Joel, affectionately called "Joey" by his parents James T. and Lizzie L. Cartwright [who preceded him in death], was born on May 1, 1968, in Madisonville, Kentucky. He was a welcomed blessing and adored by his parents.
Joel grew up in Michigan City, Indiana. He was guided into Christian fellowship by his loving parents, becoming a member of Bethel AME Church where he served on the Usher Board and taught Sunday School for many years.
During his adolescence, Joel participated in various activities including joining Little League during the summer months and bowling. Joel was an adventurer at heart and spent many summer days riding his bicycle throughout the city with his childhood and life-long friends Jesse Jameson (Michigan City, Indiana) and Anthony Brewer (Atlanta, Georgia). Joel was also an avid comic book reader, and the highlight of Saturday afternoons was to ride his bike, in the company of his friends, to Marquette Mall. Joel spent many hours at Hallmark Book Store reading the latest issues of his favorite comics; he would eventually become a collector of all the things he loved, spending countless hours cataloging his treasures.
Once satisfied with their purchases, he and his friends would make their rounds to their favorite restaurant, Taco Bell, as they laughed and conversed about what entertainment they would find for themselves later that evening. Joel enjoyed dancing, imitating the dance moves of one his favorite groups, New Edition, earning the nickname of "The Professor" with his friends.
Joel also enjoyed sketching as a child and watching Star Trek, his favorite being the original series franchise.
Joel attended Rogers High School, graduating in 1986. While a student there, he was well-liked among classmates and peers, and even participated in band playing the alto saxophone.
Following his high school graduation, Joel determined to move out on his own and begin his next adventure. He followed in the footsteps of his father James, attending Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, graduating with a BS Degree in Marketing. While there, he again followed in the footsteps of his father and became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated in the Spring of 1992. Joel was proud of this accomplishment, becoming more aware of the social, economic and political issues within the African American community.
After graduating from Wilberforce University, Joel chose a career path in the transportation industry and moved to South Bend, Indiana. He married his college girlfriend, and from that union were born his sons, Joshua "Cat Daddy" and Jordon "Curly" Cartwright both affectionately called "Big and Little Shugga" respectively. Joel adored his sons. He demonstrated his love by attending school field trips, preparing Valentine's Day gift bags for them and their classmates, and he even assisted in hosting class parties of which he had custom cakes made of Josh and Jordon's favorite television shows and characters. Joel passed along his love of comic books to his children, spending myriad hours at various comic bookstores on Saturday afternoons.
Joel also loved The Beatles; he purchased The Beatles Rock Band Wii Drum Set which the family would perform their rendition of various Beatle's classics with "Here Comes the Sun" being the favorite. His all-time favorite artist was Michael Jackson; every song and word he knew. Many days Joshua would perform "I Want you Back" by the Jackson 5 with Jordon often attempting to join in even though he was still in the early stages of walking. Joel excitedly videotaped every performance. These were fun times, and moments that will never be forgotten.
Joel also enjoyed cooking, creating new dishes that he would serve to his family. He realized that desserts were his specialty and served his delicacies with great pleasure.
On April 21, 2023, Joel Tinsel Cartwright, at age 54, completed his life's journey while living in Evansville, Indiana. Joel is survived by his sons Joshua Cartwright (Houston, Texas) and Jordon Cartwright (Solon, Ohio) whom he had with his ex-wife Rhonda Tolbert-Cartwright ; his special friend & devoted companion, Stephanie Williams (Fort Wayne, Indiana), who was by his side at the time of his death; his maternal aunts Velma (Larry) Spain (Louisville, Kentucky) and Rose Drone (Hopkinsville, Kentucky); a host of family from Drakesboro, Hopkinsville and Louisville, Kentucky and friends who will cherish the laughter and memories of his infectious personality.
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