special tributes to my father - page #2

Some Thoughts About My Best Friend, Joe:

As I am writing this note, the third day after hearing of Joe's passing, I remain in shock. I still find it almost impossible to fathom that he is no longer with us on Earth. I knew Joe for roughly 18 years, and although the number of times we socialized together were but a few and although, up until this past year and a half, we hardly saw each other for several years, I regarded him as my best friend and loved him like the brother I never had.

Wondering how to list his father's occupation on the death certificate, Justin asked my advice as to what would best to reflect his life's record: Should it be "entrepreneur"; or "business executive"; or something else that might capture his dynamism. I thought but momentarily. The answer was obvious: "BEST MAN!", for, in fact, Joe was the very best man I ever knew in my whole life.

The Golden Rule as expressed in the Old Testament's Book of Micah states something to the following effect: "What does the Lord thy God require of thee except to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God." Joe was the very human embodiment of that Rule. He more than fairly gave of himself to his employers, and he devoted himself to his family. The time that remained beyond that was engaged in helping others. If he ever had a hobby or collected anything or followed sports, I never knew it. His avocation and his calling were to be of service to his fellow human beings--in any way he could. He counseled the homeless, the widowed, the divorced, the orphans, the pregnant-but unmarried teenager, the sick.

I can remember so many times, often when we were walking or riding the Long Island railroad that he would tell me about someone with a problem that he was trying to help: a woman whose husband had left her and taken serious advantage of her in a divorce settlement, asking me take a look at a bad contract that someone had signed, a place for homeless expectant mothers that was having difficulties with the landlord about putting up a sign to advertise, a person in very ill health--just to name a few.

Joe had big dreams, not in search of wealth for himself, but of doing things that would enable him to help more people.

I remember, almost 11 years ago, when my wife became very ill. She has always been the centerpiece of my existence, and I was almost totally paralyzed by the fear of losing her and having to raise my 3 young daughters without her. Joe came by daily to see me, talk to me, walk with me. When she was about to undergo surgery, he came with me to the hospital, kneeled down and prayed over her, sat with me through the long ordeal--feeding me and encouraging me for many hours and not leaving my side until we learned that the surgery was complete and she was in recovery. I don't think I could have made it through that day and that period without his support, and I will never forget it.

I remember roughly 2 years ago, before he started working at NYU, that he visited me in my office. He had heard that I was experiencing breathing difficulties. Much to my amazement, he walked in carrying an electronic air cleaner that he bought for me--telling me how well they worked. Oh how I wished that I could have found something to bring to him in the hospital that would have eased his breathing difficulties.

When we were working together at NYU, Joe realized how very cold my previous office was. He literally took the sweater off his back and insisted he would not return to what he claimed was his much warmer office area until I had agreed to put it on. He was always like that. If we were very busy and had no time to break for lunch, he would run out and return with a cup of yogurt, bananas, or something else and insist that I needed to eat to keep up my strength. On a daily basis, he would stop at the water cooler and bring me cups of spring water, telling me I would get dehydrated if I didn't drink. I could go on incessantly, but no one could have a better, more devoted friend.

Joe talked often of his wife and children, saying how blessed we both were to have such wonderful, devoted families. He was especially proud of his sons. Joe was a rich man because Justin, Kristian, Tad, and Claudia were his wealth. They all follow his example and hold true to his ideals and values.

With Joe's passing, my life will always have a void, and I will never understand why he was called so soon. My wife, however, has said to me, "Did you ever wonder whether God may have a plan? Perhaps, if God planned to take Joe so early, he sent him to NYU so that you would have so much time to spend with him in the last year and a half." I'd like to think that was the case.

I'd also like to think that that plan includes Joe continuing to do what he has always done best. I can envision him at the Gates of Heaven, with an outstretched arm and a beaming face, helping the old and the infirm up the steps and into the right rooms. He'd be a natural for the job. I'd also like to think of him looking down from above and knowing that, while we all miss him, we'll all be OK and the better for having known him.

