(Joyful Mysteries Note: Two weeks ago, my brother in law Justin’s oldest and best friend Josh passed away. He was 33. He was many things– a stand out basketball star- a local legend, but he was so much more. He was a good husband, a father of two young boys, and someone Everyone wanted to know. Justin spoke at both of his memorial services and is sharing his beautiful real speech on the blog today. I think it’s poignant that Justin shared this, because Justin is an incredible man of integrity. He came into my sister Erin’s life like a force- her own knight in shining armor and is a man of his word.  He is a good father, he is the guy who will always help without being asked, he works hard, and he loves my sister so damn much. They have five daughters and have vowed because they don’t have sons to always be there for Josh’s two. And they will. I just want to thank you Justin for sharing your real, your raw with us, but also I want to thank you for being a part of our family. I love you so much. I know Josh would be so honored by your words. I’m so sorry this is your real- but life and death will never change the bond you had. 

My Real 

In remembrance of Josh James Williams. 

December 30, 1981- August 21, 2015 

  (Josh with our youngest Daughter Ella Mae.) 

First of all I want to say I’m incredibly honored to have been asked to share a little about my best friend Josh. My First Friend…. I also want to say that I hate that I have to stand up here today to talk about Josh without him here.

He should be here.

So Instead of talking to you…I’m going to talk to him- Like he’s here…


Not many people can say they have been friends their entire life but I can. Three years Old. Preschool.

“Remember when I used to steal your trike?” I think we’ve said that to each other everytime we’ve seen each other.

I remember…

I remember how you were already a legend at 3. Picked up a ball and began to play.

But you weren’t a legend to me, you were my friend.

Boys becoming teenagers… how I was trying to learn to drive a stick and kept stalling my car and you just chuckled and told me, “boy you better learn how to drive.” Driving up a hill was like the longest drive with you, I kept killing the car and you would not stop laughing…

Your laugh was larger than life.

You broke my grandma’s couch. You sat down and broke her couch literally in half. She was so mad, she never got over it. But that was the funniest thing ever you on the couch broken with her yelling at both of us.

I grew up in a world where I was both too white to be black and too black to be white. But you never cared.

I was just Ganz and you were just Josh.

I still remember the day your dad cut my hair I was so proud. My Grandma she’s an old school white lady she had no idea how to cut a black kids hair. And while the Afro Puff was sick. I felt so taken care of. You sat there looking like a proud dad watching his kid get his first cut, we were feeling ourselves that day with them fresh cuts.

I was a trouble maker, trying to find myself trying to Mike Tyson my way through life. You never judged me. I never played ball. And you never cared.

I was in a dark place… and you held up the light. When my mom died I told you everything and you would just listen. When your mom died I would just listen. Man you loved her and she was so proud of her boy.

Time would pass, weeks and months would go by and we wouldn’t talk. And then when we would it was if there were no seconds between us… We would be back to just us again. Every time you flew into Seattle you always took a red eye and I would always be the one to pick you up regardless of the time or what time I had to work, but damn those flights, I’d ask you, “Can you just fly at a normal time? And you’d laugh… and say “boy you know you gonna pick me up no matter what” and chuckle….

And I was there no matter what… I was there…

Because anytime I was with you was important. Day or night.

You took my grandmas minivan and rolled it to visit Jaamela for her birthday. You were gone for a week, driving around in beat up minivan with the seat so far back just like you always drove. You came back and told Erin and I you were gonna marry her, Erin and I both laughed. But sure enough… she became your queen that day and Roy became your son.

Most people would probably ask 1) why would Jaameela would even like him after he showed up in a minivan. And 2) how could they have known so fast that they were meant for one another?

Because this…

You came back not Josh anymore…

You and Jaameela were soul mates. The way you looked at her was like a light shining so bright people wanted to look away, but they couldn’t. The better kind of love that makes people better. The way her eyes danced when she looked at you. The way you loved when you were with her and the boys. There was no question. Little Roy became your son. You loved him and your hearts instantly were linked and you were so proud of him. You knew it was a package deal and man you got the best part of that deal you got a wife and your first son. Then you were blessed with another son Lil Josh and he is a spitting image of you carrying on your legacy. He looks like you… walks like you and is mannered just like you…

Jameela believed you were worth every breath like most of us… and you were.

Lots of different things have been said the past week about you… Legend…A jolly Giant… Athletic… kind… loving….

All of those things are true… But let me say one thing you taught me. Gratefulness. You were grateful for every gift you were given. You never wasted a second, every minute of every day. You were grateful. SO grateful. You never took anything for granted.

And those of us that loved you. We didn’t take you for granted. Because you were… good… you were one of the best men I’ve ever known.

I never told you that. I never told you I wanted to a better man, husband father… because of you…

You’re worth Josh was more than any person I’ve ever known. As a father, husband, son, brother and friend.

You are worth it. Here and in Heaven.

I promise to be there for you family. Erin and I stand with them day and night, because YOU ARE WORTH IT. And so are they.

  (I’m always gonna be there for your boys.) 

I promise to be a good example to my family. To love Erin and our girls. I promise to be grateful and never take anything for granted… You taught me that.

And I promise I will never have another friend like you.

I love you my dude… I will miss you every day for the rest of my life.


(Justin is many things: a hard worker, a fantasy football fanatic, a Duck fan…but his greatest gift is Erin and their five girls. He is the most loyal guy you’ll ever meet. He is also his niece Grace’s favorite.)