I never thought I would be writing an obituary for one of my children. But here I am, trying to honor my son with my words. 

Joshua (Josh) Michael Soza, born May 4, 1987, passed away on June 24, 2019 at the age of 32. He was raised in Fortuna, California until 2016 when he moved to Ohio. He was making final preparations to move back to Humboldt when he unexpectedly passed away. 

Josh was a friendly, funny guy who loved nothing more than his family, music and his friends. Even during the most difficult and painful times in his life his concerns were never on himself, but on encouraging and building others up, whether it was through music, phone calls, texts or messages. He loved to love people and everyone he met quickly became his friend.

Josh had such an impact on people that, as the news of his passing spread, his family and friends began to express their sadness and their love for him through social media, to the point that Facebook stated that “Josh Soza” was trending. Some people posted pictures of themselves with Josh, some posted screenshots of encouraging messages they’d received from him, some posted links to music Josh had previously sent to them that he thought they’d enjoy. The outpouring of love was a testament to what a beautiful person Josh was. He had a way of making people feel needed and understood. In a small way, we are who we are because he made our world a better place. This is his profound legacy. To be kind, to listen and encourage, and lift others up at all times, in any situation. 

Ashley, Grant and I (mom) would like to thank all the incredible people who enriched Josh’s life in the, all too short, 32 years he had on this earth with us. We also want to thank all the wonderful family and friends who helped care for us during this devastating time. A million thanks would never be enough.

Preceded in death were his grandparents, Wendal and Theresa Evans, Les and Gloria Martin and Jim Mankinen, step-dad Richard (Rick) Martin, uncle Robin Evans (and his daughter Rachel Evans), aunts Michelle Rene Soza, Ilene Collins and Kelly Mankinen, and several other friends and family members.

He is survived by his dad Christopher Soza, mom Katie Kennard (husband David), sister Ashley Soza, brother Grant Martin, grandpa Frank Soza, aunts Dee Soza (wife Jennifer), Krista Cummings (husband Sean), Marilyn Gerth and Sheila Bethel (husband Scott), uncles Raymond Collins, Brian Collins, Merritt Evans (wife Frances) and Charlie Evans (wife Jennifer), grandma and grandpa Alyce and Charlie Pacheco and many cousins, nieces and nephews as well as other extended family.

There will be a Celebration of Light and Love for Josh at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 17, at 5299 Mill St. Fortuna. Please come together with us to share in the amazing person that Josh was. Dress for a casual outdoor lunch and celebration. Note: if you have a favorite picture or message from Josh, please print it and bring it to share on his memory wall. 

The family is having a bench made in honor and memory of Josh which will be located at the new skate park in Fortuna. In lieu of flowers you can donate to the bench fund at the celebration.

From Josh’s Facebook profile: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes, not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

# # #

The obituary above was submitted by Josh’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.