He was born and attended school in Louisville. He later attended the University of Kentucky on a full football and baseball scholarship. Following his college experience, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corp where he was awarded the American Spirit of Honor Award. Later he served as Chief Deputy Sheriff of Jefferson County, under his father Joseph S. Eaton II while he served as Sheriff of Jefferson County.
This position led Mr. Eaton to establish the Kentucky Sheriff’s Boys Ranch in Gilbertsville, KY.
He, along with County Judge Mike Miller, former Marshall County Sheriff Jerry English, former McCracken County Sheriff Hal Cole, and former Graves County Sheriff Burl Youngblood, had the first successful year of operation for the underprivileged children. Later, he and his wife Norma Jean Eaton established a very successful business that is currently still successfully operating in Paducah. Mr. Eaton was also a Kentucky Colonel and a Shriner.
Mr. Eaton is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Norma Jean Eaton; son Joseph S. Eaton, IV and wife Marci of Benton; daughters Dr. Beth Norton and husband Don of Madisonville and Laura Thurman and husband Tim of Benton; five grandchildren, Brandon Thurman, Quinn Eaton, Cameron Thurman, Mimi Eaton, Madison West; two step grandchildren, Kaiti Norton and Lauren Norton and one great-grandchild Brayson Thurman.
Mr. Eaton was preceded in death by his father, Joseph S. Eaton II and mother, Zelpha Waldron Eaton.
Memorial services were held on Friday February 28 at 7:00 p.m. at Collier Funeral Home. Mr. Eaton’s nephew Dr. William H. Elder officiated, Burial followed in Resthaven Memorial Park in Louisville on Saturday March 8.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the Wounded Warriors Project: 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, Florida 32256 CFC #11425 or at https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org; or to Lourdes Hospice Foundation Fund, PO BOX 7100, Paducah, KY 42002.