Grand Haven Tribune: Joseph Cagle

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Joseph Cagle

• May 30, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Joseph A. “Joey, Joe” Cagle, 51, formerly of Norton Shores and Spring Lake, passed unexpectedly on Friday, January 11, 2019 in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China.

He was born on Friday, January 13, 1967 in Grand Haven, Michigan to Earl and Bonnie Cagle. Joe enjoyed the partying life in his younger years, we still to this day believe Mr. Anderson just gave him his high school diploma in June of 1986 from Grand Haven Senior High School just to get rid of him.

After high school, Joe attended Gainey Transportation Truck driving school and drove as a long- haul truck driver for many years. He then earned a heavy equipment operator certification in Missouri and worked as an excavator for BCS enterprises demolition company in Phoenix, Arizona. Moving back to Michigan, he most recently worked for Acemco and Shape Corp.

After meeting his wife, Ying Ye (May) on Facebook, he attended Oxford Seminar at MSU and earned a certificate to teach English as a second language. On September 2, 2013, he moved to Suzhou, China. On December 25, 2013, he married Ying Ye (May) in Shanghai, China. Joe fell in love with teaching preschoolers English and started his own English learning center in China. His students loved calling him “Mr. Joe.” He dreamed of returning to the States to earn a real teaching degree and wanted to return to China to become a “principal” of a learning center. Skyping with Joe, he just beamed with enthusiasm and excitement as he would wait for his “students” to arrive for class.

Joe enjoyed cooking, baking “chocolate chip cookies” and fishing. He also enjoyed starting hot political debates on Facebook, even at the end of the heated debate, he still considered you a friend. He was very devoted to his niece, Laura, giving her the nickname of “Sweet Pea” when she was little and was very much devoted to his nephew, Matthew, giving him the nickname of “Popeye” when he was first born. He loved taking them fishing and they loved calling him “Uncle Joe.”

Joe is survived by his wife, Ying Ye (May) and step-daughter, Angela of Suzhou, China; parents, Earl and Bonnie Cagle of Norton Shores; brother, Scott (Kate Gunderson) Cagle of Muskegon; sister, Jaime Cagle of Norton Shores; niece, Laura Cagle of Norton Shores; and nephew, Matthew Cagle of Holland, Michigan, and his extended family in China.

Cremation has taken place twice, yes twice! We just wanted to be sure Joe arrived at the pearly gates and be able to say “Smokin Joe is here and is ready to party!” Joe’s cremains arrived back in the United States on March 12 and will be scattered privately at a later date at his favorite fishing spots around Michigan.

Please join us for Joe’s final party and Celebration of Life at North Beach Park Pavilion, 18775 North Shore Drive, Ferrysburg, Michigan 49409 on Sunday, June 2 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. with a balloon release at 3:30 p.m. over Lake Michigan. Please come as you are and enjoy lunch with us.

Joe’s family would like to thank everyone for your messages, cards, and love over the last five months, it certainly has been heartfelt. We also want to extend a very special thank you to the staff at The Sytsema Chapel of Sytsema Funeral and Cremation Services (Apple Ave. location) for your compassionate care and generosity. A very special thank you to all who donated to Scott’s go fund me account to help cover the expenses to bring Joe home from China.

Share memories with the family at their On-line Guest Book at

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