John E. (Josh) Rayshell passed away April 8, 2013, after a brave battle with cancer.
Josh was born Nov. 12, 1968, in Greenville, Texas. He lived in Dallas for the last 29 years.
Josh is survived by his partner of 12 years, Glenn Jaspers, and his loyal dog, Shadow, whom he rescued from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Josh was a most noble soul, who faced the adversities of life with courage and dignity.
Although diagnosed with AIDS in 1984, and several times disabled by the disease, he was a fearless soldier in the ongoing struggle against it.
Josh regularly volunteered and was a welcome visitor at area nursing homes and AIDS hospices, where he cooked, cleaned, read and wrote letters for those who had lost the ability to do so on their own.
Josh assisted in numerous AIDS-related causes, bringing comfort to the sick and suffering, and companionship to the lonely.
He had great compassion for people, especially the elderly, with whom he was particularly gifted.
His gentle understanding, attentive listening and helpful actions made him a favorite of senior citizens everywhere.
Josh was also outgoing, fun-loving, gregarious and personable.
From 2002 till 2012, Josh participated as a volunteer in the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s light rail expansion. At rail station openings he handed out brochures, answered questions, and worked side-by-side DART employees to inform and educate the public about the benefits of mass transit.
Josh was a familiar face at DART’s headquarters, too, where for several years he personally made and delivered Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinners to night duty and security staff who had to work during those holidays. He never met a stranger and was blessed with a magnetic personality and penetrating steel-blue eyes.
Despite grave risk, Josh pursued treatment of his disease without fear. He was at peace and ready when the Lord called him home.
He is survived by his mother and stepfather, Brenda and Tony Willaby; his grandmother, Kathryn Gable; his sister, Kathy Rayshell; his aunt, Debbie Gable; and his faithful Labrador rescued from Katrina, Shadow Rayshell.
A service will be at 3 p.m. April 14 at Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 12, 2013.