Joe Riley, the bass player from the band Runway 36 passed away at age 34 on December 7th 2016 due complications from an autoimmune disorder. He had earned the nickname Safety Joe after purchasing a French tank helmet from an Army Surplus store and cautioned his band mates before crossing the road whilst wearing it. He proceeded to wear it at ever show from then on out.
Joe did not conform to many of society's ways. The man could grow an amazing beard but chose to shave it off as soon as it became fashionable. With his extensive schooling in instrument design, he would build and mod wacky guitars and basses such as a "Flying P" or a lap steel themed with Vikings colors as a gift for his Father.
It’s difficult to summarize why Joe was so special to those who haven’t known him for years. He was the treasure you might walk by every day and not notice was there all along. He was the unexpected heartfelt comment, but only if you had the time to listen. He was the obscure idea that reminded you that being childlike is a good thing. He was the healthy conviction that came from seeing someone so self-aware and humble enough to admit where he needed to improve. He was the guy who put flowers in your car while you were proposing to your wife. He was so many things, in so many small ways that will each forever remind us of him.