We received some sad news today that a friend passed away from cancer. Joe was the first person I met in the area when we moved out here 10 years ago. Before we moved out, actually.
When we were looking to move from Illinois to upstate NY, you wouldn’t believe how many real estate agents blew us off. I would call about listings and they would seem interested in working with me, but no one followed up or called back or sent the lists of properties they said they would. Finally I stumbled on Joe’s company and he listened, sent me stuff and we established a relationship across states.
Joe was pretty unflappable about anything, and over the years I worked with him on my flipping houses, as well as our own purchases. There were some bitter cold days where we were traipsing through bank-owned homes with no heat on or in warmer weather going into a house with a fridge with spoiled food. We never knew what to expect when opening a door, but he never complained, ever. He seemed to enjoy my positivity as well, which you really need in that business, and discussed Buddhism from time to time. After I sold my first flip house, he gave me a book by Thich Nhat Hanh. It was thoughtful of him to remember our discussions, but no surprise because he listened.
Joe would have liked me to become a real estate agent, but I wasn’t too interested in that part of real estate, just making the homes shine again. He also invited me several times to his networking meetings that occurred at 7:00 am (!!) on Wednesday mornings. I always laughed those off because the only networking I wanted to do that early was with a cup of coffee. He always had the time for an email question or just seeing how we were doing. When renovating the houses, he would stop by to see progress and check in. John and I would joke because it seemed whenever we were around and about in town, it was likely we would run into Joe since he enjoyed a lot of the same things we did.
Joe was also our agent for buying Radiance Manor – and I don’t have to remind you of the whole fiasco with that transaction. Through all those months, Joe was the only one who had our backs and listened to us. I’m sure over the years there were times when my name popped up on his cell or via email that he probably rolled his eyes, but you would never know it from his manner. He always had time.
We sold our old house last June and again worked with Joe for that. One week after the house closing, Joe went in for a lump in his throat and was diagnosed with esophogeal cancer. He went in for staging and found out the bad news that it was stage 4 and had metastisized to his lungs. He still seemed in incredibly good spirits. We saw him shortly before he started chemo and he had a sense of humor about it and was positive – as you would expect from him since he never complained or got angry.
Unfortunately, treatment did not work and Joe entered hospice in February and just passed away. He will be greatly missed. Joe was one of the kindest people and he had the rare quality of being able to actually listen. A couple years after we moved out here, Joe and I were talking about the search to find our first home when we first got in touch. I remember him saying to me “I don’t know why the other realtors couldn’t help you. You were very clear with what you wanted” Well, the key was he listened. Really listened.