Joshua David Birrell, Age :19
Mar 30,2000---Jan 07,2020

Joshua David Birrell, 19, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 7, 2020.  Visitations will be from 5-7 PM Friday, January 17th and 9-10 AM Saturday, January 18th.  Funeral Services will be 10:00 AM Saturday, January 18th, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 7100 Hadley Street, Overland Park, KS 66204.  Josh’s health challenges prevented his family from being able to procure life insurance for him, so in lieu of flowers the family suggests a memorial contribution to his funeral fund.

Josh was born March 30, 2000, in Provo, Utah.  He graduated from Shawnee Mission North High School and was currently attending the Post-High Program for Individuals with Disabilities at Shawnee Mission South High School.

Josh LOVED people.  To him a stranger was merely a friend he hadn’t met yet.  Once he got to know you, he’d get your phone number and then call and send funny texts and goofy selfies regularly.  He brightened the lives of everyone around him with his ability to see past outward appearances and focus on the heart.  He had the most infectious smile & laugh, and you couldn’t help but feel bright and sunny around him.  He gave others this gift, even when he himself was suffering quietly in more pain than we ever realized.

Josh absolutely loved basketball, and when he wasn’t shooting hoops himself, he was busy watching BYU basketball game re-runs over and over and over…and over!  Jimmer Fredette was his hero and so we nicknamed him “Josher Fredette.”  He even wrote it on his seizure helmet in big, puffy alphabet stickers. 😊  He was proud of how many “3-pointers” he could make and would brag about the number of points he’d made in games… always rounding up (of course!).  He LOVED church ball and lived for the tournaments every year.  He got to play and star in a couple Special Olympics-sponsored tournaments, too.  For a while we lived across the street from a basketball court, and he’d be over there every day shooting hoops, for hours, no matter the weather.  Recently we’ve learned from many people we thought were strangers whose lives Josh had touched through “shooting hoops “(Josh’s phrase) with them.

Josh loved mowing lawns.  He killed our lawn one summer because he mowed it every.single.day!  He loved mowing so much that he got his own Honda lawnmower for his 13th birthday, which may have been one of his favorite gifts ever, and then wouldn’t let anybody else touch it!  We had to tell him he could ONLY mow the lawn twice a week, but he’d often try to find a way to get around that.  He also loved to mow his friends’ yards, and for a few summers if we couldn’t find him on a bright Saturday morning, if we went toward wherever we could hear the hum of a lawnmower, we’d usually find him either hanging around watching or trying to get the homeowner to let him mow FOR them!

Josh was obsessed with Walmart trucks and was constantly looking up pictures of them on the internet to print out OR watching intently the oncoming traffic while we were driving anywhere so he could get a picture of one as it passed by.

Josh loved spicy food and ate flaming hot Cheetos by the bagful!  His red handprints could be found all over the house in his attempt to wipe the red dust off his fingers.  He put hot sauce on EVERYTHING, including his oatmeal!  Oatmeal with cream and hot sauce…. Breakfast of champions!

From an early age, Josh was close to the Lord.  He would watch General Conference for hours at a time, and then innocently mimic the elderly speakers at the pulpit on Fast Sundays when he bore his testimony, to the amusement of all who watched him.  We often heard from members of our congregations how much they loved hearing him speak and the beautiful things he had to say, though we were never quite sure what was going to come out of his mouth!  Two days before his passing, he bore a powerful testimony of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ and encouraged the rest of us to find our own, too.

Josh had physical & mental limitations his whole life, but that did not stop him.  As one dear friend put it, “Josh LOVED life, no matter what his circumstances, and he showed the rest of us how to love life, too.”

Josh is preceded in death by his paternal grandfather and maternal uncle.  He is survived by his parents, Jon & Kelley (Drury) Birrell, his younger siblings, Matthew, Benjamin, and Rachel, his paternal grandmother, both his maternal grandparents, 6 uncles, 6 aunts, and 25 cousins.

Josh will bless the lives of another nearly 2000 people by donating many of his organs and tissues.  We are grateful for the knowledge that he will continue to bring love and life to others, even after his passing.



