There are no easy answers when someone we love leaves our side. Although gone too soon, we celebrate Joseph’s life through the simplest of pleasures. A calm, patient young man, he possessed a kind, gentle soul with a huge heart. From his earliest beginnings, Joseph developed an abiding love and appreciation for nature. He was at his best enjoying the outdoors, and taking in the beauty which surrounded him. He will be remembered for all that he was, and all that he gave to those who knew and loved him.
Joseph's story began on a hot summer day on July 13th, 1991 in St. Louis, Missouri. While Lollapalooza premiered highlighting bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, A Tribe Called Quest and Pearl Jam, Jay Norris and Rebecca Wilson celebrated a big change in their lives with the birth of their first child, Joseph Budd Norris. He was soon joined by his younger brother and best friend, Graham. Not even two years old, Joseph and his family relocated to Portage, Michigan. They made their new home on Redstock where there were several families with boys all the same age. This pack of young boys grew together as brothers forming lifelong friendships. As a young boy, he attended Woodland Elementary School, played AYSO soccer and then for the Portage Lightning traveling team. From a young age, he loved skateboarding which became a lifelong passion.
Joseph also had a passion and love for nature and the outdoors. He took in all the hiking he could, and any activity where he could enjoy the sun on his face, the wind behind his back, and the crisp and warm scents of nature. To Joseph, being one with nature brought the free-spirit within him to the surface. It was a place of peace and tranquility where he could let his imagination, creativity and dreams soar. As a little boy, he attended Nature's Way Preschool where his admiration for nature was truly encouraged. From these seeds which were planted within Joseph's heart at a young age, Joseph cultivated them, growing his appreciation and understanding of the outdoors.
Joseph began working for the Kalamazoo Nature Center while in high school. He was a well-loved camp counselor. With his calm and patient nature, he was a natural when it came to helping the children with special needs. He went on to graduate from Portage Central High School in 2010.
Not one for the confinement of four walls, shortly after graduation Joseph ventured out into the world. He spent nearly a year in Hawaii experiencing its vast beauty of land and water before returning to his family and friends in Portage.
Joseph had a host of amazing friends. He was a loyal friend who would go out of his way to help. He also had a best four-legged friend, an Olde English bulldog, named Chauncey. Along with the outdoors, Joseph’s love for music inspired his artistic and creative side. He had varying degrees of taste when it came to music genres. Music was food for his soul. During the last of his days, Joseph was enjoying the company of good friends in a dynamic, outdoor atmosphere of music, art, and nature. In his element, Joseph was working and attending the Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury, Michigan where he was surrounded by what he loved. He passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, June 27, 2013.
Page 2 of 2 - At the age of 21, Joseph was taken much too soon. He was incredibly kind. He made us feel better about being who we truly are. He included so many people rather than exclude anyone. Hearts will remember him for his kind soul, and the good-hearted man he was. His beautiful smile lives on in those he touched with ways all his own. Joseph was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Joe and Ronda Wilson; and his paternal grandparents, Budd and Betty Norris. He is survived by his mother, Rebecca Wilson; his father, Jay Norris; brother, Graham Norris; his aunts and uncles: Jeff & Jenny Wilson, Mary Beth Norris, Judy Jones and Lynn Hooker; and his cousins: Josh, Destany and London Wilson as well as many other relatives and friends, including his beloved four-legged friend, Chauncey.
A graveside memorial Celebration of Life and burial will take place at 10:00 AM, Saturday, July 13, 2013, at the White Oak Cemetery, Pickering, MO. Please meet before the service at the Bram-Danfelt Funeral Home, 206 E. South Hills Drive, Maryville, MO, to go in procession to the cemetery.
The Rev. Dale Stewart will be the minister.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be in Joseph’s memory to the Kalamazoo Nature Center.
Many of you have asked what it is you can do for us right now – We’d prefer that you do one nice thing during your day that is dedicated to “NOR”. Hold open a door, say a kind word to someone who looks like they need it, praise instead of ridicule…