I am stunned, having just learned this morning of the passing of this huge force of nature. My real condolences to the family and friends who knew him so much better than I, because his passing leaves a real hole in my universe. I can only imagine how it must feel to you all.
Joe was a teacher for me at East Carolina, and he continued mentoring me with writing projects and professional advice as the years went on. We had emailed and chatted in late 2013 after his website went up again.
I went on to teach my students so many things I had learned from him, and it was only today, when I went looking for his email on his facebook page, so that I could share a student's story with him, that I found out that I could no longer do that. The friend I'd felt by my virtual side for so many years is no longer there.
So I write here, adding my name and memories to so many others who I know have already shared them with you.
I know he believed in angels. He was one for many of his students in his lifetime. I was honored to know him and have him affect my writing and my life so strongly.