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2003 Joseph Michael Ryan 2023

Joseph Michael Ryan

June 5, 2003 — September 30, 2023


Joseph Michael Ryan, aged 20, passed away on September 30th, 2023, while doing what he loved: hiking in the mountains. 

Joseph, affectionately known as “Jojo” to his family, was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, on June 5th, 2003 to his father Michael and his mother Steffany. Growing up, Joseph was known for his vibrant energy and beautiful smile. He spent his childhood surrounded by siblings and neighborhood friends, weaving his goofy charisma into every four square game or lemonade stand. He showcased his artistic soul by playing the guitar and creating videos. Joseph was a National Merit Scholar, and he is remembered for his gifted writing and unbound creativity.

Joseph had a deep-seated connection to the mountains. He dedicated two gap years to working as a lift operator at Beaver Creek Resort in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. During his days off, Joseph would eagerly catch the first chairlift up and ensure he was the last off the mountain. This fall, Joseph started his freshman year at Appalachian State University, studying digital communications, aspiring to become a snowboard videographer and producer. Joseph could be found at the skatepark, strumming his guitar, spending quality time with his friends, or hiking and camping in the mountains – where he felt his truest sense of peace. 

Joseph is preceded in death by his Grandma Ryan, Aunt Patty, his cherished pet rats, Mika and Bailey, and his beloved furry sister, Millie. He is survived by his mother, Steffany; his father, Michael; his older brother, Jacob; his older sister, Jillian; and his younger sister, Jenna. In honoring his memory, we invite you to paint your nails light blue and wear a thrifted shirt, just as Jojo loved to do. 

In lieu of floral arrangements, the family asks for donations to the Friends of High Country State Parks or towards funding the next phase of the Boone skatepark.

The family will receive friends and family for a visitation on Wednesday, October 4th, 2023, from 5:00-7:00 pm at Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home in Huntersville, NC. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on Thursday, October 5th, 2023, at Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Cornelius, NC.  We request that all who attend bring a wildflower to be part of a memorial to his life.


Joseph’s church home, Mt. Zion UMC, will be planting new trees this fall on their front lawn to replace ones lost over the years.

Given Joseph’s love of nature and the outdoors, a donation to Mt. Zion’s Tree Fund is a truly fitting way to remember Joseph.

If you would like to make a donation in memory of Joseph, simply make your check out in any amount to Mt. Zion UMC and write “Tree Fund/Joseph Ryan” in the memo line. We and Mt. Zion UMC sincerely thank you for your gift.  Mt. Zion UMC, 19600 Zion Ave., Cornelius, NC 28031


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