It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of our beloved Joseph (Joe) William Yerxa. Joe passed away at the age of 35 on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, but not before leaving his mark on this world and in our hearts, where he will forever live. After a long and courageous battle of living with congestive heart failure, he can finally rest, as hard as it is for us to say, “until next time.” Joe was a loving, kind, and humorous son, father, and friend to many.
Humour and deep conversations were all part of how Joe loved. He carried himself with lightness and substance everyday. Joe was always up for laughter and brought joy to many. Yet, as funny as he was, and as much as he loved to tease, he could also be courageously vulnerable and deep. Joe held space for himself and others, in ways that created safety and fostered connection, for us to be real with one another. These were gifts he held and shared with us, allowing our relationships to be as strong and as meaningful as they were.
Joe was a passionate Philadelphia Eagles fan. You could often find him teasing or being teased after a football game. Which ever it was, be it boasting or defending the Eagles, Joe was unrelenting in his approach. His love of sports began early. Joe was a talented athlete – a gifted hockey player, who was fast on the ice, and a skilled golfer, known for his accurate drive. He showcased these talents by competing in numerous hockey and golf tournaments, making many friends. Joe’s skills and ability to connect with others, did not end with athleticism though. He was also a handyman and gained a lot of knowledge while working in construction for many years with the Sunset Dynasty Crew. Joe was an excellent cook and part of the Culinary Skills Chef program offered through SGEI in 2009. His homemade pizzas were an all-time fave for his children. Joe was a generous person, never hesitating to share a meal with others in his home. He was caring and that extended to his love of animals, especially dogs.
Joe was many things but what he was most proud of was being a father. You could always find him smiling, especially when he was with his children. He loved being their dad. He enjoyed spending time teaching them how to cook before settling in for sleepovers, in the living room, for movie night and playing video games. His children were everything to him. In his conversations, no matter who he was talking to, his children were always on his mind, whether it be about their schooling, sports, or his hopes for their future. He was happy watching them play hockey and dance at powwows.
Joe is survived by his children Tristin Yerxa, Anthony Yerxa, Harmony Yerxa, Kobe Yerxa, Cynthia Rose Yerxa, and Joseph Yerxa Jr.; his father Vernon Yerxa; his stepmother Sheila Durbin; his maternal grandmother Jill Kawulia; paternal grandparents Florence (Smith) and William Yerxa; his stepbrother Jeremy Durbin; numerous aunts and uncles, and closely bonded cousins, who are siblings in our Anishinaabe family structure; his dog Max; and a host of long-time friends. Predeceased by his grandfather Toolie Kawulia; mother Cynthia Kawulia; brother Justin Kawulia; aunt Sandra Kawulia; uncle Doug Fairbanks; cousin Brent Oster; and son Tyrell Yerxa.
A traditional wake will be held on Friday, February 18, 2022, beginning at 4:00 p.m. with the ceremony following on Saturday, February 19, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. Both will be held at the Couchiching Multi-Use Facility and officiated by Elder Tommy Councillor and Gary Smith. Pallbearers are Kevin Yerxa, Jeremiah Fairbanks, Dennis Morrison, Randy Laroque, Steven Mainville, Cameron Yerxa, Mathew Bruyere, and Dakota Kavanaugh. Honourary Pallbearers are all his beloved children: Tristin, Anthony, Harmony, Kobe, Cynthia Rose, and Joseph Yerxa Jr.
In remembrance of Joe’s life, the family asks that any charitable donations be made to the Couchiching First Nation Recreational program or the United Native Friendship Center that support Indigenous youth playing hockey.
Online condolences may be made in care of www.greenfuneralfortfrances.com.