For life cut short, long-lasting impact

You are currently viewing For life cut short, long-lasting impact
Andy Joseph, the lead singer and major songwriter of Windoview, performs at the Turks Head Music Festival in West Chester in 2011.

About a year and a half ago, a 2012 Unionville High alum was sitting in his room at Ohio State University when he unexpectedly heard the music of Windoview, an award-winning, Unionville-based band featuring Andy Joseph, a high school friend.

After the memorial service, friends congregate in the hallway to continue sharing memories of Andy Joseph.
After the memorial service, friends congregate in the hallway to continue sharing memories of Andy Joseph.

Connor McShane said he was even more surprised to learn that the person listening to the music was his college roommate. “He was from Ohio,” McShane said incredulously. “He didn’t know Andy Joseph ... That’s a seven-hour drive away.”

McShane told the story during a memorial service for Joseph on Saturday, Nov. 29, at Unionville High. Joseph died of complications from epilepsy on Aug. 29 in New Orleans, where the 20-year-old business major was just beginning his junior year at Tulane University.

After McShane excitedly messaged Joseph to tell him that a total stranger was enjoying his music, he said his friend received the news with characteristic humility. It was a theme that reverberated throughout the afternoon.

About 500 people gathered in the auditorium, listening for nearly two hours as Matt Lee - a longtime friend, neighbor, and classmate - presented poignant images, messages and music. The reach of Joseph’s music and the breadth of his kindness dominated the program.

An opening photomontage established an upbeat tone that was only occasionally punctuated by tears. It included photos of Joseph, also a gifted athlete, contemplating his navel and exhibiting some literal cheekiness.

Besides the humorous shots, many photos showcased Joseph’s signature smile. It appeared in solo poses as well as those with his soccer teammates and his family: his sister Mallory, his brother Alex, and his parents, Lori and Marc.

Some of the messages came from afar and were read by others. For example, one Tulane student, who reported being influenced by Joseph’s music, was unable to attend because he was studying abroad.

Matt Micklin, a 2012 Unionville grad, couldn’t make it because he was scheduled to play in Penn State’s Blue Band - a performance he said he was honored to dedicate to Joseph.

Speaker after speaker referenced Joseph’s penchant for making them feel special, for lighting up a room with his personality, and for consoling them when they needed it.

“Sharing the stage with you has taught me so much about myself,” said Hunter Conover, a member of Windoview. “I just wish I had thanked you for all the good times.”

Quin Savant, a Unionville classmate, said Joseph skillfully used music and laughter to unite people. “In an instant our lives were changed,” he said. “Someone who had such an impact on our lives was swept away.”


A supporter writes a check for the Andy Joseph Memorial Scholarship.
A supporter writes a check for the Andy Joseph Memorial Scholarship Fund..

“His positive attitude about life was contagious,” said a message from Garrett McDonald, a friend since 9th grade. “You will be truly missed by everyone who was lucky enough to meet you.”

Evidence that Joseph produced a lasting legacy abounded. Betsy Ballard, a teacher at C.F. Patton Middle School, said that two eastern redbud trees would serve as a permanent memorial at the school, where Joseph left an indelible impact.

Ballard said the native species gets purple flowers – one of Patton’s colors. “The leaves are heart-shaped in honor of how much everyone loved Andy,” she said.

Marc Joseph, Andy’s father, said he was thankful that his son’s friends had graciously let him continue his son’s fantasy football career – a stint marked by his inclusion in an ESPN book on the subject. “All three of the fantasy football teams I managed will make the playoffs,” Marc Joseph said.

Demonstrating the power of Andy Joseph’s music, fellow musician and high school classmate Aubrey Hendrixson delivered an evocative vocal and piano performance that represented a synthesis of some of his lyrics with those from the band Sublime.

Surveying the large crowd, Mallory Joseph, Andy’s sister, thanked everyone for coming. “I wanted him to know how loved he was,” she said.

“One of the best things to do is to hold onto to these great memories,” Lee suggested. It was advice the audience appeared to heed.

When the memorial service ended, the celebration of Joseph’s life did not. Some attendees remained in the auditorium to share remembrances in small groups, others moved out to the hallway to continue reminiscing, while others spilled into the parking lot, making plans to reconvene at area restaurants.

Carolyn Daniels, a school board member and friend of Lori Joseph, said she found the memorial inspiring and felt blessed to live in such a supportive community.

“I am in awe of the grace, dignity and strength of the Joseph family and the touching tribute that those who knew Andy gave to honor him,” Daniels said.

2012 Unionville High classmates Matt Lee (left) and Quin Savant say they are grateful to have so many positive memories of Andy Joseph.
2012 Unionville High classmates Matt Lee (left) and Quin Savant say they are grateful to have so many positive memories of Andy Joseph.

Nora Tang, a 2012 Unionville grad who fondly described herself as an “Andy groupie,” praised Lee’s presentation of the program. “Matt did an awesome job,” she said, echoing the sentiments of many, including Andy Joseph’s mother, Lori.

“I didn’t do anything,” Lori Joseph said. “These kids did it all. They were amazing.”

After the program, Lori Joseph said her son initially resisted the epilepsy diagnosis he received at age 16. “It’s a very complicated disease,” she said. “The best thing you can do is be compliant with your medication, which is difficult because the side effects can be severe.

“Andy struggled with that,” she continued. She said he would sometimes send her a Snapchat or Instagram photo to show her that he was taking his meds. And although she saw signs that he was beginning to accept the realities of the disease, she knew he was not consistent about his medication because it caused him memory loss and fatigue.

Fortunately, it did not impair his music, which continued to attract legions of fans, she said. Windoview, which featured both of her sons, has made $10,000 on iTunes and prompted many anecdotes about friends and relatives’ hearing the music in far-flung locations.

To honor Andy Joseph’s musical passion, a scholarship will be awarded to a 2015 Unionville High School graduate who shares his love of music. Donations may be made to UHS Activities c/o the Andy Joseph Memorial Scholarship Fund, 750 Unionville Rd, Kennett Square, 19348.

About CFLive Staff

See Contributors Page

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (17 votes, average: 4.47 out of 5)



Leave a Reply