Family of Joe Sheteron honors his legacy 20 years after his death

CASSOPOLIS, Mich. (WNDU) - “He was fun loving. He had an infectious laugh. Just a really good person.”

That is how Joe Sheteron’s mother, Nancy, remembers her son.

Joe Sheteron’s life was just getting started. The 23-year-old was heading into his final year of school with dreams of becoming a teacher while also continuing to work with his true love, baseball, as an assistant coach at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

“He was somebody that nobody could dislike, in a nutshell,” his father Tex Sheteron, said. “He would do whatever he could for whomever he could.”

But Joe’s life was cut tragically short in the early morning hours of Sept. 5, 1999, in a drunk driving accident as a passenger in the car.

In the days after, plans for a memorial in Sheteron’s honor rose.

“Honestly, it was instantaneous,” Nancy said. “I can remember talking about it before we even had a funeral.”

On the ninth hole of the Diamond Lake Golf Course sits a daily reminder of Joe’s infectious spirit.

“He was just such a vital part of this golf course growing up,” general manager Bill Loux said. “We’ve got a lot of young people. But we’ll always keep it going and keep this here. It’s just something special. Like he’s still here with us.”

Joe spent his summer breaks working for the course, always there to lend a helping hand.

“His exterior was just a smile and welcoming, which I think is a really nice trait for anybody,” Joe’s former supervisor Rollie Wells said. “But it covered a lot of integrity and honesty. From my perspective, I never saw less than that in Joe.”

The Sheteron family founded the Joseph Norton Sheteron Memorial Foundation.

“It was our way of keeping his memory alive,” Nancy said. “That’s what we wanted to do. Then, also help other students get a college education.”

The foundation provides a $4,000 scholarship to a Cass County high schooler with strong grades, good citizenship and, most importantly, a love for the game.

“It was shortly after he passed, because of who he was and what he liked doing, that we had to carry on his legacy for him,” Tex said.

The family hosts a golf outing every year to support the foundation.

“Joe was just a great guy, bunch of great young guys there,” Loux said. “The Sheteron family is a wonderful family and have done a lot to help the community. “

Now, 20 years after his death, Joe Sheteron’s family continues to honor their son any chance they get

“Actually, I think he’d be very, very proud,” Nancy said. “I honestly do. I know every year he knows what we go through and how tough it is.”

The Sheteron family has awarded 17 scholarships over the years, totaling nearly $60,000 dollars.

For more information on the Joseph Norton Sheteron Memorial Foundation or if you would like to donate, click here.