Joseph Malik Fannell was born on January 14, 1993 in Queens, New York. He is the third child and the only son of Jeffery and Evelyn Fannell; a brother to Brandi and Jasmine; and the only uncle to Christian.
Joseph, was affectionately known to many as “Jo Jo.” He had a sweet spirit and gentle smile that left a lasting impression on all who came to know him.
Joseph possessed a variety of talents. He enjoyed drawing, gaming, singing, and he could even play the keyboard (by ear) when he wanted to, but his greatest passion by far was writing. At the age of nine, Joseph wrote a story called “The Neighborhood.” Later on he went on to write countless poems.
When Joseph was no more than 2 or 3 years old he was an expert at operating a VCR. He would pop in the
videotape of “Jurassic Park” and watch it over and over and over again! Later on, as the family relocated first to Englewood and then Columbus, New Jersey, Joseph played Little League Baseball and organized basketball.
By the time Joseph entered Northern Burlington Regional High School, he had begun to develop his artistic side, most notably his talent as a poet. Sharpening his skill at memorizing, he quickly became a fan of spoken word artists (performance-based poetry), and he would go around to various classes reciting what he had heard, before his classmates and peers.
Soon he was performing spoken word routines at his church, On Good Ground Christian Fellowship, and at other churches in New Jersey and Virginia. Joseph’s performances moved and inspired young and old alike.
Joseph’s favorite TV shows were “Lost” and “Supernatural”. He also loved America’s Got Talent, and was invited to submit his own videotaped audition, but he wanted to actually go and audition in person and was actually invited to do so, just never made it. (It was something about being in the crowd).
Joe’s favorite movie was “John Q.” The movie was about a father whose son needed a heart replacement and since insurance would not cover it, he took the matter into his own hands by holding the hospital hostage and forcing them to perform the procedure. Joseph would always compare himself to the son, and remark how his dad would do the same thing for him.
Joe liked coffee ice cream with chocolate sprinkles (very often as a late night snack), baby back ribs, his Dad’s macaroni and cheese and his Mom’s baked ziti. He also loved lounging around the house in his bathrobe, no matter the temperature or the time of day.
And, of course, Joseph loved dressing in bright, vibrant colors, capped off with his signature bow ties. (Joe had recently sent a text to his mom of how he had just purchased 30 bowties, to add to his collection). The bowtie has since become the trademark and logo for Joseph’s Memorial Fund.
Most of all, Joseph knew and loved God, having committed his life years ago to the Lord Jesus Christ.
On the morning of June 4, 2015, Joseph M. Fannell was on his way to work when a driver ran a red light and struck his car broadside. The next day, Friday, June 5, Joseph died as a result of injuries to the brain, he suffered in the crash.
Just days following his tragic death, The Joseph M. Fannell Memorial Foundation Inc was established to create and support programs to help young people overcome obstacles and reach their full potential.
Joseph’s passion was spoken word and performance-based poetry. The Foundation honors Joe’s legacy by providing scholarships and other financial assistance to young people with a dedicated interest in creative and performing arts. We also host talent competitions where cash prizes are rewarded to the top performers. Over the past few years, the Foundation has awarded over $30,000 to talented youth.
Beyond the financial support, we also create platforms for young people to share their talent and creativity with a broader audience.
The Foundation also contributes to programs that provide support and guidance to those who have been or are being bullied. Joseph was bullied in high school and he wanted to share his experiences with high schoolers who are victims of bullying and encourage them to seek and receive help. We are dedicated to furthering Joe’s desire to put an end to bullying.
To support the work of the Memorial Fund and to help keep Joe’s memory alive, use the link below to donate by Paypal, or text JMFFund to 53-555. Or you can simply visit the “How You Can Help Us” tab on this website to hear other ways!
For all you are, for all you were, we love you, Joe!