NORTON SHORES, Mich. – Muskegon County Sheriff’s Deputy Detective Joseph Gabriel, 39, was laid to rest Monday after living a life of service. On March 4 Gabriel lost his battle to a rare form of brain cancer, Sporadic Burkitt Lymphoma.
Gabriel served with the Muskegon County Sheriff Department for nearly sixteen years. Beforehand, he was a police officer and firefighter with the Coldwater Department of Public Safety for two years.
His loved ones said Gabriel gave even more to his community as an active parent in the Fruitport Schools, a T-Ball and youth football coach, and as a Boy Scout leader.
“Joe was just a tremendous guy, he was a hard-worker, always willing to put in the extra effort,” said Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler. “Just a wonderful guy, everyone liked him.”
Monday morning at the Lee Chapel of Sytsema Funeral Homes, law enforcement and public service agencies from across the state came to honor Gabriel. Loved ones walked alongside his fellow men and women in blue, beneath an American flag that waived gently; all for a man whose life was cut years too short.
“Joe was an active duty officer and deserves to have his service recognized,” said Roesler.
His colleagues say Gabriel lived his life serving others, just as much as he was a beloved family man.
“He was a great, great family man, just loved his family, his wife and three kids dearly, and he wasn’t afraid to express that,” said Roesler.
His friend and colleague started to raise money for his family when Gabriel underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor. Now the Gabriel Family GoFundMe page is raising college funds for his young daughter and two sons.
“The family needs to know we are all here to support them, that we love Joe, and we know without a doubt they loved Joe,” said Roesler. “He is going to be missed.”
Gabriel is laid to rest at Fruitland Township Cemetery in Whitehall.
To make a donation to Gabriel’s family, you may do so through their GoFundMe page, or the Muskegon Governmental Credit Union, Account 11. To leave an expression of sympathy, please sign the family’s online Guest Book.