Community mourns teen's death

By DeeAnna Haney | Jul 11, 2013
Joseph Treadway's many pallbearers wore bright orange Carhartt shirts in memory of their friend.

An outpouring of nearly 350 people filled the chapel at Bethel Baptist Church Tuesday afternoon mourning the loss of their friend and loving family member, Joseph Treadway July 4 was a day of celebration, not only for the holiday, but for Joseph’s birthday. He spent the day fishing and enjoying Max Patch with a friend.

During the several hours of visitation before the service Tuesday, hundreds of people wrapped around the chapel to hug and offer support to Joseph’s grieving family.

Dozens came dressed in bright orange Carhartt shirts or flannel shirts and jeans, Joseph's signature style. Josephs mother Angie and his dad, Bobby Treadway, who often fished and hunted with their son at their side, wore the orange shirts.

The family is no stranger to tragedy. Three years ago, Joseph’s older brother, Tyler, overdosed on prescription medications,  Over the years, Joseph has always been dedicated to helping his mother care for Tyler.

Anyone who even met Joseph briefly knew one thing right away — he loved his brother and his mother with all his heart.

A rising junior at Pisgah High School, Joseph had plans to attend college and pursue a career as a diesel mechanic. But his true passion in life was to see that his brother was cured.

He never did anything wrong to anybody. All he ever wanted to do was help his brother and work on his truck,” said Cameron Keilman, a friend and neighbor of Joseph. He sat in the congregation with his parents, all three donning the orange shirts.

When Joseph wasn’t wearing flannel or Carhartt, he would often be seen sporting a shirt that said “Pray for Treadway,” reminding others to remember his brother, Keilman said.

Though Lisa Penland has not seen Joseph much since she taught him in Kindergarten at North Canton Elementary School, she was heartbroken at the news.

“I remember he always wore little cowboy boots,” she said with tears in her eyes.

He had a southern boy charm even when he was young, she said, and she would always remember his sweet smile.

That smile is what many will miss most about Joseph.

"He was always smiling and he would always make you laugh," said his cousin, Misty Barton.

In a sea of orange t-shirts near the front of the church sat 19 of Joseph’s friends serving as pallbearers, most of whom stayed composed during the service, often bowing their heads in reverence.

Quiet sniffles in the congregation turned into outright sobbing when Joseph’s grief stricken mother, Angie, walked to the podium. Though she was crying too much to speak, her Best friend Kristy Kirton read a letter she had written to her son.

“I love you sweet boy with all my heart,” she said. She also spoke of his love for his older brother. “You are and always will be his best buddy and my best friend."

She closed by promising to always take care of Tyler, even though she must now do it without Joseph’s helping hand.

“I don’t know how but I will always try my best,” she said.

To Kirton, Jo Jo, as she lovingly called him, was like a son to her.

“Joseph is the child of my heart…he was the most kind and gentle soul I ever knew,” she said.

Though unable to communicate, Tyler sat in the front with Angie, also wearing an orange shirt for his brother.

For many in the room, the same question lingered — Why?

Though Rev. Jimmy Moore did not have an answer for that question, he was certain of one thing — that Joseph is in a better place.

Pastor Moore said he first met the Treadway family in the midst of turmoil when Tyler was hospitalized. After praying with the family and leaving the hospital room, he saw Joseph following him down the hall.

“He ran to me and hugged me and stuck out his hand and said, ‘I want to thank you for coming to pray with Tyler.’” Moore said. “I knew right then that Joseph was a good boy. But being a good boy won’t get you to heaven. Not only was he a good boy, but he was a saved boy.”

Poignant a cappella gospel songs were sung between sermons from Moore and the Dr. Rev. Roy Kilby.  By Mesial Sharpe and her sons, also relatives of Joseph. The service’s message was to rely on God's word for comfort and strive to remember the happy, loving person Joseph was.

"Joseph was a good brother, he was a good friend to many of you. This large audience is a testimony to that," Kilby said. "I don't think there's anything wrong with asking why. Today I have no simple answer, except to rely on God's words, which will instruct us."

After the service, everyone moved outside while Josephs favorite song, "This Cowboys Hat" by Chris Ledoux was played to see doves gracefully released in Joseph's memory, the doves were released in front of Joseph and Tylers Truck.

For those who wish to help Joseph's dream of seeing his brother cured, donations can be made to the TeamTreadway fund at Champion Credit Union