Joel Douglas Frybarger, age 57, of Portage, MI died on December 22, 2016. Joel was born in Coatesville, Pennsylvania on December 26, 1958. Within 10 months of his birth, he was adopted by James Alfred and Janet Osborne Frybarger and his adopted sister, Joanne Frybarger. He attended high school in Downingtown, graduated in 1976 and went to work at the Newman Paper Mill after graduation, for approximately 10 years, then went to work at the LNP Plastics factory in Downingtown, PA for over 11 years. He loved raising and training champion beagles with his father, hunting, fishing and camping, frequently on the DelMarVa Peninsula, particularly in Rock Hall, Maryland. In 1996 he bought a Golden Retriever pup from a local farmer in Pennsylvania and his life consequently took a radical change of course. While selling the pups, he brought some of them down to Rock Hall and sold one to Marge Tawoda she would soon bring that dog, Sam, back to him in less than 2 years when they married in July 1998. Joel became a stepfather to Bob Tawoda and joined into a whole family of Shoremen, where he fit in just like he had lived on the shore his whole life. Joel had moved to Rock Hall, Maryland permanently, and after 2+ years of commuting 5 days a week to LNP in Downingtown, finally admitted he was getting tired of the drive and allowed himself to re-enter the world of cooking that he had loved since being a teenager. He worked part-time for George and Patty Hopkins as a hunting guide and attended Chesapeake College for certification in cooking in about a year's time. Upon certification, he went to work for Nevitt Ford at the newly built Ford's Seafood in Rock Hall, Maryland, and happily cooked there until 2005. Joel had also dreamed of having a home in the mountains, so he and Marge found a home in Somerset, Pennsylvania, in the Laurel Highland Mountains. He then was employed by Jimmy and Lori dePhillips at the Oakhurst Tea Room in Somerset, PA, for over 5 years, while cooking at Oakhurst, Joel was first diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and began treatment. Also during this time there were two vital new influences in his life: two grandchildren who he just wanted to see more than once or twice a year, and he became a devoted fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. So once again, he and his wife moved to Portage, Michigan, where Joel became a Grampa for his grandson Cooper and granddaughter Isabelle. Joel was instrumental in the care and recovery of Cooper after each of his three open-heart surgeries performed at the University of Michigan. Joel's sense of love and devotion for the two children was a driving force during his remissions and exacerbations with Leukemia over the next 4+ years, and a great sense of his joy. When his type of leukemia was discerned at the Western Michigan Cancer Center, he was referred to the Detroit Medical Center, Karmanos Cancer Institute for a drug study program for a newly developed chemotherapy, and participated in the study for the last 3 years. Thru the exceptional care at Karmanos and Joel's physical stamina and courage, he was able to surpass his initial life expectancy of 64 months by 2 and a 1/2 years with an overall good quality of life. When he suffered an initial cardiac arrest November 23rd, LIFE Ambulance in Kalamazoo, MI, enabled him to revive and he received exceptional care for 28 more days of life at Bronson Methodist Hospital when he returned home with the Hospice of Southwest Michigan and he passed on December 22, 2016, 4 days shy of his 58th birthday. He was a member of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Portage, Michigan, a genuine man who would go out of his way to help a stranger, and devoted man to his family. Through his treatment, one of his favorite things was exploring Michigan, the lighthouses, the wildlife and becoming a rock hound. His ability to find elk up north and on the Upper Peninsula brought him great joy. Joel was preceded in death by his parents, and is survived by his sister, Joanne Frybarger, wife Margery Frybarger, stepson Robert Tawoda, and grandchildren Isabelle Leigh and Cooper Owen Tawoda, many friends and two devoted Golden Retrievers. A celebration of Joel's life will be celebrated in the spring, Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 in Chestertown, Maryland, at the Fellows, Helfenbein and Newnam Funeral home at 1 pm. There is an extensive website for anyone with questions or need of directions. A reception for fellowship will be held afterwards. In lieu of flowers, please send a contribution to either the: Karmanos Cancer Institute, 4100 John R Street, Detroit, MI, 48021 or the American Heart Association , National Center, 7272 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, Texas, 75231.