Beloved Josef

Our family received devasting news on Tue, Dec 5th. Tracy's son Josef has passed away and left everyone way too early in his young life.  

Many, many prayers and thoughts for strength, love, and peace for Tracy, Zack and the rest of the family. Our hearts are with you at the loss. We love you, and we are here for you.

As always, no family is prepared for something like this to happen either emotionally or financially. If you can find it in your ability to donate to the cost of the funeral and other expenses, it would greatly help the family in their time of grief.

From Tracy:

My beautiful, smart, creative, kind son Josef Malachai Riley, committed suicide last night. I believe it was an impulsive mistake, that once it was put into action, couldn't be taken back. Zack and I pulled our baby down from where he was hanging and I did CPR on him, but I knew he was gone already. I know these are terrible details, but in order for my family to be truly supported, I need you all to hear the circumstances of my baby's death. My Josef hated when I was sad. We talked about everything hard and important and I know that he would never ever want his family to not have him. We are in so much pain right now that it is hard to even know what we need. It is too hard to be asked that question right now. But, I have thought of some things that I know will be immediate concerns for our family:

-A place to live for free until we can bear going back home
-Monetary support for funeral expenses and for family expenses as we don't know when we will be able to work again
-Your presence to listen and hug us. We do not want to be alone
-People who can run errands for us
-Play dates for Rain 
-Keep positive stories of our Jo alive 
-Light a candle and say whatever prayers speak to you to light our son's way and to keep his spirit aflame 
-connection to other parents who have lost children through suicide
-thank you cards and gifts for the first responders at Leland Township Fire Department. They worked relentlessly and for longer than they needed to, to bring my boy back. They held me while I peed myself and stayed with me until I was ready to let go.
-Your attendance at my son's funeral if Josef touched your life in any way.

Please hold our family to the light. Know that this was a terrible mistake and that Jo would rather have been with us here today. There were no red flags.

Please call the Leelanau Children's Center if you need to be put in contact with a person who can help you to give to us in any way that you are able. Zack and I would rather take calls only from people that we know personally at this time.

  • Ian Carlson 
    • $50 
    • 45 mos
  • Alison Ashwell 
    • $500 
    • 45 mos
  • Marsha Brunett 
    • $100 
    • 45 mos
  • Stephen Smedes 
    • $100 
    • 45 mos
  • Monica Carman 
    • $50 
    • 45 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Steve Smedes 
Sausalito, CA
Linda Hepler 
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more