Cover photo for Joel Firebaugh's Obituary
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1977 Joel 2023

Joel Firebaugh

January 4, 1977 — February 26, 2023

Denver, Colorado

Joel Eric Firebaugh passed away at home on Sunday, February 26, 2023 from complications from cancer, which he was diagnosed with in January 2021. Joel was born on January 4, 1977, in Nashville, TN, and he was raised in State College, PA, where he attended State College Area High School. He played volleyball in high school and was active in his church youth group. After graduating with honors in 1995, he attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2000. Joel returned to State College, earning a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering from Penn State University in 2004. That same year, he moved to Colorado to work as an Environmental Engineer Consultant at Air Sciences, Inc. with Sarah Elizabeth Firebaugh, his first wife, who preceded him in death. He met his surviving wife, Danielle, in Colorado in 2009, and they had their daughter, Giovanna (Gigi) in 2017. They enjoyed traveling and took trips to Mexico, Florida, and Danielle’s home country of Brazil, as well as long family trips to Winona Lake, IN. As an engineer, one of Joel’s passions was buying and fixing cars. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of cars and their mechanics, and he loved solving and fixing problems with them. In college, he met friends who shared his passion for cars, and they put together some interesting cars to enter in racing events. Joel also enjoyed the outdoors, especially biking and hiking with family and friends. He conquered several mountains and enjoyed backpacking trips with friends. Gigi was the center of Joel’s world. He shared his love of cars with her, teaching her about brands and showing her how to work on them. They built things together, took trips to the zoo and parks, and they enjoyed bike rides in the summer and skiing in the winter. Joel is survived by his wife, Danielle Massari Firebaugh; daughter Giovanna Massari Firebaugh; parents Glenn and Judy Rae Firebaugh; and sisters Rose Marie Dahlstrom and Heather Dawn Grissom. He is preceded in death by his first wife, Sarah Elizabeth Firebaugh; maternal grandparents Raymond and Mary Thompson; and paternal grandparents George Lawrence Firebaugh and Rosanelle Firebaugh. A memorial service will be held Friday, March 10, at Horan & McConaty Funeral Home, 9998 Grant St. Thornton, CO at 11:00 am. There will also be a celebration of life in his hometown of State College, PA at a later date. Because of Joel’s love for children and belief that education is the key to opportunity, in lieu of flowers, the family would prefer that donations be made to Heart & Hand Center, a Denver-based nonprofit serving disadvantaged youth. They create a nurturing after-school environment where everyone gets a meal, help with homework, exposure to new passions, and a healthy dose of love. Donations may be made here.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, March 10, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain (no DST) time)

Horan & McConaty - Grant

9998 Grant St, Thornton, CO 80229

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