RHS family mourns loss of student

January 7, 2015

Junior Joseph Manfreda, also known as Ruthless Joe by many, passed away on January 6. Joe was ranked first of  his class, a lifelong Roseville resident, and a phenomenal athlete, according to principal Pete Hedemark. A lot of people had known him, whether it be from cross country, wrestling, track, a classmate, or a friend. Joe is remembered as a kind-hearted person, always caring and supportive.

Joe was brilliant. He was a gentle soul who made everyone feel happy just being in his presence. This is just so hard to comprehend. I would like to send my condolences to all who loved him, in other words, to everyone who knew him”

— math teacher Lori Hodge

Joe was always smiling and making others smile, just by a simple grin he gave in the hallway. To most, it was a powerful thing for them. He made people feel more confident about themselves when he smiled at others, and could brighten your day no matter who you were.

Joe was one of those kids that made everyone around him want to be better. He taught me a lot about hard work, positivity, and the power of a smile. He was truly one of those kids that taught me a lot more than I could ever teach him. He always made my day a little brighter. I will miss him a lot.”

— assistant principal Monica Gabriel

Many knew the distinct deep voice that he had. Joe always picked others back up and supported them whether it was in sports or if they just needed someone to be there, he was there to help. He left an impression on everyone that he came in contact with.

I think the most is his attitude. He had a great way of expressing himself and exploring things. A wonderful all around person, smart, happy, funny, kind, always positive person. A student that made a lasting impression on me and I will never forget him.”

— English teacher Michelle Hayward

Joe also received straight A+’s on his report card for first trimester as well as earned an A+ on every final exam for the trimester. He was a brilliant student, and showed what it really meant to be a student-athlete.

Cross country is something that Joe was passionate about. No matter what, he always ran the extra mile.

“I remember when Joe first joined cross country. He asked me for tips and if we could run together off-season. I have not seen anybody work at something harder than him. I can be honest and say, it was not too long until I started asking Joe for some tips.”

— RHS 2013 graduate Randy Greet

Joe was an important aspect to the team. He tended to beat himself up over a bad race, but the team always pulled him aside, and talked him up, telling him he will do it the next race. He was the one teammate that everyone could depend on, no matter what the circumstances were. He always came to practice.

He is as respectful and coachable as a kid I have ever known. He was a special kid. He was a real responsible kid, really caring, not only to his friends but us adults too.”

— cross country coach Daniel O'Sullivan

Joe was always really determined. He wanted to be the best he could be whether it was running on the track, during a wrestling match, or in the classroom, he wanted to be the best possible person he could be. In other words, he was relentless. That is why “not to yield” a quote from Ulysses suits him so well. He never stopped. It was a motto that he lived by.

From every coach that I have talked to, he is probably one of the hardest workers. He goes above and beyond for everyone.”

— athletic director Major Mickens

Some students and faculty at RHS have only known Joe for a short amount of time. Others have only talked to him for a few minutes in the hallways, and they enjoyed the little conversations that they have had with him.

Here are some other memories of Joe:

Joe was one of my closest friends who I’ve known since elementary school. He was always laughing and smiling, and was a great person to be around. Rest in peace not only to a friend and teammate, but to my brother.”

— junior Richard Campbell

I only knew Joe for a few months, but he is definitely the most amazing person I have ever met.”

— junior Emilie Windelin

He could smile at you in the halls and it’d make your day that much better. That’s powerful.”

— junior Tayler McCullum

At this time over $10,000 have been raised on to go towards Joe’s funeral on gofundme.com. There are also t-shirts that have been made by the marketing class in memory of Joe. All of those proceeds are going towards his funeral as well. To donate go on gofundme.com/jsxhco or buy a t-shirt from The Panther Den.

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  • Linda KatteJan 9, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    May our Lord give Joe’s Family and Friends Peace and Strength as they go threw their journey of grieving knowing that Joe is now in the Arms of our Lord.Gone all to soon ,As a Grandmother of a Roseville student I feel the pain and the heartbreak knowing what they are feeling.not really understanding and having to go threw this at such a young age.Joe will be very missed by his fellow classmates,teachers and the whole community.RIP Peace Joe.Your wings are golden.

