I've never met a Joe I didn’t like. People named Joe are nice. Well at least the ones I've met.
That fact accrued to me as I thought about the loss of my dear friend Joe Williams. A fatal heart attack took his life this week at the age of 57.
Joe was the best person on the planet. He taught me a lot about marketing and media but the most important thing I learned from Joe Williams was how to live a life with grace and dignity. He was a quiet kind man. He was true to his family, friends, co-workers and his southern heritage. There was no flash or big talk with Joe just solid facts.
Even when he had a right to be mad, he remained calm. Talking to him could still my anxiety and fears. He made me feel safe and that everything would be okay.
No matter what, I knew I could count on Joe. For twenty-three years he was my biggest encourager. When no one believed I could climb the next professional mountain, he did. Joe made me feel like I could do the impossible. And when I did champion a challenge, he was my biggest cheerleader.
We were an unlikely pair to become friends. I have my roots deep in the hills of Arkansas where being a little red neck is a good thing. Joe was a true southern gentleman. I loved the Hogs & he was Hotty Toddy all the way.
Joe would always want to hear about my latest adventure. He lived life safe and I on the other hand pushed the limits. I always felt like when I would tell him about my latest shenanigan it gave him a way to experience excitement. He was proud of everything I accomplished and he should have been since he had a hand in molding me professionally and ever personally.
At times it seemed liked he wished he could throw caution to the wind and be more like me. His favorite story about me was when I came bare footed to his executive office at Time Warner in Memphis, TN. I snuck in the building and onto his floor with my freshly painted toes. When I got to his office there was Joe standing there in disbelief as he looked at my feet. "What was an Arkansas girl to do, I asked him?" He laughed then and several times later as he told that story over and over to people.
I made Joe laugh. That was my gift to the relationship. He gave me the feeling that I was unique and capable of conquering what the world threw at me….even cancer.
We didn’t see each other or talk often but oh I am so sad to think that I will never again hear his words of encouragement nor his laughter. I have lost a dear friend. I miss you Joe.
P.S Joe, I know you are trying to teach the heathens who made it to heaven some southern graces. Please be kind to the Arkansas red necks.
Tick Tock….we are all terminal.
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