So we made our way home and left a few days later to attend a Celebration of Life for him. There was no funeral because he donated his body to science, a sort of unselfish final act of generosity so that something good could come of his passing. That's the kind of man he was.
His wife of 50 years and I grew up together in that small town and have been 'forever friends' as we went our separate ways. She and Joe retired and moved back into her family home overlooking the Ouachita River just above the Village of Harrisonburg. It is a beautiful and tranquil place far removed from the fast pace of city life. And it was well suited to his naturally curious and friendly way with people.
Harrisonburg is also where Joe began his career coaching basketball, all the while continuing to grow his academic career, and eventually moving to college and university campuses in a number of cities. In each place they landed, they made new friends. It was their nature to do so.
A lot of those friends also came to Harrisonburg to celebrate his life. We can easily understand why they came, they too loved the man.
I took the liberty to bring a camera to capture some of the event to show to those who could not be there.
Here is the link to the video I assembled:
I hope you enjoy it.