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This morning a great friend to us all passed away.



Rick Bender (Joel's father) called me earlier to let me know that Joel had passed away in his sleep last night.

A few of us in IRC were chatting with him last night at midnight and I spent some time at his house yesterday chatting about our shared passions-Tbirds and reef tanks and about his model train passion (anyone that has been around him knows how much he loves them).

I met Joel 5 years ago when I moved to Charlotte after college and discovered that there were some NC Tbird lovers that loved to hang out and modify their cars. Joel and I became good friends and he rekindled in me the love for my car (although he couldn't convince me to wash it more) and helped me down the path to performance modifications and the resulting need for speed that I still have. I have great memories of Joel from his twinkie fetish when I first met him, too many modifications that shouldn't be done in a slanted driveway done in his driveway, dragging at 90, numerous nitrous mishaps :), camping, cruising, too much food at Outback, and as always Food Lion AutoFair.

For the NC folks-as Joel would want it Auto Fair April 8th will still continue as planned. Rick and Harriet wish that everyone who is staying with them still come and stay. Rick has asked that I show Joel's car during the AutoFair as I wasn't going to show and I will most certainly oblige.

Rick Bender has asked that if you have any pictures of Joel that you would please send them to me and I will pass them onto Rick to be used during visitation as well as used in racing collage. Services etc. have yet to be determined however once I find out more information I will post it.

I will be sending this link to his parents (Rick and Harriet (Joel's stepmom), Marge (mother) and her husband (name escapes me)-All great people and parents from personal experience) so please let them know how you feel. A memory/story of Joel would be great to hear about.

RIP Joel-You will be greatly missed.
 

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Joel was a great friend to us all. Those who knew him, loved him. I cannot express how I feel. I do rest assured in the knowledge that Joel is with Jesus now. I asked him several months ago if he was a Christian. He confirmed to me that he indeed was.

That fact alone is what makes this vaguely bearable....knowing that he's not hurting anymore and that he's in a better place.

I will see you again buddy....just please forgive me if I hope it's not real soon. :D

God Bless you.

Bill Wheeler
TCCoA President
 

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Joel is by far the best person I have ever met in my life. To see his spirit and passion in light of what he was going through is inspiring. He will be sorely missed but never forgotten. I am glad to know that he is no longer in pain and peaceful.

We will miss you buddy!

Heather
 

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Man, i'm a gonna miss him. He was a great guy to talk with. He was always willing those who wanted help. Joel was a fixture in the tccoa chatroom and was always good for a laugh.

Joel, I am going to miss you my friend. I do regret that we never had the chance to meet face to face.

Numa Numa for ever.

RIP Joel
 

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You'll see that most the posts above show as being edited by me. The only thing I did was remove everybody signatures. We're asking that people NOT post their sigs on posts in this thread please. Any future sigs will be removed as well.

God Bless you Joel.
 

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Joel was a good man who always tried to keep his sprits up even with all the poor guy had to go through. I'm glad this club was here for him these last months and I am proud to have known him.

Joel's fight is finally over and he has gone home. Rest is peace Joel...
 

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God speed you on your journey Joel. You touched all our lives and you will be missed.

Thanks for making chat a fun place to hang out.

Al
 

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While I never had the pleasure to meet Joel in person (I was hoping to get that chance at Autofair before my plans fell through), I did chat with him several times online. Joel was a great guy who was always willing to help me out when I had a problem and was always good for a laugh.

Joel, you'll be missed and I hope to see you again someday.

R.I.P. Joel

-Ryan Clawson
 

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RIP Joel. NC meets will always be missing that little something from now on. The NC crew is going to miss you.

 

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RIP Joel. I never met you in person but from the times we've talked I've known Joel is a great guy. I'm glad his battle is finally over but I'm sorry to see him go, he will be very much missed.
 

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Joel was by far the best person that I had ever met... He would always make Heather and I laugh when we were at his house when it came to dealing with Joe (our son). His infamous duct tape behavior incentive always cracked me up. The last time I saw Joel I spent half of the weekend under his car...And I will always remember his comment "I would get down there and help, but I might have to use the line 'I've fallen, and can't get back to my chair'."

God bless you Joel and may you rest in peace knowing that you are loved by many.

~Shane
 

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I met Joel 5 years ago when I moved to Charlotte, and he is and always will be one of the best people I have ever met in my life. Joel has helped me so very much and I consider him to be my best friend.

I remember the night that picture was taken I was there with him putting the air suspension on :)

I am happy to know that he is in a much better place and I regret that I wasnt able to see him one last time. I love Joel and Rick as if they are my own flesh and blood. He will be missed by everyone he has every come into contact with in his short 26 years.

I love you man and I will see you soon.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
 

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I met Joel in Atlanta at the Heavyweight shootout. He had just blown up his maf and Airbox on a shot of gas. It was hilarious a monthlater he found out he had cancer. The guy was a hoot. RIP my friend even though our meeting was short he left a hell of a impression. Blow your car up and laugh about it. We can learn a great lesson life is short enjoy it like he did everday. God bless him and his parents.
 

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Although I had only known Joel for a year or so, he left A lasting impression while in chat or while making fun of my love for the Red Sox. Some days no matter how upset I was or how bad of a day we were all having....he was always there to make us laugh by cutting us down. You are a riot Joel and a solid guy, always willing to help, no matter how dumb my questions got....Thanks for everything...


Dave
 

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It is very sad to know that he is gone. I was looking forward to seeing him in a few weeks at the autofair. It is sad that I won't get to see him again. As everyone has already said, he was a blast to hang out with.

Does anyone know details on funeral services or a wake? I think it would be great for as many of us as possible to show up and pay our respects.

Mike
 
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