Joseph "Mojo" Morganfield

  • Born: April 14, 1964
  • Died: December 10, 2020
  • Location: Waukegan, Illinois

West Suburban Funeral Home & Cremation Services

39 N. Cass Avenue
Westmont, IL 60559

Tel. (630) 852-8000

Tribute & Message From The Family


Loving Husband & Father

On Thursday, December 10th, Joseph "Joe" Morganfield passed away suddenly, unexpectedly leaving the Blues World in shock and his family and friends devastated. Joseph Morganfield was deeply and profoundly loved.
Joseph was born on April 14, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. He spent his early years in Chicago with his mother, Lucille McClenton and his siblings Derrik, Dyayne, Renee, and Roslind. Joe's family lived in some of the roughest areas of the city, often under some of the harshest conditions. Joe described this time of his life as the "chaotic years." His difficult childhood would later be described in a book he was writing about his life.
When he was nine, he and his sisters, Renee and Roslind, went to live with their father, McKinley Morganfield aka Muddy Waters. Their new life with their famous father eventually took them out to Westmont, Illinois. It was there that Joseph truly began to blossom. For the first time in his young life he had stability, he had enough to eat, he had his own room, he had a large swimming pool, a host of neighborhood friends, he loved school, and he excelled in athletics.
His father wanted him to learn to play the guitar but all Joseph wanted to do was play ball. Basketball! Everywhere he went he carried that ball. And it was his excellence on the courts that made him a basketball "legend" at Westmont High School.  Newspapers started writing articles about Joe's prowess on the courts. In typical Morganfield fashion, he would razz Muddy about who's going to get the most ink in their lifetimes. And Muddy would tell everyone who would listen how proud he was of his athletically-gifted son. Joseph earned a full scholarship to the University of Northern Iowa. Joseph was eighteen years old when his "larger than life" father passed away. Once again the rug of stability was pulled out from under him. He'd had some of the happiest times in his life with his father and his family, living in the town of Westmont, surrounded by all of his friends. And now the anchor in his life was gone.  Joe's response to the tough times in his life was, "I've been through some tough sh**t but it builds character." He was always the optimist, always the guy who would get knocked down, brush himself off, get back up, and try again.
The next years of Joseph's life were the character building years.  He struggled to find his niche. He married. He had children. He worked at various jobs. He made friends from all walks of life. He joined the church. He lived and loved and worked and struggled. Yet he was always charming, always resilient, always loved. And right before his 50th birthday he decided to follow in his father's footsteps and make music. He had always wanted to be a musician and finally had the opportunity to give all of his attention to his music. He brought the same perseverance he'd demonstrated on the basketball court to the recording studio. He put in the work. He took a deep dive into the blues and became the Blues Ambassador for his father's estate. He worked with Deitra Farr to hone his vocals, and Joseph Morganfield became Joseph "Mojo" Morganfield and leader of his band, the Mannish Boyz.
He worked with songwriter Terry Abrahamson and collaborated with a variety of musicians. He worked with Grammy-award-winning producer, Michael Freeman to produce his first single It's Good to Be King. His first single made it to  Number One on the blues charts the same week he passed. Michael and Joseph were working on Joe's first album at the time of his death.
Joe recently remarried and he and his wife Deborah were building their new life together. They enjoyed "triple decker" peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, extreme boat rides, reading together, and being a part of the Chicago music scene. People would comment that Joseph was the happiest they'd ever seen him.
Joseph was not only a Blues Ambassador, he was also an ambassador for the city of Westmont, Illinois. He'd never lived far from the town where he grew up. He always had a special place in his heart for Westmont and the city of Westmont loved him right back. He and Deborah were married at City Hall in Westmont. The Mayor of Westmont officiated the ceremony. That Joseph had a big heart and was loved by so many is evident in the outpouring of love and grief at his untimely death. His sister Mercy commented, "He died while he was living his best life." And that, by any standard, is indeed a life well lived.
He is preceded in death by his father, McKinley Morganfield, his mother Lucille McClenton, his sister Renee Morganfield, and his brother Derrick Dease. Joseph is survived by his wife, Deborah Morganfield, his children Joshua, Matthews, Gabrielle, Jordan, Jade, Julissa, Bella, Analiese, and Amelia; his brothers Larry and William; his sisters Mercy and Roslind; his stepmother Marva Morganfield; his grandson Joshuan; nieces; nephews; a great-niece; and many friends and fans. Visitation Wednesday December 16, 2020 from 4-8 P.M. at Cappetta's West Suburban Funeral Home & Cremation Services 39 N. Cass Ave., Westmont.
Funeral Services and Interment will be held privately on Thursday December 17, however, the services will be live streamed at 10 A.M. on Joseph's website at www.Josephmojomorganfield.com. Info 630-852-8000 or www.westsuburbanfh.com


