Cover photo for J.E. Fugate, III's Obituary
J.E. Fugate, III Profile Photo
1936 J.E. Fugate, III 2023

J.E. Fugate, III

August 15, 1936 — May 28, 2023


J.E. Fugate III, 86, was a caring father and husband who imbued his life and others with his love of music, nature, history, and travel. He was a visionary and planner, moving skillfully from a big idea to creating pages of how-to plans to delivering the real-life experience — including months-long family camping trips across the U.S. and new community programs at the Cove Center in Rye Cove, VA.


The eldest of four children, J.E. was born August 15, 1936, to J.E. Fugate, Jr. and Elizabeth (Click) Fugate. After graduating from Big Stone Gap High School, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Asbury College in Wilmore, KY. He sang bass in an Asbury gospel quartet that performed throughout Central America, igniting a lifelong passion for travel and adventure. He moved to Columbus, OH to work before attending seminary school and found his other calling: teaching. Earning his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in education from The Ohio State University, J.E. spent over 30 years as a teacher and counselor in Columbus Public Schools, and as a board member of the teacher’s union. Post-retirement, he taught at William Paterson University of NJ and Mountain Empire Community College of Wise County, VA.


He and his beloved wife, Donna, camped regularly throughout the Americas from the Yukon to Tierra del Fuego, South America. At home, J.E. served his community in many ways, including as a member and President of The Optimists Club and a creator of the Cove Ridge Center at Natural Tunnel State Park.


J.E. is survived by his children Lisa Fugate of Richmond, VA, and Dana Fugate and husband Mike Kirstein of Needham, MA; grandchildren Chandler Fugate-Laus, Payton Fugate-Laus, Kendall Fugate-Laus, Whelan Fugate-Kirstein, and Kaya Fugate-Kirstein; sister Phyllis Fugate Plageman and husband Jerry; sister-in-law Ann Fugate; and close family friend Wilma Sloan. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 42 years, Donna Bruce Fugate, his brother Charles Fugate, and sister Carolyn Fugate Hobson.


A graveside service will be conducted on Sunday, June 18, 2023, at 2:00 PM at the Holston View Cemetery in Weber City, VA.


An online guest register is available for the Fugate family at

Gate City Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family of J.E. Fugate III.



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Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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