Adam Joy remembered for ‘verve and commitment to life’

Adam Joy was remembered by his friends and family at a service in Portland on Friday night.

Joy was struck and killed by a driver while riding in rural Polk County on June 10th. Since his death, I’ve been contact with several members of his extended family. One of them shared the memorial page with me and said it would be OK if I shared his obituary here:

Adam Masaki Joy (September 9, 1967 to June 10, 2023) was fatally struck on his bicycle on a training ride for the STP on a Salem country road on June 10th, 2023. Adam was born in Okinawa, Japan and emigrated with father Alfred Peter Joy and mother Masako Joy to his father ’s home place of Portland, Oregon at five years of age. Adam lived the rest of his life in Portland, graduated from Parkrose High School, graduated in Physics from Reed College (‘89), and graduated with his Master of Arts in Teaching from Lewis and Clark College. Adam had the first degree (Shodan) of the black belt in Aikido and was a faithful student and teacher of Aikido. He recently served as the President of the Okinawan culture society Oregon Uchinanchu Kenjikai. 

Whether dressed as Rasputin, teaching kite design, hunkered down fascinated by the creatures in an Oregon coast tide pool, gazing at constellations through a telescope, or over bubbling test tubes, Adam lived a life of extraordinary learning and service. He served as a Science Explorer at OMSI and taught at the the Alberta Science for Kids Program, in the Portland Public Schools TAG program, and at Pegasus Summer Programs at UC Irvine for gifted youth. At OMSI, Adam was in the Science Theater department as one of its best, most enthusiastic Science Demonstrators, especially the physics demos. He also really enjoyed special events like the Renaissance Faire where we would juggle with other Demonstrators. After earning his MA in Teaching, Adam taught mathematics and science to public middle school students at Vancouver Discovery Middle School and then public school (grades 6-12) science and math at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. Adam was honored to receive many grants and special funding for advanced study in research in math and science education, including geology, biology, and STEM. He also co-authored book chapters and conference presentations about innovative, experiential, arts-infused, and multicultural STEM education. 

There are thousands of Pacific Northwest students who will remember “Mr. Joy, Mr. Joy”’s sense of humor, passion for learning and teaching, and commitment to the beauty and regenerative promise of the natural world. When not working, Adam spent his time growing tomatoes organically in a permaculture haven with friendly chickens and a wide hammock. Adam was a daily bicycle commuter and a committed environmental conservationist who poured love into his sons, family, and community and lived a vibrant, vital life. A true creative and liberal arts Reedie, Adam loved music and played the violin, and he loved to juggle while on a unicycle. Adam had a verve and commitment to life that will be deeply missed. May we all carry his memory forward in our own lives, contributions, and good thoughts and deeds. 

A memorial for Adam Joy on the road where he died. (Photo: Sent in by a reader)

Adam follows his sister Maria Masami Joy, father Alfred Peter Joy, and Grandma Marcella Joy, and is survived by his two sons, Nao (15) and Ryuu (20), the boys’ mother, Narumi Joy, and Adam’s mother, Masako Joy. Adam is survived by uncles Chester, David, and Jason Joy, Aunt Marcie (Marcella) Joy Boroughs, and cousin Karen Joy Warton, along with the extended Petri-Joy Clan of the Pacific Northwest. Adam is also survived by close friends including landmates Marna Hauk and David Copeland, and companion Megan Person. Adam is also survived by beloved OMSI alumni colleagues, including Greg Dardis, Jake Elsas, and Matt Miller, and many more, and Reed alumni colleagues, Discovery Middle School students and colleagues, and the entire faculty and student body of the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. 

Donations can be made in honor of Adam Joy to Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Bike Clark County


Joy’s family has retained a lawyer and the investigation into the crash is ongoing. Stay tuned for updates.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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maxD
maxD
7 months ago

This is a beautiful tribute and a tragic reminder of the violence caused by driving. I am so sorry for family and community’s loss.

quicklywilliam
7 months ago

Heartbreaking. Wish I could have known him, he sounds like a beautiful person.

Randi J
Randi J
7 months ago

Sounds like a wonderful man. Condolences to his family. It’s tragic we lose so many in Portland to traffic violence.

mark
mark
7 months ago

Thank you for sharing this. Our world is a better place for having had him in it.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor

This is so sad, what a wonderful person. I’m glad that his obituary included all the friends and colleagues he left behind. What a big life he led.

J1mb0
J1mb0
7 months ago

It is so messed up. I didn’t know him, but he seemed like a wonderful guy. I hope we can move past our addiction to cars and this never happens again.

bArbaroo
bArbaroo
7 months ago

Adam is also fondly remembered by his friends and coworkers from his time working at Bike Gallery in the 1990s. Adam is remembered for working hard -always with a smile on his face, and being exceptionally fun to work with. He helped many customers buy bikes, learn more about bikes, and discover the joy of cycling. His impact on that community was far greater than the short time he worked there.

NJ
NJ
7 months ago
Reply to  bArbaroo

Thank you for sharing the story. Adam loved going to Bike Gallery, and every time he went there, he was greeted by his former coworkers.

Megan
Megan
7 months ago
Reply to  bArbaroo

Adam remembered his co-workers from Bike Gallery fondly too! Thank you for sharing.

Marci
Marci
6 months ago

I am glad to hear the family retained a lawyer. The driver was not forthright in his statement and witness teatimony disputes his story. I am hoping for Adams family there is a further investigation regarding the incident for some accountability.