit to entertain, rest assured, you got more than you bargained for if you stuck around for the jokes. And, trust us, you stuck around for the jokes. Someone said after Greg’s passing, “Heaven just got a little funnier.”

Known for being a relational genius, he wrote the book on friendship and value of day-to-day communication. People were his love languages. They were what kept him here, probably a lot longer than his body knew how to. He wanted to live for them but needed peace more. His Savior, Jesus, granted him just what he needed. 

Greg leaves behind several aunts and uncles including Sue Tuell, Becky Dunn, Berbie Vannoy, Edward Lee Shelton, James Franklin Shelton, Velma Sue Weimer, and Carol Christine Belefski. He is also survived by numerous cousins and his best friends, Billie Maiden and Tracey Stanley.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 17 at Emory & Henry Chapel at 10:30 AM with Pastor Paul Viers and Pastor Chad Johnson officiating. Immediately after, everyone is invited to participate in Big Dawg's Tailgate (Celebration of Life) at the E&H Van Dyke BOV Room. In lieu of flowers and black attire, bring your favorite tailgate chair, food and drink. And, please, come dressed in your favorite team colors, prepared to share all your best stories.  Greg will be privately interred in  Holston Conference Cemetery at a site overlooking Fred Selfe Stadium, home of his beloved Wasps football.

A special thank you to friends and family who took care of Kimber and Greg's house while Greg was away. Also, a big thank you to all those who donated to help cover funeral expenses. All monies exceeding costs will be given in Greg's honor to the Emory & Henry's Blue and Gold Society and ASPCA animal charity.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gregory Wayne Vannoy, please visit our flower store.


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