was born and raised in Naples Florida. He was a born athlete and the best at whatever he set his mind to. As a child he grew up playing little league basketball, baseball and football. From there he grew into becoming a champion motocross racer, a nationally ranked tennis player and a World Champion Powerboat Racer! He was a true achiever and the best in anything and everything he did.
Motocross: In the ‘70’s, Joey raced on the professional motocross circuit earning $500 to $600 a week and climbing to a No. 1 ranking in the southeastern United States. His motocross career ended abruptly during practice in his mid-20s. Joey landed hard when coming off a jump and the impact forced the bike’s foot peg to pierce his knee and severing a tendon. That sidelined him for good.
Tennis: Referring to himself as a “fierce competitor,” Gratton found tennis. He picked up a racket for the first time at 28 and by the time he was 35, Gratton was the No. 1 ranked amateur player in Florida and No. 3 nationally in his age group. He regularly competed in the USTA Leagues where he and his team won the National Championship in 9.0 mixed doubles. He was looking forward to the 2012 season where he was going to start playing the national “Father/Son” tournaments with his son Brock.
“Joey was an amazing guy,” said two-time Australian Open-winner Johan Kriek, a former Naples resident and close friend of Gratton. “He was a tremendous athlete. Joey did everything to the fullest — a larger-than-life type of guy, one of the last of the Mohicans.”
On 11/11/11, Joey was taken while racing in the 31st World Championship Powerboat Races in Key West, FL. He was on his final lap with 2 turns to go, when the boat rolled. He was .5 second behind the first place boat where he had been gaining on them with each lap. The boat rolled and Joey unfortunately did not make it. His driver Steve Page was able to free himself and was unhurt. Joey drowned leaving behind his soul mate of 33 years Priscilla, twin 30-year-old sons Brock and Blake, two daughter-in-laws Michelle & Brittany, and a granddaughter Scarlett, his mother Winnie and husband Ira Mogul, brother Ron Stanley and sister Kim Gratton. He loved racing and his passion for the sport can be seen in a video titled "In his Own Words", watch it here.
“Everyone dies, but not everyone lives...” Joey Gratton Lived... and is dearly missed.
mission is to help provide the opportunity and the means by which children can actively participate in an organized sport that values personal integrity, team and leadership skills, in a fun and healthy learning environment. This is accomplished through donations of equipment and scholarships.
Joey Gratton loved kids and loved sports, so what better way to celebrate his life than to create a foundation that links the two together. The Joey Gratton Foundation will focus on creating opportunity for those who may not have the chance.