I was helping with the cub scouts yesterday when I saw a call come in from work.  I excused myself, I was expecting the call and knew the answers to the questions that would be asked.  My co-worker said, has anyone called you, I said, “Yes, I have been on the phone a bit this afternoon and know exactly what needs to be changed.  I can tell you and then you can get it in the mail.”  She said, “No, Norma…..Joe passed away a couple of hours ago.”

What do you say when you lose an angel?

I didn’t really have much to say.  Both of us were in tears, he was a great man who meant a great deal to so many people.  There aren’t really words to express the heart ache and sorrow I felt.  Oh, how I will miss him.  He saw my need at one of the darkest moments of my life.  He saw me, and he helped me.  I loved him. Another Post About My Angel

Here is another post about this amazing man.

Back Story

I had known Joe for a little over a year when my marriage took a turn for the worse and my husband walked out the door.  He was the President of the Board of Directors where I worked.  I spoke with him periodically about staffing changes I needed to make.  I was just learning how to manage a group of employees and Joe being a former CEO, showed me how to do it with grace.

I remember the first time I had to let an employee go.  I felt sick, I knew her family relied on the money.  She wasn’t doing her job well, and for months I had been trying and trying to help her.  I said, “Joe, what else can I do, she just isn’t figuring it.”  He told me it was time.  I remember saying, “Joe, it will hurt her family, I don’t know if I am cut out for this job.”  He lovingly said, “Norma, you are the perfect person for this job, if letting someone go is easy for you, you should never be in a leadership position.  I know you are right for the job because you really care about the employees, that is what will make you great.”

Joe believed in me, and during the three years that I worked with him, he taught me countless lessons.

Trip To Disney Land

When I was in the depths and darkness around my divorce, I had decided that I would let my exhusband’s attorney draw up the paperwork, and I would just take it to an attorney to have it looked over and sign.   I really had no way to pay for it.  Don’t ask why I decided to take my boys to Disney Land.  Poor choice when you need extra money,  but the world had lost all color and we had to escape.  I figured there was no better place than the happiest place on earth….right!

What happened next really was a miracle from heaven.  One morning when I was getting the boys ready to leave the hotel I got a phone call from Joe.  He didn’t say much….he just said, “Hello”….then he asked how the boys were….. then a question that would mean the world to me.  He said, “Norma, you need an attorney to protect your boys and I want to pay for it.  I’m going to do some research because you are going to need good one, and I’ll get back to you next week.”  I just froze.  A part of me wanted to say, “No, I am fine… but feeling the panic and worry leave me I thanked him with all the gratitude of my heart.  I got off the phone that day and I cried and cried.  How easily he could have turned his cheek.  Have you ever heard of a boss caring enough about an employee to pay between $5,000-$10,000 on their behalf?  I don’t even know how much it

How easily he could have turned his cheek.  Have you ever heard of a boss caring enough about an employee to pay between $5,000-$10,000 on their behalf?  I don’t even know how much it cost.  He had all of the bills sent directly to him.  He told me it was my job to love and take care of my kids….no need to worry about the money.  He took a weight off of my shoulders and carried it for me.  I was emotionally at a breaking point and I will NEVER forget what he did for me.

A Man of Action

Joe was a man of action.  I can’t even begin to imagine the countless people that Joe helped during his time on this earth.  I know that anyone I spoke to from any walks of life loved him.  He helped countless organizations, from non-profits to churches to veterans.  He would always tell me that he really should quit working on some of the boards, but the nuns promised to pray for his wife, so as long as they were praying for her he just couldn’t stop.   An LDS coworker and myself would tease him and say that we would pray for her too so she could have Catholic and Mormon prayers as long as he didn’t quit the board at the school either.  He would laugh, so humble.  He never boasted or took credit himself, always thanked the good lord for providing for him and his family and for putting him in a position to help others.

Opinion or Action

At a dinner held to honor Joe…about 8 months ago a man got up and spoke.  He said, “There are a lot of people who share their opinion about what should or should not be done.  There are people of opinion, and then there are people that see a problem and take action.”

That stuck with me.  For many years of my life, I have been a person of opinion.  Then I met Joe, and I decided that I want to be just like him.  I want to be a person of action.  I know I won’t do it perfectly, but I am going to strive.

After all, the world probably needs at least 5 of us to pitch in where Joe left off.  Will you strive with me?

Thank you Joe

I will miss you Joe, thank you for seeing me.  Thank you for blessing me and my children.  I am a better person today because I knew you.  I feel so honored to have hugged and rubbed shoulders with one of God’s chosen.  To have been at the feet of a man who taught me how to live, love, and serve better.

 

One last thing……when Joe fell sick we (me and a coworker) bought him superman socks to use in the care facility.  That’s what you were Joe, you were my hero.  Use those in heaven……I’m sure heavenly father will love them. 

 

joe