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Joe Crites, 67, passed away April 5 while attempting to rescue the family dog from the Olentangy River. Joe was a 1969 graduate of Bishop Watterson High School.
Joe is the son of Charles and Jean Crites. He is survived by mother Jean, wife Carole (Chirico), daughter Keely, son Kenny, sister Julee (Al Hohler) brothers David (Kay), John (Jenny), Donny, and Andy (Wendy). Nieces and nephews Emily,Crystal, Brad, Ben,Tony, Chris, and Kyle, and those he shared a special bond with, Mandy, Lindsey, Ana and Sam. And of course, his beloved dog, Brookie.
Joe's life consisted of giving time for everything from coaching football, baseball and softball to caring for both parents in their time of need. He loved the Buckeyes and was looking forward to watching the Masters this weekend.
Joe's greatest love is being outdoors. He was an avid outdoorsman and spent much of the last several years in the woods on his property in Morgan County. He was always with his two best friends, our son Kenny and our chocolate lab, Brookie, whom he gave his life to save.
Even though we have been married over 37 years, I have learned so many things in the past few days of just how much he impacted those around him. He taught Kenny and his friends how to change the oil in their cars, he taught our daughter Keely how to fish and search for morel mushrooms, he taught our nephew how to tie his shoes, he taught our nieces how to cook his special dishes, and many more acts of love. These are things they will never forget and things Joe did without looking for praise or thanks. He did them just because he was Joe.
His love for the outdoors has been passed down to our son, Kenny. Although he will not have his dad to walk the fields with, we know Joe's spirit will always be by his side.
Our daughter, Keely, will miss her times fishing on Lake Erie and the Ottawa River with her dad. She will cherish the memories of their time together. If the fish weren't biting Keely would sing her "fishy song" and often times it would change their luck.
The outpouring of love from friends and family (especially my sister Gail and cousin Rosie) has been overwhelming. We know this will be tough for awhile, but with our family and friends we will get through this.
Because Joe's story of courage has touched so many people we don't even know, we are now encouraged to stay strong and follow his example. He is a hero in our eyes.
Although I will never be able to thank everyone personally, please know you have my sincere gratitude forever. I would also like to thank Jackie from Channel 6 for taking the time to share the story of Joe's ultimate selfless act.
God bless you all, and on occasion think of Joe who is now in the greatest forest of all.
Friends may call 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, April 10th at Egan-Ryan Funeral Home Northwest Chapel 4661 Kenny Road. A Funeral Mass will be held 10:30 a.m. Wednesday April 11th at St. Andrew Church 1899 McCoy Road. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Joe's GoFundMe page at gf.me/u/hvqk5p or your favorite animal organization.