PROVIDENCE, RI – Never giving up defined Joseph Roy on the wrestling mat and in life. The Brooklyn, NY, native lost his 18-month battle with cancer on Sunday.
A service will be held on Saturday, May 19, at the Guarino Funeral Home in Brooklyn. The viewing begins at 3 p.m. with the service at 5 p.m.
Majoring in culinary arts, Roy came to the Wildcats in the fall of 2016 from Edward R. Murrow High School where he earned a pair of top-five finishes at the PSAL City Championships. He also produced a fourth-place showing at the Mayor's Cup. He got his start in wrestling through the New York City Beat the Streets program.
"Joe loved wrestling and loved Johnson & Wales University," JWU head coach Lonnie Morris said. "He was one of the nicest kids you could ever meet, so very kind. It was always 'Yes sir, no sir,'. He had such a gentle personality when he wasn't on the mat. Everyone loved Joe Roy. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time."
Roy tried out for the JWU wrestling program in the fall of 2016 and even though he had a lot of heart and determination, he did not make the first round of cuts. As someone who refused to take no for an answer, he came back the very next day, telling the coaches he'd do whatever it took to be on the team.
After several other wrestlers quit the team, the coaches reconsidered and put Roy on the team. Having realized his dream of being a collegiate wrestler was fulfilled, he was moved to tears and his new teammates rejoiced in his excitement.
Even though he lost his first two matches, Roy was determined to get better and contribute to the team. After a tough practice, his jaw began to swell and everyone thought he had broken his jaw. After several tests, the doctors discovered he had osteosarcoma, a very rare bone cancer.
In December of 2016, Roy left the team and the university for treatments. He kept in touch with the team and followed JWU's progress as it went on to win the NCAA Northeast Regional and place fourth at the NCAA Championships.
This past October, the wrestling team gathered for the team's 20th anniversary and Joseph Roy was there to receive his championship ring along with the rest of the Wildcats. Unfortunately, just one month later his health took a turn for the worse until he succumbed to the disease on Sunday.
While he only spent a few months on the team, Roy's spirit and courage will remain with the JWU wrestling program for years to come. Being a part of the wrestling team meant so much to Joe that his mother asked for Joseph to be buried in his singlet and wrestling warm up.
Joseph is survived by his parents Joseph Roy and Kenisha Gayle