Cover photo for Joseph Cox Bushman's Obituary
Joseph Cox Bushman Profile Photo
1960 Joseph 2022

Joseph Cox Bushman

June 27, 1960 — April 12, 2022

Joseph Cox Bushman Sr., affectionately known as Joe, died peacefully at Sherman Home in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona, surrounded by family, on Tuesday, April 12, 2022 from natural causes. He was 61 years old. Joe was born on Monday, June 27, 1960, in McNary, Apache County Arizona, to his parents, Nephi Wallace I of Snowflake, and Maxine Cox of Nampa, Idaho. His siblings are Nephi Bushman II of Prescott Valley, Arizona, Samuel Bushman of Rome, Italy, Bonnie Merrill of Salt Lake City, Utah, Rebecca Shields of Enoch, Utah, Naomi Willis of San Antonio, Texas, Benjamin Bushman of Tucson, Arizona, and Jacob Bushman (born sleeping). Joe was born on the anniversary of the martyrdom of the prophet, Joseph Smith. He was almost named Joseph Smith Bushman, but they decided on his mother’s maiden name instead. 

Joe graduated from Snowflake High School, Class of 1978. He attended a semester and played football at Glendale Community College. Mutual friends introduced him to Kathleen Lorraine Ashcraft in April 1983. Kathy recalled, “He had a big, scruffy beard, long hair, and work clothes. He was chewing tobacco. Most people would probably think he looked scary, but all I could think was, ‘He looks like he would be such a good dad.’” They were married on Christmas Eve that same year in Snowflake, by Joe’s father, Bishop Nephi Bushman. They were sealed for time and all eternity in the Mesa, Arizona Temple on August 21st, 1993.

A gifted and avid musician, Joe started playing drums at age 4 after being inspired by the song Little Drummer Boy at Christmas. He could play piano by ear, and a great variety of drumming and guitar styles, including rock, blues, country, and classical. Joe excelled in athletics, playing in church softball for Snowflake 6th Ward, and center and lineman in varsity football for Snowflake High School. During halftime he played drums for the marching band in his football pads and jersey. He gained notoriety throughout Arizona with his first rock band, Mixed Company. He also sang with the Snowflake High School Madrigals. At age sixteen Joe earned his Eagle Scout award, and snuck into a bar and won the Bar Room Brawler boxing contest. He was voted “The Wolf” in his senior class superlatives.

As an adult Joe played timpani in the White Mountain Symphony Orchestra, and drums for Relentless, the Kirkman Family Band, White Mountain Big Band, the Sundowners, the Salas Project, and Fools Hollow Band. Joe followed in the Savior’s footsteps in his lifelong profession as a carpenter. He was an avid gardener. He loved to make things grow, like his father and grandfathers before him. Joe also followed Nephi’s example by keeping a consistent journal. His words will be a priceless comfort to his children in the years ahead. He was constantly serving. He could often be found helping friends and ward members with building and fixing their homes, or on the side of the road helping to fix the vehicles of stranded strangers. Joe diligently cared for his aging parents until his father’s death and his mother’s relocation to Utah in 2013. He had a gift for making people feel seen and loved. He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joe’s love for the Savior and testimony of His Atonement burned bright within him. He celebrated over 21 years sobriety and served as a Church Service Missionary in the Abuse Recovery Program for two decades. He spent countless hours leading groups, counseling, mentoring, facilitating interventions, and driving people to rehabilitation centers. Joe saved hundreds if not thousands of lives. In the words of his daughter-in-law, Carla, they were his, “friends forged in the fires of recovery … [He] had fought their same battles and won—and came back for them, and their families.” For the past five years Joe was the devoted sole guardian to Joey, his pride and joy. Joe and his “little buddy” made life an adventure, with his singular purpose being to see Joey’s smile. Now, at age sixteen, Joey’s care has been passed on to his sister, Christie. 

Joe is survived by his beloved children, Jami, Patrick, Nicholas, Amy, Christie, and Joseph Jr. (Joey); their spouses and partners, Adam, Carla, Brittany, Erik, Amanda, and Chris; his nineteen grandchildren; and his dear mother, Maxine. He was preceded in death by his eternal companion and soulmate, Kathy, in 2016; his son, Gregg, in 2016; and his father, Nephi, in 2013. 

The Public Viewing and Visitation will be from 6:00-8:00 P.M. Thursday, April 21, 2022 at Owens Livingston Mortuary~Heritage Chapel, 84 E. 19th S., Snowflake, Arizona. The Funeral Service will begin at 1:00 P.M. Friday, April 22nd at the Centennial Stake Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9th S 2nd West, in Snowflake, where an additional visitation will begin one hour prior. Burial will follow at the R.V. "Mike" Ramsay Memorial Cemetery in Snowflake.

In lieu of flowers, Joe’s adult children request a donation to Joey’s College Fund, at


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, April 22, 2022

12:00 - 12:45 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, April 22, 2022

Starts at 1:00 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

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Friday, April 22, 2022

Starts at 2:15 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

R.V. "Mike" Ramsay Memorial Cemetery

390 South 4th West Street, Snowflake, AZ 85937

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