Condolences

Ahren Hohe Jan 09 ,2020

Friend ,Shawnee ,Kansas

Dear Birrell family, I have just recently learned today that Josh had passed away on Tuesday and I wanted to give my condolences. I got to only know him vaguely but he was a person who just stuck in my mind and made me think about why the little things matter. I was aware that Josh loved basketball especially during the Old Shawnee Days carnival. My friends and I loved to play with him and let him do our free throws when he asked. He always has had a smile on his face which put a smile on ours. He's spread so much positivity and kindness for us and others. I wanted to say thank you for putting such a kind person on this planet that I got to share memories with. God and him are watching over you. Sincerely, Ahren

Pete and Lauren Arendt Jan 10 ,2020

Friend ,Wellsville ,Utah

Such a beautiful tribute Kelley. I hope the joy of your time with him will always overpower the difficulty of waiting to see and hug him again. Love and prayers from us—

Angie Zumbrunnen Jan 10 ,2020

Schoolmate ,Overland Park ,Kansas

Dear Birrell family, I had the pleasure of having Josh in my drama class last year. It shocks me that such an amazing person had to leave so soon. I’m so sorry. In Drama class Josh would talk to us about his trips to Arby’s as well as power play and how much fun he had mowing lawn. It was always really cool to see how he connected with everyone in the class. He always was so compassionate and showed tenderness with everyone. He will be very missed. I will keep you all in my prayers.💛

Hayley Jan 10 ,2020

Peer ,Merriam ,Kansas

I saw Josh around school quite a lot with a bright smile on his face! I was so upset to hear about his passing, but I know that he is happily in heaven living with Lord for eternity!

Stuart and Meridee Hatch Jan 11 ,2020

Friends/former neighbors ,North Salt Lake

So difficult to lose a child. We are sorry for your loss but know that you will be be blessed for all you have done to help Josh. Prayers for your younger ones.

Tamie Person Jan 11 ,2020

friend ,Harrisonville ,Missouri

Kelley and Jon, i have so many great memories of Josh and silly things he did. And in 3 homes! but i loved the obit and things you said reminded me of him and goofy things he did. I am so sorry for this incredible loss and it is a loss for everyone who knew him.

David Maughan Jan 13 ,2020

Friend, Quorum Leader, Brother in Christ! ,Shawnee ,Kansas

Jon and Kelly , I hope you know how much your family is Loved! I am so blessed to have gotten to know Josh And to have the privilege of teaching him and also to be thought by him, He is an amazing example of Love! He Loves Others more than self, he showed that with his by weekly phone calls where he would ask how each member of my family was and really wanted to know, And then we would talk about his 3 point tally And when his next games were which I was always invited to attend even if they were 6 months away! And Without Question He Loves His Family, He would tell me How much he Loved his Dad, how hard his dad worked, and How grateful he was for how much his mom did each day, He would tell me that he watched over his brothers and that he would protect his sister! Age meant nothing to Josh, once he knew you, you were his friend, I know if he was able He would have gone to everyone’s house and tried to brighten their day or do something to serve them! He has a testimony that touched The lives of innumerable people, which is a reflection of both of you! I Love Him and look Forward to the day when I will get to see him With a body made perfect! And ask him how many 3s he can make now! If there is anything we can do let us know, we will be praying for your family! Love You!

Lisa Jensen Jan 14 ,2020

Friend ,LEHI ,Utah

What a beautiful tribute to such a wonderful kid!! I'm so sad we didn't live closer so we could have been blessed to know him, too. I was so sorry to hear of Josh's passing. Sending your family many prayers for comfort.

David Feb 22 ,2020

Church member ,Kansas City ,Kansas

Bro. Birrell I am sorry for your lost i barely got to know you and your son in a very short period of time I qm very glad that i did.

Event:
Visitation
Location:
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Address:
7100 Hadley
City:
Overland Park
State:
Kansas
Zip Code:
66204
Date:
Jan 17 ,2020
Time:
5:00 PM
Google Map:
Event:
Visitation
Location:
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Address:
7100 Hadley
City:
Overland Park
State:
Kansas
Zip Code:
66204
Date:
Jan 18 ,2020
Time:
9:00 AM
Google Map:
Event:
Funeral Service
Location:
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Address:
7100 Hadley
City:
Overland Park
State:
Kansas
Zip Code:
66204
Date:
Jan 18 ,2020
Time:
10:00 AM
Google Map: