Joe’s Story

The following memorial was written by Joe’s parents, Richard and Gail Reiff.

JoeThe way some people love sports, music, or science, Joe loved to draw. It wasn’t a choice he made; the need to draw was simply there in him. He didn’t have to search for what he wanted to do in life. He knew from the time he first picked up a pencil and put it to paper that drawing was his bliss. It was something he never tired of.

Joe thrived on the fine points of drawing. It seemed that the more details he could add the more he enjoyed it. He could spend an entire summer learning how to perfect the hand.  The curve and proportion of the thumb and fingers had to be perfect. He could spend months and pour over volumes of books to learn how to draw wrinkles in clothing or shading of shadows.  Features that we never gave a thought to had to be perfect for him. He was a perfectionist, and rarely was he satisfied with any piece that he did.

Over time, Joe blended his passion for art with his interest in cartoons, comics and graphic novels.  As a high school senior his graphic novel, Billy The Kid, was a finalist (in top eight) for the best senior thesis, from over four hundred and fifty Upper Arlington High School seniors.

Joe’s dream job was to work as an illustrator of comic books, graphic novels, and animated features.  One of his greatest assets was his sense of humor. He loved every kind of humor, whether it was subtle or zany and over the top. The works he produced while attending CCAD [Columbus College of Art and Design] and the year after graduation show the progress of his artistic talent and the promising future that lay before him.

Joe died April 2, 2013; almost one year after graduating from CCAD and before he had time to realize his dream.

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If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or behaviors, please seek help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or you can visit a psychiatric hospital’s walk-in clinic, a hospital emergency room, or an urgent care clinic. Whatever it takes, please reach out for help.


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