Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes

1730 East Grand River Ave, East Lansing, MI


Joseph Small

18 February , 199319 October , 2019

Joseph William Garrett Small, 26, passed away October 19, 2019. Born February 18, 1993, Joe was a lifelong adventurer and philosopher. He not only traveled the world: he experienced all that the world had to offer. He was a NOLS certified kayaker, rock climber, whitewater rafter, and wilderness first aid provider who embraced survivorship. Joe had a long battle with addiction and in his recovery learned to love the simple things in life. He found peace and meaning in nature and in spiritual teachings. Joe was kind, genuine, and unapologetic in all his endeavors. He wasn’t afraid to speak his truth. Joe’s love for Lord of the Rings was unparalleled, he had a deep spiritual and intellectual curiosity, and he helped countless others through some of the toughest moments of their lives.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Jordan Small, and his grandma, Janet Dietrich.

His impact is forever felt and held in the hearts of his parents, Carolyn (Dietrich) Small and Thomas (Cheryl) Small; his sisters, Sarah (Andrew St. John) and Anna; his grandparents, Gary and Carolyn Dietrich and Nanette and Sidney Small; his aunts and uncles, Laura Dietrich, Mary (Todd) Gallup, David (Angie Vette) Dietrich, and David (Nancy) Small; and many cousins and friends all over the world.

Memorial Services will be held on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 1pm at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, East Chapel, 1730 E. Grand River Ave. in East Lansing, with visitation one hour prior.

Memorial Contributions may be made in Joe's honor to NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School), 284 Lincoln Street, Lander, WY 82520.

Share memories at www.greastlansing.com


  • Memorial Visitation Thursday, 24 October , 2019
  • Memorial Service Thursday, 24 October , 2019


Joseph Small

have a memory or condolence to add?

Richard & Sherri Peffley

25 October 2019

Sending our heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

Jamie Rapson

22 October 2019

Dear Carolyn, Sarah and Anna and Family:
A beautiful poem came to mind while reading Joe’s obituary this morning it’s from Ivan Turgenev:
To desire and expect nothing for oneself and to have profound sympathy for others is genuine holiness.
Sending comforting hugs and healing prayers.

Dawn, Coryn, Sherry and Craig Knapp

22 October 2019

May memories of Joseph and the love of family surround you and give you strength, and always remember how much you are loved.


21 October 2019

Carolyn, my most sincere heartfelt wishes for you and your family and friends. I am truly at a loss for words. You and all your loved ones have my prayers and wishes for peace. Forever your sister, love you always.

Mark Seltzer

21 October 2019

Carolyn: Words cannot express my feelings for your loss. You are in my thoughts and I am so sorry for you my friend...

Karen Holden

21 October 2019

Carolyn and the Dietrich Family,

The Holden family sends our thoughts, prayers and love to you all during this difficult time. Wishing you strength in this moment and peace in the future. With you from across the miles instead of just across the fence.

Anne Hultgren

21 October 2019

Carolyn and Family,

My deepest sympathy for your unimaginable loss. May you find peace and strength in the wonderful memories you share as a family.

My prayers of support are plentiful.

With Deepest Sympathy,

Anne Hultgren

Susan Giguere

21 October 2019

There are no words to adequately express such a loss as this for your family and friends. I remember the first day I met Joe, such a cute, sweet boy who loved Harry Potter. You grew into a wonderful young man and left us far too soon. You’re loved and will be missed forever. Love you Joe Small ❤️

Margo Sutherland-Alvarez

21 October 2019

Carolyn, Tom, Sarah, Anna and family,

I am so sorry. Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to hold in your heart. Know that I am here for you. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Love Margo