On August 27 2015, after finishing a recording session, Joe DeLeon‘s world was turned upside down. He was given the news that he had stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to his liver and lungs. On October 30 2015 Joe succumbed to this terrible disease and left behind a grieving family and a mourning community of fellow musicians and fans who quickly realized what an impact he had made and how their lives would never be the same.
Let’s think for a minute about the kind of guy Joe was. He had a smile for everyone he met; a twinkle in his eye; loved to share a story or a joke; always helped others, near or far; was extremely humble; and never stopped working (remember, he went straight from a recording session to the hospital that fateful day).
Joe DeLeon’s Official Obituary (by Doug Driesel and Michelle Pazar):
Joe Alonzo DeLeon Jr. was born June 27th, 1963 and entered into his eternal heavenly home October 30, 2015 making his age fifty-two years, three months and three days.
Joe was the only son of two loving, devoted parents Joe Alonzo DeLeon Sr. and Jovita Reyes Palacios DeLeon, who both preceded him in death. He is survived by two daughters, Zoe Danae DeLeon and Shara Lyn DeLeon, one son, Kaleb Kody Pazar, cousins Almita Flores and Antuan Griffin. He is also survived by the one person who stood by his side in many different roles for over twenty years, having been wife, friend, caregiver and truly, above all earthly bonds, his soulmate, Michelle Wilson Pazar. Joe met Michelle over twenty years ago, and the two formed a bond that couldn’t be broken even beneath relationship changes, up to the time of his death. Michelle, along with her partner Wayne, would spend Joe’s last days on this earth caring unendingly for him, and demonstrating the bond that she and Joe shared above and beyond most people’s understanding.
To say that Joe was unselfish doesn’t even begin to describe this man and his character. He was simple, loving, talented and the backbone of many bands in and around the Houston area that he called home his whole life. He even was fortunate enough to co-write the number one hit song “Reno”, a country classic.
Joe saw the world, traveled, dreamed and loved with a passion unequaled by most and spread his passion for life and love of man throughout the world. He will be missed for more things than anyone can imagine, by his children as a father, by Michelle as an unselfish friend, and by the world as a musical talent, as in Joe’s very core was the beat of a community that will miss him terribly.
In most conventional obituaries, this is where it ends. However, Joe DeLeon was NO ordinary man, and was absolutely unconventional!
Though Joe’s loving parents always considered him an only child, Joe knew different. You see, throughout his short life on this earth, Joe inherited the hearts of THOUSANDS of brothers and sisters, the people who he graced the stage with over his storied career, and the people who counted on Joe as the beat of their collective musical heart. Some of those who should be noted as true brothers were members of three bands Joe considered the highlights of his musical life: Doug Supernaw and the Possum Eatin’ Cowboys (yes, Joe thought of that name!), The TearJerkers and Cowboy Steel. Though it’s impossible to name each man and woman who was special to him, these bands were truly the core of his musical family. Joe was responsible for starting Cowboy Steel, a band that backed up multiple country artists over the last decade. It was with Cowboy Steel and The Foundry Church worship team that Joe performed his last live shows and studio session.
Just prior to his passing, Joe was honored with the Country Music Association of Texas’ “Drummer of the Year” Award.
Being one of those fortunate enough to hear “I love you, man” from the little guy with the short pants and the loud and proud sound was an honor extended to many by Joe, who wasn’t afraid to hug man or woman at any time he thought they needed it.
By the standards of those who consider possessions a sign of wealth, Joe may have seemed less than rich, but those who knew him knew he was enriched with a spirit and a smile that stood above any worldly possession, except maybe his trademark “Burnt Cheese” DW Drums.
In Houston’s music scene, Joe DeLeon will not ever be gone from us. His signature sound has been heard on thousands of recordings over the years, and his presence will be felt in every honky tonk, church, banquet room, concert stage and studio where Joe was the backbone of the beat and the heart of the music. For Joe, this is merely a move to a new band, where he will surely count it off right every time.
You can still continue to donate to the family in order to help offset funeral and medical expenses and this website will be updated in the coming weeks to add more information on Joe‘s life and accomplishments.
For now all we can do is say goodbye to our brother, friend and fellow musician and find comfort in the fact that he went home peacefully, surrounded by his beloved family at his home ….. just as he would have wanted to …..
Rest in Peace brother, until we meet again …….. you will be sorely missed