Services


Condolence & Memory Journal

i played basketball against joe he was all state and great i played for evergreen park just found out about joe he was nice in high school to us sorry joe tom class 1983

Posted by tom mckeating    June 09, 2021

Joe- I knew him
I rode the bus with him
I laughed with him
I watched his basketball and loved his laugh
He will always be remembered fondly
What a positive force
Prayers

Posted by Lisa maylath kempf    December 28, 2020

He was my chiildhood friend and a good person.
We play basketball and hung out together i remember going over to his house talking to MR. MUDDY WATERS about music and life his family and my family were one of the first to people of color to own a home the Hargrove's in Westmont.
I remember when the rolling stones came to his house .
He was always joe never to busy to take my call or never to big to be kind Rip my friend

Posted by Dr. Loranza Meadows - Phenix City, AL - friend   December 23, 2020

Loved to come see you play. You were always so friendly. I know you and your Dad are jamming in heaven.

Posted by Judy Harrigan    December 17, 2020

I was called to South Elementary school office when I was 9 to meet Joe and show him around. We became and stayed friends,swam in each other's pool's, played, laughed, lost touch after high school. He was a great boy and I'm sure he was a great man.

Posted by Cricket Kristie Schmidt - Friend   December 17, 2020

Joe and I grew up in the same neighborhood in Westmont. We went on to be close friends and B-Ball teammates for several years. He was a good person with a wonderful smile. We spent many days together swimming in his pool and on the B-ball court. May God rest his soul. He will be sorely missed.

Posted by Bob Porter    December 16, 2020

Our sincere condolences. Absolutely shocked to hear the news that morning. We just texted to each other on Thanksgiving. So many great memories of Joe watching him play in high school and also on stage. Playing his album every day. Will miss Mojo in Westmont.

Posted by John Dispensa - Friend   December 15, 2020

So sorry

Posted by Miriam and doug Fisher - Park ridge, IL - Acquaintance   December 15, 2020

Candle

I was like many devastated when I heard the news....shocked i fell to the floor. Joseph was one sweet, loving and caring man to me. I feel blessed to have known him. We were the best of friends. He always kept in touch with me daily to see how i was doing. I still look at my phone to see if there was a message...sadly no. I have always known such beautiful blues music would come from Joseph, he was so talented. He admitted sometimes he would sing in the shower. Most importantly prayers and my condolences to his Wife, family and all that he called his friends. I will never forget him. He will be forever in my heart.

Posted by carol williams - kenosha, WI - Friend   December 14, 2020

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around this sudden loss. I had the fortune to spend time with Joe at South School when he moved to Westmont from Chicago. We had the luxury of reconnecting through Facebook and in person when I attended one of his gigs back in Westmont more recently. As recently as a week before his untimely death, we were sharing stories 'about the good ol' days at South School'. His star was definitely on the rise and my only solace is knowing that he was as happy as I had ever seen him; new marriage, new grandson, #1 song in Chicago Blues. You've left an adoring public floundering in your wake.

Posted by John Beehler - Naperville, IL - Teacher   December 14, 2020

It was with great shock I read Jo's obituary, in our own way we were very close to Muddy's family. I pass the house that these children lived in with their Dad and Marva and think of Jo, Renae and Muddy every day because I live around the corner. They all remain forever in our hearts.

Posted by Sandra Haimann - Westmont, IL - Friend   December 14, 2020

My sympathy and condolences to the Morganfield family,friends, and fans...

Posted by Keith Kinkle - Austin, TX - acquaintance   December 14, 2020

I'm so sorry for your sudden loss. I was in shock when I heard the news. Joe was such a kind individual. He will be missed. Prayers to Joe's wife and family.

Posted by Fred Kozik - Westmont, IL - Classmate   December 14, 2020

Sending prayers and condolences to to Joe's family. I could never ask for such a Great friend, and am more than grateful and feel privileged to to have known him! Rest in Peace My Friend. The world has suffered a Great Loss.

Posted by Larry Karesh - Hayward, WI - Friend   December 14, 2020

My sincere condolences and prayers being sent and said for all his family and friends! I will never forget running with Joe and our friendship

Posted by Kelli Hammond-Spatafore - Ann Arbor, MI - Friend   December 14, 2020

Joseph You made this world shine bright with your kind soul!

Posted by Tason Thompson - Surrey - Friend   December 14, 2020


Family Album