Retired Big Country football coach makes wooden crosses to spread positivity


SWEETWATER, Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- Whether as a football coach or a woodworking craftsman, Joe Paty has always seen the potential in everything around him. Each cross he makes is unique in its own way, even if the template is the same, he tries to extenuate what makes each piece of wood different.

Joe Paty with two of his crosses made from walnut wood

“I like ruggedness in the cross because that helps bring out the beauty of the cross,” Paty says.

He’s been woodworking since he was just a boy growing up in Hermleigh, though it didn’t become a regular hobby of his until he retired in 2002.

“The first thing I made was a bookcase for my wife, and it’s there in the house. But I’d rather do smaller jobs,” says Paty.

Though most of the crosses he makes are small, it’s no small task, considering he makes 60-120 at a time. And most often, he doesn’t charge.

“I like to give them to different people. I mean, somebody’ll come by and fix the plumbing or electric work or something like that and I’ll usually give them a cross,” Paty says.

A collection of Paty’s specialty crosses

But if a family member or friend is going through a rough time, he’s also been known to make custom crosses. A few of the larger projects he has in the works now include a foot-tall cross made out of what’s left of his mother’s original dining table set.

He makes the crosses in the shop he’s built outside their home, which he calls his “Pouting house,” also the namesake for his business.

“I stole that from a friend in Floydada, he had a shop that he called his pouting house. He said, ‘That’s where I go when I get kicked out of the house and don’t have any place to go,'” Paty said.

Paty says no matter the project, he’s happy to spark human connection because while the cross may be the gift, the real meaning comes from knowing that someone has put time and effort into thinking about you.

“What we need to be doing as we live here on Earth is taking care of each other as we take care of ourselves and seeing to it that others get what they need,” says Paty.

For crosses, craftsman needs, or just to chat, Joe Paty can be reached at 325-518-6353. His crosses can also be bought at the Sweetwater craft fair.

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