Mark Brody

Attorney, Best Friend of my father, Long Island, NY

Joe came over to my house when I was diagnosed with Cancer - Mosothelioma. He read me James, anointed me with oil, and prayed. I believe Joe cured me of cancer by his faith. Joe was a great person at work, but an even greater Christian. I am dealing with the death of my own Brother who died July 15. His funeral mass is this week in Minnesota. Otherwise I'd be there.


I worked very closely with Joe from January 2002 through March 2002, sadly only three months. But in those three months we worked side by side in a dingy little office space with borrowed furniture, borrowed computers and a broken chair. Joe insisted that he have the broken chair and I have the more comfortable one. We did have a conference table but at one point the table left us and we scrambled around finding a replacement and also finally a proper chair for Joe.

I for my whole life wanted to be close by to God and watch as the secrets unfold -- allows believing that we must be on the right track in our evolution of maturity in God's eyes. How do I do this, well I work with brilliant scientists. God didn't make me a brilliant scientist but he did make me an administrator and gave the gift of working with these scientists so that they could make his discoveries. So I was standing up for my beliefs and God sent me Joe.

Joe was my guardian angel he told me that I was indeed right to stand up for what I believed. He told me I was special and that everything was going to be alright. He coached me on how to deal with difficult people and he showed me that to be effective in my work I had to maintain my authenticness and that I had to slow down and not pursue so hard. I had to meet people's minds by offering myself up as a human being with my faults; in doing so I would never judge others but help them. I could never then loose sight of my goal and on the way I would have wonder rich relationships with all those around me.

I miss Joe. He told me I would be "running the place" one day! I told him I didn't want to I was happy now being who and what I am. Joe smiled and told me I should always remember how very special I am. I will be with you Joe soon and we'll chat about process improvements down on earth! It will be great fun. See you soon my friend xox


NYU Co-worker, NYC

Joe and I saw each other several times a week, as we accomplished our work with HIPAA for NYU. We attended more meetings than imaginable, some lasting several hours. As HIPAA Project Manager, Joe was an "ex officio" committee member on at least 10 committees. Although that meant that he had to attend back-to-back meetings, often at opposite ends of the extended NYU "campus", he was a good sport, always uncomplaining of the trek. We had especially nasty weather this last winter - cold, grey, blowy, snowy, and wet. I'm the resident "frozen turnip" - always cold - I carry a wool sweater on the hottest summer days to fend off the air conditioning. And Joe always was so solicitous. He shared with me that Claudia also suffers from the cold, and that he very much worried about that. He actually appeared one day - out of the blue - with a bottle of Greens+, an elixir he promised would cure my coldness. He explained that Claudia takes it every morning. He said he couldn't bear to see me suffer, swathed in a winter coat in May! I shall remember Joe always as most considerate, attentive to others' needs, and the first to say "I'll help." He was a gentleman and a gentle man in every respect. Our world is that much colder for Joe having left it.


HIPPA Co-worker, NYU, NYC

To Joe I remember you from all of your sweet hellos. Early in the morning you would greet everyone you know. From 23rd street VA Building up to the 10th floor. You’d wish anyone a good day and even hold those crazy elevator doors. Being in your presence always left me wanting more. It’s hard to find a guy as sweet. Most people build up walls. I feel a certain pain every time I walk past you closed office door. But I know its not the end. for my friend. Because if any human. it should be you walking happily in the halls. Of our creator. The great lord. God Bless you Joe


HIPPA Co-worker, NYU, NYC

Although I did not know Joe that long I did have the pleasure and privilege of working with him throughout NYU's HIPAA project. I had received a call from Joe one day recently letting me know he had not forgotten about an issue we had been dealing with. During the course of the conversation he told me he was calling me from his hospital bed and told me what had been going on with him. I was so taken by surprise. I couldn't believe that he was worried about us when he was facing his own struggle. His courage, strength and positive attitude was amazing under the circumstances and spoke to the type person that he was. Joe was an extraordinary person whose kindness, warmth, integrity and dedication will sorely be missed.

P.D. NYU Co-worker, NYC