Joey Leininger


Joseph "Joey" Leininger

May 6, 2002 - July 17, 2017


Joseph “Joey” Leininger, 15, ended his earthly journey on July 17, 2017, at home, from his battle with Fibrolameller Hepatocellular Carcinoma, a rare liver cancer. 

Joey was born in Wooster, Ohio on May 6, 2002 to Steve and Mary Leininger of Sterling, Ohio.   Joey is survived by his parents, brother Zachariah, Grandparents Don and Emma Carol Ellis, Bob Leininger, Verna Leininger, Great Grandmother Maggie Gambill, 11 Aunts and Uncles, and many, many great relatives and cousins.  Joey will also be sadly missed by his beloved dogs: Lily, Rosco, and King.   

Joey was a 9thgrade student at Norwayne High School in Creston.  He enjoyed playing football and basketball.   His favorite professional teams included all Cleveland teams, the CAVS, Indians, and Browns.  Joey loved going to games!  His shining moment came in April of 2016 when Joey received a jersey from his favorite player, Lebron James. 

Joey was also a huge fan of bullriding.  Joey became hooked at the age of 2 when he watched his first bullriding event at Buckin Ohio in Burbank.  Since then he attended numerous PBR and Buckin Ohio events.  Traveling to Las Vegas in November for the PBR finals was a dream come true for Joey.  He was able to meet many of the world’s top bullriders, walk the blue carpet, and get a hug from Steven Tyler!    

Joey was also a huge fan of The Walking Dead TV show.  In August of 2016 Joey and family got to tour a Walking Dead set where he was able to watch part of an episode being filmed, eat lunch with some key actors and actresses, and handle original props.  He never missed an episode. 

With the help of family, friends, and a big hearted community, Joey was able to complete many items on his bucket list in the 16 months since he had been diagnosed.  Some of these included:  floor seats to a Cavs game, a beach vacation with his squad, skydiving, bull riding, riding 4 wheeler, going to amusement parks, touring haunted houses, camping, throwing the first pitch at an Indians game, meeting famous people, going to various zoos, two days at Kalahari, and a customized golf cart.  Joey’s family would like to extend a sincere, heartfelt “Thank You” to everyone who supported us during Joey’s journey.

Joey’s wish was that his body be donated to science in the hopes of helping other children with cancer. A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, July 22, at Norwayne Middle School gymnasium.  It will begin with an Open House from 2:00 – 4:30 p.m. and a Celebration Ceremony at 5:00 p.m.   In lieu of flowers the family will accept donations to Joey Leininger, which will be donated in his name to Fibrolameller Cancer Research.   

To leave an expression of sympathy for the family, please send through the Message Board on the left.  

Name: Melissa Arko

Mary and family,
My heart goes out to everyone in your family. I have kept up and read every post sending many prayers your way. Joey has been such an inspiration. What an amazing kiddo! Sending you lots of hugs, love and prayers.



Name: Don Powers

May God keep a hedge of compassion around the family in this time of sorrow... 


Name: Trevor and Angel Yost

We would like to express our deepest sympathy for your loss. Your family will be in our prayers.
With love,
The Yost Family 


Name: Michelle Yankello

My heart goes out to the entire family. Joey was such an inspiration to many. 


Name: Hazel Grier

Never got to meet this very brave young man I followed everything he did and all the updates. Prayers sent to joey' s family RIP Joey you fought so hard 


Name: Heather Armstrong

 To the Leininger Family,
I am so sorry for your loss. I had learned of Joey's story through my coworker, Andrea Crayden, as her girls are friends of Joey. I cannot express the number of prayers that were said by me and my family for all of you. Joey sounds like he was an amazing young man who was admired and loved by all who knew him.

Heather Armstrong


Name: craig emch

 I am so sorry for your loss


Name: Scribben family

Sean and I are so sorry to hear of your loss. What a wonderful, generous, selfless young man you raised! Although we never met him, we know he was greatly loved and made the world a much better place while he was with us.
Our prayers to you and your family in all the days ahead. Hoping your good memories sustain you.

Cheryl Scribben 


Name: Wendy Batdorg

Mary, So sorry for your loss.  Praying for you and your family at this difficult time.
Wendy Batdorf 


Name: Deb & Fred Wiles

Our heartfelt sympathy and prayers go out to all of you.
Our community lost a wonderful & beautiful young man who put up a great fight against cancer with poise and always a smile. Joey was a great example of courage and strength for everyone, he will shine in heaven as he did on earth with God's loving arms around him!
Fred & Deb Wiles Family 


Name: Betty Babbs

Dear Mary and Family, may your memories of Joey and the love of your family surround you and give you strength and peace in the days ahead.
All my love, Betty Babbs 


