William Joseph Cliburn, 1983-2010
“Those of you who knew Joseph know that it didn’t take long for him to impact your life.”
- Bryan Sellers, (D’arc)
Shortly after completing the role of John, he proudly kept John’s Garlach amulet as a memento.
This was Joseph’s first and last movie role before his unexpected and tragic suicide on October 6, 2010. He is survived by his beautiful wife, Kammi Lee and 3 year-old son, Joseph Lee. Joseph was set to play the supporting role of Bazooka in Scotty Whitehurst’s fan film, “G.I. Joe: Deception” in spring 2011. The film is now dedicated in his memory. The 2011 distribution version of “Cagin of Chrysaint” is also dedicated to him.
At the funeral, I was approached by Joseph’s best friend. He told me that just hours before he died, Joseph was wearing his “Garlachs” shirt as he passed. It was a shirt especially designed for the promotion of the film. One of their last conversations took place only hours before his death. The subject- how much “Cagin of Chrysaint” meant to him.
Later at the funeral I presented Joseph’s wife with a bouquet of flowers. Upon seeing me, she broke down in tears. She was deeply moved that I and another cast member who she never met before, Scotty Whitehurst, attended the funeral. Whitehurst and I both wore Garlach amulets in Joseph’s honor.
Since his death, I have had several of Joseph’s friends and family members tell me what a bright light “Cagin of Chrysaint” was in his life. In fact, the day of his death many friends and family members gathered at his home to view the film together.
As a busy filmmaker and director on set, I didn’t realize how much “Cagin of Chrysaint” impacted his life. I remember when I called Joseph after he bought the highest number of DVDs and film merchandise. I thanked him for his support and he was all too happy to give it. But I had no clue on the amount of pride and love he had for the project.
I honor Joseph’s memory with the film because, I want the world to know what an incredible and likeable guy he was. The “Remembering Joseph in Chrysaint” poster and segment was produced in spring 2011. I also had sword he used in the film engraved with his name on it. It was presented to his family in August 2011.
In addition to dedicating the film to him, I am dedicating the novel “Cagin of Chrysaint,” to him. In the novel, I gave John’s character a surname, Cloch, meaning stone or cliff in Old English. Joseph’s last name, Cliburn, is the modern English surname (anglicized) meaning cliff.
Losing Joseph has greatly impacted my view on suicide awareness, prevention, and intervention. I realize how important it is to show love and concern for the hurting of this world and give them the help they need.
In spring 2011, I decided to contact Dawn Epting, founder of Christian Suicide Prevention, to plug her ministry in the extra feature, “Remembering Joseph in Chrysaint.” Her ministry is growing to accommodate more callers and volunteers on her hotline. They offer counseling and prayer for people who are contemplating suicide.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide call the Christian Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-888-667-5947 or visit the website: