Loving, caring, goofy, friendly, adventurous
At 6’6” and with a tall Mohawk, Joel was an impressive presence. He didn’t care what anyone thought about how he looked, and people soon came to know him for his heart. He was a loyal friend and good at teaching others about things he loved. He was gentle and smart and a loving, patient father to his son, Kai.
Joel had a love of outdoor adventure. He liked to skateboard, hike, hunt, camp, zip line and go to live music events and especially playing with his son. He took part in Civil War reenactments as a teenager and helped his history teacher by giving a presentation about a day in the life of a Civil War solider demonstrating the equipment they used. He was a Boy Scout and his dad participated with his scout troop activities. They also went on church youth group trips together, backpacking trips, and played for hours at the beach each year. Joel had a special bond with his older brother and sister and admired and looked up to them.
Joel enjoyed cliff climbing, rappelling and caving, and learned to scuba dive in the Bahamas during a college excursion. A highlight of that adventure was swimming with sea turtles; later he got a sea turtle tattoo as a meaningful memory.
Joel went to Hocking College to pursue a degree in Eco-tourism and Adventure Travel, but later thought about being a firefighter and more recently a recovery counselor. His counselor in rehab shared how Joel, with his large frame, Mohawk and tattooed body would greet newcomers to the program with a huge smile, often convincing people to stay when they wanted to leave. He was always concerned about how people were feeling and never wanted to disappoint anyone, especially his family.
Joel’s mom had a special memory of a time when Joel was 7 and she was giving Joel and his brother haircuts. She had the clippers set to give them a short buzz, but quickly discovered she didn’t have the guard on the clippers and shaved down to Joel’s scalp, she had to finish the job, but Joel was a good sport and didn’t seem to mind. Joel’s dad has warm memories of the many hours they spent together playing army when Joel was young. As Joel got older they loved sharing their common interest in music.
During Joel’s active addiction years, his mom said she felt in constant turmoil. “It seemed more than the mind and body could survive, I felt like I was dying.” She feels a deep compassion for those dealing with addiction stating: “Joel was so hard on himself and so ashamed, seeing him helpless against the pull of the drugs was terrible. No one should be judged by another person.”
His mom, dad, brother and sister all miss his smile, sweet voice, hugs and seeing him with 6-year-old Kai. He was unaware that his girlfriend was pregnant with his second son at the time of his death. Joel’s family regrets that he cannot be with Wyatt who is almost two years old. Joel would be so proud of both of his boys.
Joel’s mother and father, Dana and Brian Eger, provided the information for this narrative.
December 4, 1992-July 5, 2018
Age 25-Lived with addiction 5 years