Joel Michael Hinson

Joel Michael Hinson, 49, was born on November 4, 1974, in Kansas City, MO, to Candyce (Candy) Overbay and John Hinson. On May 14, 2024, after a determined battle with head and neck cancer, Joel’s body finally found rest as his spirit transitioned Home.

Joel was brilliant. By the age of three, he could name every dinosaur as well as all of the planets in the solar system. This curiosity often got the best of him, once bringing the outdoor water hose indoors – for what one can only assume was a three-year-old’s idea of pitching in with household chores. This innately inquisitorial mind would serve Joel well, later taking college-level courses in math from William Jewell College, while in the eighth grade.

After graduation, Joel’s marked gifts in drafting and design caught the attention of Bayer, who not only hired Joel but implemented one of his suggestions. Joel later worked for HNTB, where he made significant contributions in design, building, and bridges as part of the draftsmen team.

Joel was a self-taught musician, learning how to play the electric and acoustic guitar, even cutting a CD of his own music. Joel was eclectic in his love of music, drawing inspiration from the sounds of Louisiana Jazz to the Stone Temple Pilots. Equally eclectic was his karaoke song choice! Joel never passed up an opportunity to join his sister, Casey, husband, Rob, and friends for a night of karaoke – notably singing “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel or “Where It’s At” by Beck.

Joel was his own man. He had a propensity for hats – few remember seeing him without one since he was a toddler. He also had a wickedly dry sense of humor. Joel was thoughtful, generous, and protective in nature. Once to prevent his sister from making a long road trip home alone, Joel traveled to the east coast where Casey had been working after college and drove her back to KC. Not shying away from road trips, Joel also took his then-teenage sister, Carley, to see the Dave Matthews band in Chicago. Joel was kind and he was brilliant and he had a future full of possibilities.

At the age of 26, Joel was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Up until his diagnosis, Joel had lived life on his terms and, despite his diagnosis, continued to do so. While those systems established to support individuals living with mental illness failed Joel – he, in many ways, transcended his diagnosis.

Continuing to live his life on his terms, Joel was unhoused for several years. During this time, he continued to create and design. Joel taught himself how to crochet – making all of his own clothes as well as gifts for family during the holidays. Most notably, he made a guitar and amplifier, allowing him to share his love for music, playing on various street corners of the Country Club Plaza.

Joel’s innate curiosity never waned, as he would visit the Kansas City Public Library: Plaza Branch daily, continuing to research design as well as teaching himself how to code – ultimately creating the code for his own games such as LOC NAR and Kemosabe 4. Utilizing his experience as a draftsman, Joel began drafting designs for an underground railway system running from KCI Airport to Downtown, that he later sent out to several agencies, in an attempt to share his work.

During this time, Joel befriended Michael Robertson, who managed Jimmy John’s on Broadway. Initially upon meeting, Robertson allowed Joel to clean the restaurant parking lot in exchange for food. As he got to know Joel and trust was built, Joel soon began unloading their delivery trucks and eventually, despite being unhoused, Robertson offered Joel a full-time position. Joel would remain employed with Jimmy John’s for the next ten years, until he was no longer able to work.

At the age of 44, Joel was ready to come home – moving in with his mom, Candy, and step-father, Mike, in Raytown, MO. Joel continued working for Jimmy John’s and on his way out the door each morning, he would give his mom a kiss on the forehead. This is who Joel was. A loving son and compassionate brother who once, after what seemed like a foiled day of fishing, fashioned a makeshift fishing pole for his brother, Drew.

In July 2023, Joel was given yet another diagnosis of stage 4 head and neck cancer. True to how Joel lived his life, he was determined to fight this battle on his terms, opting for the most aggressive course of treatment. Joel wanted nothing more than to live. While undergoing 35 sessions of radiation and chemo simultaneously, Joel continued to work at Jimmy John’s, walking one mile each way to the bus stop. He never allowed the grueling side effects of his treatment, or at times the punishing weather conditions, to keep him from his commitments. While Joel was determined to fight, he had also created a bucket list of things he wanted to do, and he knew the one person he wanted along for the ride – his brother, Jess. Over the course of several months, Jess took Joel miniature golfing, to a Royals baseball game, as well as to the movies and bowling. For Joel, it wasn’t about the activity but the quality time he was able to spend with his brother. After a PET scan in December 2023 showed substantial growth of the cancer, Joel remained resolute in his decision to continue to fight. He was scheduled to begin his fourth round of chemo a day prior to his passing.

At the age of 18, Joel wrote an essay for a creative writing course in which he advocated for the sanctity of life as well as one man’s ability to make an impact. Joel understood the value and fragility of life and he was determined to do it his way. In his essay, Joel wrote the following words, “I acted on what my head told me was the right thing to do. I really do not care what other people think of me. We mock what we don’t understand. I know that if I had it to do all over again, I’d do it the same way.” May Joel’s words and life inspire yours.

Joel was preceded in death by his father, John Robert Hinson, and grandparents, Robert E. Hinson, Loretta Hinson, Pete J. Setzer, and Mary Ann Setzer. He is survived by his mother, Candyce (Mike) Overbay, as well as siblings Casey (Robert) Cordell, Jess Hinson, Drew Hinson, and Carley Sarno. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews: Cailyn, Claire, Reese, Micah, Campbell, and Morgan, as well as many cousins, aunts, and uncles.

A service to honor and celebrate Joel’s life will be held on Saturday, May 18th at 10am at Ivanhoe UCC at 6512 Woodson Rd, Raytown Rd. Raytown, MO 64133. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Street Support KC at,in memory of Joel M. Hinson.


  1. Angie Kraft on May 17, 2024 at 9:39 am

    I’m truly sorry for your loss. I worked with Joel at Jimmy John’s. He was such a an inspiration going through the battle he was and continued to come to work everyday! I really enjoyed when Joel was there, I am truly grateful I got to meet him. He will be missed by his Jimmy John’s Family 💜

  2. Joseph Rodriguez on May 17, 2024 at 4:56 pm

    I met Joel cause my good friend Jess. Jess’ older brother Joel was a few grades above us and I was somewhat awestruck. His father John, proudly showed off a high school report card with all A’s and zero days missed! I remember when Joel beat out the Beatles “Blackbird” on acoustic guitar. I couldn’t believe someone I know can play that song! Joel knew all the good tunes (Rodriguez) and good movies too. Then that one time he broke my trampoline cause his big ass lol Joel Hinson, big part of the Canterbury crew

  3. Mary Harvey on May 18, 2024 at 11:27 am

    Joel was such a sweet and loving child and then teenager. I have so many memories of Joel and Jess and Casey. What a trio. I was always amazed at how smart and talented he was. Jared would always say Joel was too smart for him-ha!
    My prayers and love are being sent to you Casey and your entire family.
    I just found the obit this morning or I would have been there to show my love and offer prayers.
    He is with Grandma Mary Anne so all is right.

Leave a Condolence