Josh always seemed larger than life. He was younger than me, part of the cluster of boy cousins that included my brothers, all fairly close in age, who were so close that they were more like siblings. Josh was scrappy when he was little, often the most likely to break your toys, and his curiosity, intelligence and fearlessness often got him into trouble. He grew up to be an amazing man, living the kind of frontier life most people don’t even know is possible these days: underwater welder in the Gulf, followed by a tour of Europe with his sister using the money he made doing hazardous work, and eventually “settling down” with his wife and little daughter back in Alaska, near his immediate family. Of course, by “settling down” I mean he did relaxing things like the Iron Dog sled race.

His latest adventure was starting a gold-panning business with a friend. Last night, so I’ve been told, working with the late Alaskan sun, he put on his weighted dive suit and waded out into a stream with a strong current. [Edit – a more accurate take is in the comments here; this post has been corrected accordingly] At some point he came up for a breather, took off his helmet, and lost his footing in the treacherous waters.

“He went into the water and misjudged the force of the current. As a result he lost his footing and clung to the equipment on the bottom. He was unable to hold on and was swept downstream, where his air line snapped.”

I probably don’t need to say much more than that. Getting the call this morning, it was like hearing that a legend had died.

Josh leaves behind a wife and two daughters, one due to be born within a month or so; a mother, who already lost his younger brother several years ago; sisters, nieces and nephews; aunts and uncles who just as often felt like his parents and cousins, many of whom were more like brothers. A parent now, myself, I can’t imagine losing one child, let alone two. If you folks could say a few prayers for his family, especially for his mother, I know they’d be appreciated.

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8 Responses to Josh

  1. dloye says:

    Sorry to hear of such an unfortunate accident. I hope you can travel to AK to be with the family and reconnect with all the cousins and memories. Prayers for his family

  2. Susie says:

    Oh Julie. Praying for all of you.

  3. mushroom says:

    I am so sorry. What an incomprehensible tragedy. I will be praying.

  4. John Lien says:

    Hi Julie, I’m sorry to hear of your family’s loss. Prayers sent. It sounds like he was living the life many of us just dream about.

  5. Mom says:

    Thank You dear Julie, Josh was amazing! He taught me alot…

  6. Richard Paul Fernandes says:

    I’m sorry, Julie. Prayers on the way…
    We have a commercial diving school in Seattle. I can’t help but wonder if he was a student.

  7. julie says:

    Thanks, Rick. It’s possible that he was; I know he was trained near Seattle before getting hired in the Gulf. If memory serves, he lived with my brother while he went to school.

    And thanks to everyone else, as well – your prayers mean a lot.

  8. Linda says:

    Julie, my prayers and condolences to your family and especially to his mother, wife and children.

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