Funny, loving, kind, talented, adventurous.
“When Joey was two, we were at Easter Mass and The Father had just given the blessing for the sacrament; it was completely silent until Joey stood up in the pew and quoted a movie we had watched the night before… ‘I told you kids, no ID no GD beer,’ he belted out. I could have melted into the floor from embarrassment,” remembers his mother. One thing everyone could agree on, was that Joey was hilarious. He carried that sense of humor with him throughout his life; but he also carried a deep sense of responsibility and drive.
Joey always loved music whether he was just listening to it or writing his own. At age 11 he taught himself how to play guitar, a skill he was proud of and would continue to build upon as he aged. He enjoyed singing and playing his guitar and found himself in quite a few bands throughout the years. “His most cherished possessions were his guitar and his amp,” says his mother. He was such a bright talented young man that always impressed his teachers, who encouraged him to pursue a career as a journalist.
Though he never became a journalist, he did pursue a career as a truck driver. Joey loved travelling and the sense of adventure that it gave him. He had planned to continue long-distance trucking for another year so he could save up enough money to invest in his own rig. He wanted to start his own company so he could drive locally as an owner-operator. But unfortunately, life had different plans.
Joey had struggled with addiction since he was 20 years old and was good at hiding it. He wasn’t used to being the one that asked for help, but rather the one that was there to give it. After his family found out about his substance use disorder, he worked hard to overcome it. He was substance-free for several years but then relapsed without anyone knowing it. Which eventually landed him in a hospital bed with his mother pleading beside him. “It was constant worry, tears, and fear; with a lot of sleepless nights, anxiety, and stress,” recalls his mother.
Joey’s addiction taught his family things they never wanted to know about addiction and changed them forever. The hardest part for his mother was the fear of losing him. But now it is living with the unending pain at having lost her child to the battle. More than anything she misses his smile, his hugs, his nightly calls when he was on the road, their deep conversations, and the way he made her laugh so hard.
But she wasn’t the only one who had these fond memories. At Joey’s funeral, over 300 of his friends gathered and told stories about how he included them when others treated them badly and how he stood up for people who were ostracized or bullied. Joey’s legacy was the impact he made on so many lives. He truly was one of a kind, and this world is less bright without his light in it.
Joey’s mother Kathleen Steinbaechet, provided the information for this narrative.
January 21, 1985- November 5, 2019
Age 35- Lived with the disease of addiction 15 years