Name: Kristen Quallich

I would like to express my deepest sympathy for your loss. Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers. Joey was an excellent, fun student with the best sense of humor!
-Kristen Quallich-
Norwayne Phys. Ed. Teacher 


Name: The Miles Family

We want to express our deepest condolences to you all!! He sure did touch alot of hearts! Know your all in our thought and prayers always! Love, The Miles, Donnie,Carla, Daniel and Kendra


Name: Rita Flinn

Dear Mary & Family, My heart is aching for you in this time of incredible sadness, but my hope is that you will feel God's love and support through the many friends & community family who have kept up with Joey's Journey. His story is an amazing one to say the least. I thank God that you were able to do so many wonderful things in his last months of life here on earth. May God keep you in His loving care as you adjust to Joey's NEW Journey in Heaven.
Hugs & Prayers
The Flinn's


Name: Mark Kyner

 It was a pleasure to get to meet and ride with Joey.
My deepest Sympathy to family and friends.


Name: Vanessa Brooks and Family

My dear Cousin and family, I am so sorry for the loss of your loving son. My family would like to give you our deepest sympathy in this sorrowful time. Joey is now with Jesus and all our family members who are in Heaven .
The Brooks Family



Name: Teresa She's Blackwell

 It is never easy to say goodbye to our loved one. I have followed the story of Joey since it became local news and I am so sorry to hear of his passing. But it sounds like he gave a good fight and had a wonderful last 16 months of doing the things that he loved and wanted to do.
My heart and prayers go out to his family and friends. I never met this young gentleman but it sounds like he was a wonderful child of God. May he rest in peace and God comfort those left behind.
Teresa and James Blackwell



Name: Ruby LeeMasters

 I'm so very sorry for the loss of this young man. God definitely got another angel when he took him home. Our thoughts and prayers will be with your family during this time of heartache . May God lay his hands on each of you  for you all to have some comfort and peace in knowing he is no longer in pain. And to give you the strength to keep going . Amen 



Name: Desaray

So sorry for your lost. I remember seeing pictures in his moms classroom when I was in her 4th grade class. Prayers are being sent to the whole family 


Name: Allison bocook

Dear Mrs. Leininger, I am very sorry to hear about your loss. Joey was a great friend of mine and could always find a way to make me laugh with his great sense of humor. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard this time must be for the whole family. Although life may not be the same without him, his unique personality absolutely left a mark on all who had the privilege to know him. Thoughts and prayers are with you. Always remember.

Love Allison Bocook


Name: Carmen, Ben, Faith, & Justin

Our hearts go out to you at this sad time. We followed Joey's journey and we enjoyed celebrating the good parts along with you. Joey was such a bright light amidst tragedy. His light will shine always.


Name: Susan & Gary Murray

You have our sincere sympathy in the loss of Joey.  Our prayers Gary & Susan Murray


Name: Tracy Joyner

My heart goes out to you Mary and your entire family. I am glad I got to see Joey at the reunion as the entire family is too I'm sure. I can not imagine going through the things your family has over this past year and a half but I know you all have brought me to tears more than once watching Your Family battle cancer and make the best out of every single day with Joey. Your family is an inspiration to us all. Joey will be deeply missed and never forgotten,  he has left a big impact on our community and our family with his bravery willingness and the ability to get through anything . Love you all


Name: Becky Wright

 So sorry for your loss. Joey's brave donation to science could help many others. What a brave young man he was. Please accept my heartfelt prayers are with you. 



Name: The Troup family

 We are so sorry for your loss.  You are in our thoughts and prayers.  God bless.  Love, Jeff, April, Nathaniel and Matthew Troup 



Name: Elizabeth Pippin

Sending my prayers and deepest condolences to you and the ohana! I know he will be flying high watching over his brother! We all will miss the smart young man that Joey was growing into! R.I.L Joey 



Name: Lloyd,Cindy Eshler

Our deepest sympathy in the loss of your loved one. May God grace comfort the family.

Name: Lloyd,Cindy Eshler

Deceased Name: Joey Leininger
Email message:: Our deepest sympathy in the loss of your loved one. May God grace comfort the family.
 Name: Lloyd,Cindy Eshler

Deceased Name: Joey Leininger
Email message:: Our deepest sympathy in the loss of your loved one. May God grace comfort the family.

Name: The Robinson Family

Steve & Mary,

We were saddened to hear of the loss of your beloved Joey. We would like to extend our condolences and prayers to you and your entire family. 


David, Lisa & Joshua 



Name: Janet Lee

To All in the Leininger family, Grandparents Don & Carol Ellis, 

Even though I had never met Joey personally, I give you all my deepest sympathies for your loss.  I am glad to know that he had lived his life to the fullest and he was a very brave young man.

Prayers for all of you in the family and friends.

Janet Lee 











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