The Blog

The Passing of Joe Bell

i Oct 11th 13 Comments by

Dear Friends and Supporters,

wpid-IMG_20130822_132122_739.jpgIt is with great sadness that we share the unfortunate news of Joe Bell’s untimely passing. Joe was hit and killed by a semi-tractor while walking eastbound on the shoulder of Highway 40 about 20 miles northwest of Kit Carson, Colorado. The collision happened around 5:10pm on October 9, 2013 during Joe’s nationwide walk from his hometown in La Grande, Oregon to New York City.

Joe was hit in a rural area of Cheyenne County while on his walk from Denver to Wichita, Kansas and was pronounced dead at the scene. He is survived by his wife, Lola, and by three other children; Amber Lynn, Dustin and Joseph. The 49-year-old semi driver was uninjured. Colorado State Patrol says the driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel. He has been cited with careless driving resulting in death.

Joe’s Walk for Change, Joe’s family, and the organizations that supported him have come together to release this statement: “Joe’s purpose was clear from the moment he left his hometown on foot. He repeatedly said if he could help even one child, it would be worth it. He had a strong message and was making a global impact. We will remember him, his son Jadin, and the equality, anti-bullying and suicide prevention causes that were so dear to him. Please help us continue his fight by supporting, a non-profit set up in memory of Joe’s son.” and will continue to provide updates and will remain as a memorial for this incredible man and his journey. Memorial donations to help Joe’s family can be made here or at

Joe’s walk and his message were recently recognized in O, The Oprah Magazine as part of Oprah’s 2013 “50 Things That Will Make You Say ‘WOW!’” Listed18th, under the title, “One Step at a Time,” his cause was clearly gaining momentum.

In addition, several people have already contacted Joe’s Walk for Change about taking on segments and continuing Joe’s walk in his honor. Details will be posted as they become available. (Find Out More)

Joe walked from Oregon through Idaho, Utah and Colorado. Most recently he was in the Denver area where he spent several weeks speaking to various schools, groups and organizations and spreading his message of hope and change.

Joe’s immediate family is asking for privacy at this difficult time. Thank you for your continued support. As Joe signed one of his last e-mails…

“Yours for the Change, Joe”.

(Official Press Release)


  1. Arthur Luciano
    October 12, 2013 at 12:17 am

    God has other plans for Joe. It seems that Joe’s strong heart is needed more in heaven than on Earth. Thanks for the inspiration Joe.

  2. Robert Gertz
    October 12, 2013 at 1:09 am

    Best wishes and condolences to the family at this hard time. He is honored and will be missed.

  3. Berni
    October 12, 2013 at 5:00 am

    I pray that God will be with his family and strengthen them at this time.

  4. Freedom Observer
    October 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    RIP Joe Bell.
    RIP Jadin Bell.
    Condolences to their friends and family.
    “The Freedom Of Speech Observer” has dedicated the entire cover page, poster and the story to the Bell family, in memoriam to Joe & Jadin Bell.
    Intention with running the entire side about the late Joe & Jadin Bell is purposed to raise Global awareness about the tragedy of Homophobia.
    The Bell family is not alone, and the whole LGBT World and Straight Allies are supporting you in these difficult moments.
    Be Strong.
    The legacy of Joe and Jadin Bell will always be remembered.
    Best Wishes.

  5. becca
    October 12, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    I am very honored to have been able to take Joe to his first drag show may he rest in peace I am sorry to his family he was a great man

  6. Leonard
    October 13, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I am deeply saddened to see this news.
    My thoughts & prayers go out to his family.
    Joe made a huge impact not only on all of the lives he touched during his journey but also on many millions of people he now will never meet. I know in my heart that Joe’s message of hope wasn’t punctuated with his was tragic death.
    This message now is amplified to the world, resounding and resonating throughout the universe.
    Godspeed to end teen suicide!

  7. Greg
    October 16, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I am weeping. I hope his family will take a little comfort in knowing that others share their grief.

  8. P.E. Thomas
    October 16, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Joe’s effort to honor his son while helping educate others is truly heroic. He must have been a remarkable man. Thoughts are with the Bell family in this difficult time.

  9. Jay Churnetski
    October 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    If I could have one parent that was as loving and supportive of me as a gay man as mr bell was of his gay son I would be a very happy man. I am sure mr bell’s son jadin knew what a huge man his father was the problem is there are not enough joe bells in this cruel world!!! Rip jadin and joe heaven must be a much better place now with both of you in it!!!!

  10. Dakota
    October 17, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    If this isnt a sign that Jadin needed him, I dont know what is

    • Patty
      December 29, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      Remember the saying sticks and stones can’t break your bones? (Bullying!!! ) I want folks to understand the damage words can do. As a result of bullying this young man, 2 lives are gone forever….

  11. Trudy
    December 15, 2013 at 12:49 am

    As the mother of a gay son, that I love with every fiber of my body, I am so sorry to hear about this accident. What a wonderful tribute Joe Bell gave his son.

  12. Dottie
    December 15, 2013 at 2:32 am

    My heart goes out to his family. Now there are two empty chairs at the dinner table. Jadin was lucky to have a father with such deep love for his son. There are not too many fathers like Joe. Now they are together with our Lord. I’m sure He has given both of them a very special place.


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