Valdosta Daily Times

October 6, 2012

Fund aids late veteran’s family

Elizabeth Butler
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — A veteran of Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, the former master sergeant became “Mr. Mom” after his retirement from the Air Force almost two years ago. James “Hoyt” Lumpkin could be seen walking his 6-year-old son, Jacob, to Hahira Elementary while pushing the stroller of his 18-month-old son, Zach.

But Lumpkin’s role as devoted husband and father was tragically cut short at age 45 when he lost his life in a motorcycle accident on Sept. 24. His friends have since set up a memorial fund for the family at

“(Hoyt) loved the outdoors and riding his motorcycle,” said neighbor and friend Joseph Gully, who had known him for almost a year.

Gully’s wife, Elena, called Hoyt “an all-around great guy.”

“(The day before Hoyt passed), he was at my house with son Jacob taking care of my vehicle when my husband was gone,” she said.

“He was always willing to lend a hand wherever and whenever needed,” Joseph Gully said.

The couple was able to observe the interaction of Hoyt with his wife and children.

“He was a great family guy,” Elena Gully said. “I’ve never seen anyone more devoted to his wife and kids. I’ve never seen him miss a (karate and baseball) practice with his kids.”

The Gullys called Hoyt “a devoted, caring, faithful and loving husband for 16 wonderful years to his wife, Sandy,” a delivery nurse at Smith-Northview Hospital.  

“(Sandy’s) a strong woman and always puts her kids first. Her husband passed on a Monday, she was in Cuthbert burying him on Friday, and at 9 o’clock on Saturday, she had her kids at White Tiger Karate, trying to keep a sense of normalcy for them,” Joseph Gully said.

Donations to the Hoyt Lumpkin Memorial Fund may be made at the website and is to be used for whatever need the family may have, Joseph Gully said. (For those who don’t have a Pay Pal account, donations may be made to a second fund established for his sons’ college expenses at CBC, 3462 N. Valdosta Road, Valdosta, GA. 31602, “In Memory of Hoyt Lumpkin.”)

“Any donation will be appreciated by the family members,” Joseph Gully said. “No monetary value will replace a father or husband. This is to help them through a rough time.”