Joshua Johnathan Merideth passed peacefully Saturday morning, June 6th after a courageous battle with cancer, at the age of 44.
We will always miss his infectious smile and bright blue eyes.
Josh was born March 25th 1976, in Livingston, Montana, the third child of Kenneth and Diana Merideth. Within the first month of life, Josh was blessed to move into a neighborhood which consisted of great-grandparents and grandparents and would remain in the neighborhood for the first 30 years of his life. He was surrounded by the love of his family until the end.
Josh attended St. Mary’s Catholic School from Kindergarten until 8th grade, and his children are proudly the 4th generation to attend this institution. He graduated from Park High School and with his natural mechanical skills he continued working side by side with his father full-time as a diesel mechanic.
Josh learned how to fix cars at an early age; he was just 11 years old when he changed the engine of a GMC Jimmy with his father’s guidance. Ken’s mentoring would develop into a proud partnership at Ken’s Equipment Repair. Josh was always looking for ways to improve his craft and a few years ago added towing to the business. He was proud to earn his CDL, certify as Wreck Master 1 through 7, and receive numerous brake and drive train certificates, as well as mastering computer diagnostics. A recent highlight of the towing business was a chance encounter with Jamie Davis Towing Company, the stars of Highway Through Hell. It was an honor for Josh, his dad, and Jacob to meet these men when they came to pick up a joint tow.
Being a mechanic was never a job for Josh, it was who he was. He enjoyed working with his hands and putting his skills to the test. Josh was loved and respected by all. He always took the time to answer anyone’s questions and explain their mechanical problems. Everyone who came in contact with him knew they were in good hands. His pride in a job well done and his passion for hands-on work have been passed onto his son Jacob, who plans to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Josh started riding motorcycles at age 4 with his brother Jason. They spent hours taking turns riding laps around their house on motorcycles and snowmobiles. When he was 17, Josh was able to purchase a Harley Davidson Sportster 1200. He was very proud of this purchase and that year was his first trip to Sturgis. From then on, he would be seen riding any time of year. His motorcycle adventures include the yearly trip to Sturgis, belonging to the Christian Motorcycle Association, and participating in motorcycle poker runs and fun competitions, like the Steel Horse Stampede. Josh also survived a gnarly wreck which resulted in a shattered shoulder blade, broken collarbone and ribs.
In June 2010, Josh participated in the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge. He drove his Harley over 8500 miles of open road from Key West, Florida to Homer, Alaska. He crossed the finish line on July 2nd, 114th out of 500 riders, with many of his family members cheering him on and anxiously awaiting his arrival. The ride was a test of his physical, mental, and emotional endurance and strength. Josh’s many stories of his adventure included sleeping under the stars, stopping at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and having dinner with Chief Red Cloud. Because Josh could never turn away from someone in need, he stopped multiple times to help other competitors along the way, even though this was a race.
While Josh considered every Harley a treasure, none was more precious to him than his Electro-Glide Classic with attached side car. One of his favorite things to do was to take his children for rides in the side car anywhere the road would take them. The vision of Josh, Jacob, and Grace on that motorcycle became a Livingston icon and they were often featured in photographs in the Livingston Enterprise. He wanted to continue to nurture their love for motorcycles so last Christmas he bought Jacob a motorcycle and Grace a 4-wheeler.
From a very young age Josh was taught the true meaning of family. Family traditions of Christmas Eve at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s, vacations to Washington, picnics, camping trips, and being there for each other through all of life’s ups and downs were very important to Josh. He carried on these traditions and instilled in his children the importance of continuing to carry them on to future generations.
A beloved childhood memory of Josh’s was spending many summers at Grandpa John’s cabin in Dry Creek. It was the one place he could enjoy the outdoors wholeheartedly because he never had troubles with his asthma there. In honor of these memories and to ensure his children and future generations have a place to gather, be close to God and nature, and form lasting memories, Josh purchased land at the top of Dry Creek and built a yurt there.
Family brought on a whole new meaning when Josh was blessed with his children. Jacob Samuel was born on December 28, 2010 and Grace Rose was born on May 28, 2014. He was so proud to be a father and would do anything for them. They were the center of his universe, and he loved experiencing and enjoying everything with them. Jacob attended many classes with his dad and even received his own tow and brake certificates! Grace was evenly interested in everything her dad did, but always with a bit of sparkle. Josh embraced his princess wholeheartedly and would proudly add glitter or bows to anything her heart desired. Grace loved it when he braided her hair!
Josh was very close to Nikki and Jason; they were a tight-knit group. Nikki always took care of her brothers, which often included cooking Swiss Steak(?!), much to her dismay. Josh relied on Nikki immensely, calling her often for advice about life, love, his children, and the business. Josh and Jason spent countless hours adventuring, racing, rock climbing, ice climbing, camping, etc. Josh was a source of wisdom, strength, and unity for his siblings. Their time together will be treasured and Josh’s presence in their day-to-day lives will be greatly missed.
Josh was an expert skater and played hockey on a league in Bozeman for many years. He taught Jacob and Grace to skate and they loved the outings to the rink. They went with Grandma Diana and Papa Ken on numerous occasions to watch his games and cheer for him. Josh reveled in the camaraderie and competition of the sport, so much so that he was still playing last fall while undergoing his second round of chemotherapy.
Josh was an integral part in coordinating family gatherings. The highlight of the year has now become the summer family camping trip, which we named “Christmas in July.” The first year 75 family members arrived at Canyon Ferry Lake for 4 days of fun, laughter, prayer, and love. Josh took on the role of master breakfast chef; he had big shoes to fill and let us tell you, he took charge! The image of Josh cooking on a cast iron heirloom skillet made by Grandpa John Parisi, and the smell of sautéed onions, brought back many childhood memories of his relatives.
After a short courtship, Josh married Carol, March 28, 2020. Carol oversaw his care during his final battle with cancer.
Josh came into this world sooner than expected and departed this earth way too early. He left us as the lightning struck and the thunder rolled, on his final ride to heaven.
Josh's deep faith was always on the forefront, he was raised Catholic, attending St. Mary's, and recently attended Expedition and Livingston Christian Center Churches. Josh was attune to his children's Jewish heritage too, he made and displayed a Menorah at the Depot every season.
Every time we hear a motorcycle or feel the wind in our hair or experience nature we will feel your presence.
Josh is lovingly remembered by and survived by:
His children, Jacob and Grace Merideth
His parents, Diana and Kenneth Merideth
His sister, Nikki Jo Mustard, her husband Joe and their sons Alex and Zach
His brother, Jason Merideth, his wife Martilyn and their daughter Aurora
His spouse, Carol and her children, Kyle and Tyler Withers.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents John and Loretta Parisi and Henry “Tex” and Katherine Merideth.
The multitude of his other precious family members, which are too numerous to mention by name (we would need the whole newspaper!)
We also recognize those who were part of Josh’s life, his many friends, colleagues, teammates, acquaintances, and those who have strengthened his family with your acts of sympathy and kindness.
A viewing for final goodbyes will be available on Wednesday, June 10 from Noon to 8:00 P.M. at the Franzen-Davis Funeral Home. We will honor Josh and his family with a celebration of his life on Saturday, June, 20 beginning at 11:00 A.M. at the Livingston Christian Center (1400 Mount Baldy Drive) Masks are welcome, not required. Burial will follow at the Calvary Cemetery and then a reception will be hosted at the Livingston Christian Center.
In lieu of flowers, plant something to honor Josh and to brighten your world like his smile brightened ours!
Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory has been entrusted with arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joshua Johnathan Merideth, please visit our floral store.