Joshua Paul Williams, 43 years old, of Chicago, Illinois, formerly of Galien, Michigan, passed away September 1, 2021.
One person may have known him as a bartender, another might have known him as a handyman, or a marathon runner, moto boy, goofball, daredevil, father, son, brother, uncle, friend. Regardless of how you knew him, he left an undeniable impression.
Born in Niles, Michigan on February 15, 1978, Josh’s family moved to a cattle ranch in South Dakota the year he was born and lived there for the next seven years. When the older kids went to school, he loved going with his Dad as he tended to the ranch, often taking his afternoon nap in the back of the tractor cab. The youngest of four, Josh developed his lifelong passion for audacious adventures and athletics, running after his older brothers and sister, going on explorations, and avoiding rattlesnakes.
From Galien High School’s football and track teams, to more than twenty completed marathons, Josh’s running took him across the country and beyond: from Miami, Florida to South Bend, Indiana’s Sunburst, Pike’s Peak in Colorado to Anchorage, Alaska, where Josh finished third place in his age class while running with a fractured bone in his foot.
After learning the basics of bartending from his sister at just 18 years old, Josh was “discovered” behind the bar in Michigan by a Chicago restauranteur, who encouraged him to take his talents to the city. Josh’s impact on his Chicago industry family was, and is, immense. Behind the bar, Josh was a creative and charismatic personality: full of energy, generosity, spit and vinegar, and bizarre knowledge about random subjects. He rarely forgot a face, and could turn strangers into friends in an hour or two.
Josh loved taking, first his nephews, Dylan and Tyler, and later his son, Henry, on excursions around Chicago, and on culinary adventures to some of the city’s most exciting restaurants. He was an adventurous traveler with trips around the country and abroad, travels that often involved touring a distillery, winery, or brewery, or running a race. When at home in Chicago, Josh could usually be found in his garage, restoring vintage motorcycles or working on his jeep.
Josh is survived by his parents, Allen and Wendy (Spears) Williams of Galien, Michigan; his son, Henry Lasko of Charlotte, North Carolina; one sister, Heather (Bob) Williamson of Galien; two brothers, Allen Williams Jr. of South Bend, Indiana and Patrick Williams of Battle Creek, Michigan; three nieces, Patty, Trinity, and Olivia Williams; and three nephews, Dylan and Tyler Williamson and Skylar Williams. He was preceded in death by grandparents, Leland and Mary Williams and Meryl Russell; one aunt, Diana Williams; and one cousin, Randy Lambert.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life for Joshua on Saturday, October 9, 2021 from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. in American Legion Post 344, 402 North Main Street, Galien, Michigan.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Wagner Family Funerals Pobocik Chapel, Three Oaks. Please share a memory or a message online: wagnercares.com.
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