  • Alex BarrettJan 9, 2015 at 1:13 am

    I did not know Joe. What I have read of him is extremely positive. Great Student, Great Athlete, Hardest Worker many will ever know. I believe that we fill our hearts with people who touch our lives, and when they die that part of us dies with them. There will forever be holes in the hearts of everyone who knew and loved Joe. What does that mean, that means that you cared for him, felt for him, and loved him. Anytime a teenager dies for any reason the word tragedy is the only fitting word, and even that word cannot due this justice. Remember the him everyday, remember the laughs, remember the tears, remember the fears, and know that he is out there looking down on you and watching over you. You will all get to run with Joe in Heaven one day, until then make the most out of everyday, this is another example that we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Tell the people who mean the most to you that you love them, and never take anything for granted. Run in Peace Joseph.

  • Stephen MooreJan 8, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Joe, you were a great kid. I will really miss you. Although I didn’t know you as well as others, when we did talk you always put a smile on my face. You were so kind. You also really knew the true meaning of “living life to the fullest.” You managed to play multiple sports, work part-time, and still be a great student keeping a 4.3 GPA. You definitely out-worked everyone. You will be deeply missed by the Roseville High School family. Forever in our hearts. Run in paradise, Joseph Manfreda.

  • Linda GeiseJan 8, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    As a retired RHS teacher since 2010, I never had the opportunity to meet Joe. I do go back to the high school frequently to assist and yesterday was one of those days. Hearing many of the comments throughout the day about Joe’s positive attributes made me wish I had known him. Comments from administrators,staff and students described a young man that touched so many lives and made such an impact on everyone who knew him. One person indicated that he seemed to make anyone around him want to be a better person. Others indicated that when first meeting him,they wanted to be his friend. A sub even spoke about how he helped her understand how the advanced math class usually runs and which students would be able to help if she didn’t understand the material . The stories went on an on and each one described such a friendly, compassionate, helpful and wholesome young man. Though I never knew him, I am glad I was able to see him through the eyes and words of others. He made a difference and may his memories help us all to strive to be the best that we are capable of being.

  • Austyn MatlickJan 8, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    I knew him through 4th grade before I moved away and he was my closest friend. We were always hanging out. I’m glad I have pictures of us from when we were little, it was always nice when your best friend lived right around the corner. I’m going to miss him even more then I did before. Run in peace Joey!

  • Kathy JacobsenJan 8, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Prayers go out to Joes Family <3 I was getting goosebumps reading all the tributes to Joe <…REST IN PEACE!!!!

  • Channita jacksonJan 8, 2015 at 11:30 am

    My daughter ran track with Joe he was a great kid. He cheered everyone on at every race. It’s going to be hard not hearing him or seeing him cheer on his teammates. Joe you are truly missed. Rest peacefully. Praying for the family and friends of Joe

  • Kimberly MangovJan 8, 2015 at 9:45 am

    No words will comfort you at this time, as I know this from losing my husband a few months ago. My two sons attend rhs, my youngest in your sons class. Please remember to take care of yourself and your family and talk about joe, always. In my prayers always♡

  • catherine SayleJan 8, 2015 at 9:16 am

    I work in the district as an LRS. My first thought was ‘Oh no, we lost one of ours!’ All Roseville students are our kids.
    I recently lost my husband and the district was incredibly supportive. I pray for faith and peace for all affected by this wonderful young man’s death. I believe God will help you through this. I am so sorry. Catherine S.

  • Catie MlejnekJan 8, 2015 at 8:02 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My prayers are going out for his friends and family. From what I have heard about Joe, he seemed like a wonderful person. He will missed very deeply.

    Rest in Peace.

    Again, prayers are going out to his friends and family.

  • sarahJan 7, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Im sorry for the loss of a good person, may the lord will be with him now. I never met joe but my son Anthony Im who was friends with him, also his teemmate in wrestling, cross country and as well track speaks highly of him. I beleive Joe has toych many lives on this earth but he will be rewarded in heaven.