Rest In Peace. For My Korean Irish Bạn.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020


Joel “Jody” “JoeD” Michael Riley, age 48, passed away on Saturday, September 26, 2020. He was born on March 26, 1972 to James and Yong Nan Riley in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Jody married Barb Carrick on 04/23/2001.

From a young age, Jody loved all things cars. After high school, he attended culinary school and worked as a chef for many years. He then changed gears and worked in the automotive industry. He was a Volkswagen enthusiast and was one of the founders of Madspeed and the Dubs in The Valley Car Show. He had an aptitude for mechanical things and if something was broken, Jody would be there to try and repair it.

Those who knew Jody will remember him for his extroverted personality, quick wit and playful sense of humor, fierce loyalty to his friends and his desire to help others. He had a passion for creative pursuits. Jody was a musician, artist, photographer and had a love for food and cooking, both professionally and at home. He loved to snowboard and skateboard and loved the lifestyle that went along with those things.

Jody is survived by his wife Barb Carrick; his son, Dayne Krueger; daughters, Mia and Evelyn Riley; father James Riley (Janet Quinn); mother Yong Nan; brother Jon Riley (Jennifer Riley) along with many other relatives and dear friends.

Services for Jody will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 3, 2020 at the Pickett Community Center Pavilion. A visitation will be held from 3 p.m. until the time of service. Due to Covid-19, we request that you please wear a mask and social distance. Dress for the cool weather as this location is an open- air pavilion chosen to be safer in this time of Covid-19 precautions.

Please remember you are not alone. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit for more information.
When you grow up in a small town in middle America, and are one of the only kids who isn't white, you somehow just seem to find the other kids like you.

For me this was two other families - an Irish Korean family and a Fillipino family. In Jody's house is where I got my first smells of kimchi and Korean food. Sometimes he would proudly open the door to the second fridge in the basement and make me admire the pungent smells of the fermenting cabbage.

We skated together. Snuck cigarrettes together. Talked about the things that young boys do at those times in their lives.

And we ran from racists together. Ducked the pickup that was chasing our 7th/8th grade legs down.

I never met Jody's dad. Just his mom.

Like friends of that age can, we lost touch after I moved back to Milwaukee.

We saw each other again, about 10 years ago and like you do when you're from a small town, you catch up, eat and drink, and in some ways pick up where you left off. At least for the night. We didn't keep in touch much afterwards, but that wasn't anything either. Different lives but if we saw each other again, we'd do the same as before.

When I heard about his passing, because it's that small town network, I just thought about what a large part of my life he was when I was growing up. Those times that got us ready and helped make us who we would be going into the world.

He was one of the reasons that I felt Asian American growing up.

I wish his spirit well. I wish his family and children an understanding in order to help heal.