He was the son of the late Isaac Barksdale Gonia and Dorthula Bain Gonia. He was also preceded in death by his spouse of 69 years, Wilma Christina Gonia; brother I B Gonia; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: Frances and Elmo Harmon, and Reba and Erwin Dorn; brother-in-laws: Joe Blocker and Lamar Parton; and nephews: Clayton Womack and David Harmon.
He was one of the first men to paint the Rock City signs on the roof of barns for many years.
After coming home from the war, he promised God he would do what God called him to do. He was a minister for more than 65 years in the Church of God of Prophecy. He pastored in Tennessee, North Carolina and Maryland until he retired in 1984.
He loved to preach even when he no longer could. He loved golfing, deep sea fishing and woodworking. At the time of his death, he was a member of Hickory Valley Church of God of Prophecy in Chattanooga.
He entered the military March 27, 1943, and was a member of the 892d Chemical Company and served overseas in New Guinea, Philippines, Okinawa, and Ie Shima Islands as a toxic gas handler, who stored and loaded gas unit tanks with smoke gases and other chemical warfare gases. He filled airplane chemical spray tanks with various toxic gasses, and armed tanks for detonation as well as decontaminated spray tanks. His unit took dry naplam and mixed with gasoline to make napalm incendiary bombs. He was schooled in chemical warfare techniques. Citations include World war II Victory Ribbon, Good conduct medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon and one Bronze Star GO 23 Hq USAFFE 56 AP Ribbon and One Silver Service Star. He was discharged on Nov. 24, 1945.
Survivors include his daughters: Rama Christina Gonia of Cleveland, and Norma Laverne Bryant and her husband, James E. of Cleveland; grandsons: Dean Bryant and wife, Dana, Shane Bryant and wife, Tabitha, of Cleveland, Barksdale Bryant and wife, Crystal, of Macomb, Ill., and Andrew Bryant and wife, Pam, of Douglasville, Ga.; great-grandsons: Cameron Tyler Bryant, Tanner Ashlin Bryant of Cleveland, and Cadence Arthur Bryant of Douglasville, Ga.; great-granddaughter, Trinity Malei Bryant of Douglasville Ga.; sister, Charlotte Blocker of Chattanooga; sisters-in-law: Frances Gonia of Florida and Bettye Parton of Kannapolis, N.C.; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: Joyce and Don Womack of Chattanooga and Iris and T H Parton of Alabaster, Ala.; many cousins, nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews; and special friends: Jim and Ernestene Whittaker and Beverly and Alvin Davis.
The Remembrance of Life service will be held today, Jan. 27, 2013, at 3 p.m. from the Peerless Road Church of God of Prophecy with the Rev. Duke Stone and Bishop E. C. McKinley officiating.
Interment will follow in the Hilcrest Memorial Gardens with grandsons Dean, Shane, Barksdale and Andrew Bryant, great-grandsons Cameron, Tanner and Cadence and great-granddaughter Trinity Bryant serving as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers will be the retired ministers.
The Memorial book may be viewed and signed at http://www. jimrushfuneralhomes.com/.