On Joel

At Joel’s funeral, I had been given the opportunity to participate in his eulogy and speak about growing up with him.  It was difficult to speak with emotions raw – just below the surface.  By the time I had made it through the first paragraph, I was in tears and the pages blurry.

My discussion notes are below:

Good morning, I’m Tim Stoner and was a lifelong friend of Joel’s.

I want to personally thank the Peigh family for the opportunity to speak today and tell just one story of how April’s husband, and Kathy and Damon’s son – positively and permanently affected me, my family, and my life.

As I witnessed yesterday afternoon and again this morning, I see how this is just one story, of the hundreds that exist in our audience – that reflect Joel’s gravity and importance he has had on all of our lives.

High School – Building Friendships

Being born and raised in Madison, IN – I was like everyone there and knew most of the kids attending Madison High School.  We had already formed our friendships and alliances.  That was…until Joel arrived.

Joel was the new kid, with a great personality, quick wit, and amazing sense of humor.  He wasn’t just a likeable guy, he was highly intelligent and lead the classroom with his thoughts and ideas. And then, there was the basketball court.  Far be it from a new comer to think he’s going to come in and try out for the basketball team in Madison.  We’ve already been developing, pruning, and progressing the boys we want to play on the High School Varsity Team.

Then the coach saw him play, and that was the end of the debate.  He wore number 10, was our starting guard and we called him…JP.

Nearing completion of High School, he was accepted to Purdue and I was off to the Army for the GI Bill.  Joel said, “it’s not all green and guns, Timmy.”  Meaning, he hoped I would continue with my education and make it to college.

I finished my initial training with the Army and was soon off to college.

College – Deepening Friendships and the Love of his life

Many of his high school friends, and extended family, attended Purdue with him. However, we all stayed in touch through college and visited him on weekends.

While in college, we all witnessed a transformation taking place as his focal point shifted from friendships that began maturing into his relationship with, April.  April was the love of his life and everyone knew that April and Joel had the right relationship and that they would someday be married.

Professional Life and Entrepreneur

After college, Joel entered into industry and was soon married to April.  In Industry, like in Madison, he was an early stand-out and quickly progressed through the corporate ranks.  His track record was so successful, he was given the opportunity to start and run a new plant in Iowa.  The Iowa plant soon became very successful and Joel fueled it’s success. His continued success accelerated his internal passion for being an entrepreneur and soon, it was time act.

Moving back from Iowa, and growing his family, he soon started The HomeZone Handyman Services. He managed the business year-over-year and helped so many people and their families improve their homes and their quality of life.

Supporter of my family

Early in 2007, I was notified that my unit was being activated to provide MEDEVAC coverage for the war in Iraq.  Joel took this news very personal and quickly went into action in supporting my family.  He often expressed his patriotic need to help those who were willingly to go abroad for this nation.

Nineteen years after he made his quote to me leaving high school, I repeated back to him – “well, I guess it ‘is all green and guns,’ now.”  He smiled, we hugged, and he sent me on my way.

My family was soon comforted by his weekly presence, and tireless work-ethic, completed duties around our home that would have typically been on my plate.  He kept our home tidy and allowed Tiffany to focus her attention on 4 children under the age of 6.

While in combat, he wrote to me and further assured that my family was taken care of and that I only needed to do one thing for him – make it home.

Four hundred days later, he was there to greet me: with his open arms, caring nature and his signature smile.  I am forever grateful of his friendship.

Joel was a very caring father, loving husband, wonderful brother, thoughtful son, and an incredible friend to so many people.

May all of our minds, hearts, and actions remain with April and the children, along with all of the Peigh family – through this difficult time.

Thank you!

2 Responses to “On Joel”

  1. Kathy Says:

    What a wonderful gift this speech was for his family. Bravo!

  2. Julie Wolfschlag NIezer Says:

    Hey Tim..wanted you to know that your speech was down right fabulous…what a wonderful tribute to Joel and all he represented. It touched me right to the core…your words will be with me forever.

    On a lighter note, what a great time at the golf outing. It was great to see you and Tiffany again. Would love to get together with you guys again sometime! Take care and keep in touch!

Leave a Reply