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Joseph Austin
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February 20, 2014
I first met Joe in the mid-1990s. As a young artist with no real understanding of contemporary art, Joe took me in hand and educated me about the modern genre. On many occasions over the following years he shared with me works from his collection - at his loft, at the beach, on display at his firm, and on loan to galleries, explaining the unique nuances of each piece and why they were special to him. I learned so much. More than anything Joe taught me to always look deeper and see more. I have found no educational parallel to these experiences and I credit my creative and investigative world view to the thoughtful efforts of this man, who lived a full and intentional life. Joe was a consistent mentor to me over the years and I have always considered his example one to live up to. He taught me the importance of philanthropy and community service and I reflect often on his words and the bar he set. Always one to minimize his own contributions, I know he would be secretly proud of the very real differences he made to everyone he touched during his time with us. I know the best tribute I can make to Joe will be to create a good example and set down a meaningful path that those after me can follow just as Joe laid down his own path for others like myself. He made a huge impact on my life. I will never forget him.
June 22, 2013
June 22, 2013

I was so blessed to call Joe my friend and as I process his passing there are no adequate words to describe what I feel. Our friendship began nearly sixty eight years ago in Marshalltown, IA and we always shared so much; a special bond that I shall always honor.

Joe lived his life to the fullest and with all of his accomplishments he was exceptional, as a human being. His life was lived with love, with compassion, with conscientiousness, with integrity, with understanding, with humor and with joy! He spent his life with a kind heart and always practicing good deeds.

Joe was a man of the world who loved and experienced life in a pure form. Joe never talked about his accomplishments he simply just moved throughout his life with kindness and grace. Everyone loved Joe and in the span of our life long friendship there was never an unkind word about Joe. Joe had friends everywhere and everyone loved him.

His personal values are to be commended, as he gave so much to everyone. Words cannot describe his generosity and his ability To Be! I have a plethora of memories ranging from grade school, junior high, senior high and throughout our adult life.

Without a doubt Paris, France was one of Joe's favorite places in the world and spending time with him in Paris will be forever etched in my memory. To share this magical city with Joe was so rewarding; every step was an orchestration of history and beauty beyond words.

Last September we spent three glorious weeks in the Eternal City of Rome, Italy. Another classmate, Miriam joined us for two weeks and what a guy to put up with two women. He was just amazing! Having previously lived in Rome it was a treat for me to share some off the beaten paths and of course eat our way through the city. We loved experiencing " La Dolce Vita!" Before departing Rome we joined two more friends of Joe's, Barbara and Gwen and we toured the Amalifi Coast, Positano, and Pompeii. Thanks, to Joe I have two wonderful new friends.

On Saturday, March 30th Joe called me at home and he was feeling wonderful and making so many new plans. He suggested I take Zumba Classes, as I love to dance and would be good exercise for me...only Joe! He brought up a trip to Portugal and we had to return to Italy, as there was alot more to see. Our conversation was unusually long and touched on a myriad of subjects. As we ended our conversation he said he had to go on his walk and follow the doctor's advice. I look at our conversation, as a beautiful gift from my wonderful friend.

I shall miss my dear friend more than words could express. I shall be forever grateful for the priviledge of being his friend.

With love and deep respect,

Barbara Gates McIver
Cathedral City, CA
June 13, 2013
I served on the Board of Directors of Jenesse Center, Inc. with Joe. I found him to be highly intelligent, kind, generous, helpful and handsome. I am very happy that our paths crossed in this thing called life. I will miss him.

Pat Greene
May 26, 2013
As Joe's sister-in-law's sister-in-law, I only had the pleasure of socializing with Joe a handful of times in total through the years. He was always totally present, interested, interesting, warm and engaging. I am very saddened to not have the pleasure again.
May 20, 2013
Joe and I were fraternity brothers at Coe and roommates our senior year. We were good friends and Joe was an attendent when Judy and I were wed after graduation. We had similar interests and both left Coe for law school. I recall the nights when we found ourselves in deep discussions that were about life, God, the world, Government, (and Coe campus issues). We stayed in contact over the years and made sure to connect at Coe reunions. I truly grieve his death. His common sense, efforts to the benefit of others, and ability to analyze and directly address issues and problems were unsurpassed. Joe could say more with fewer words than anyone I ever knew.
May 18, 2013
I admired Joe so much, and he set the bar so high for being both an outstanding athlete and a gifted student. He was one of the heroes on the MHS '56 Championship team to those of us on the '60 and '61 championship teams. When I got to Coe College - but well after he had graduated from there - the faculty let me know how he had set the academic standard and their expectations for students from Marshalltown. Needless to say, I came up just a bit short of his achievements. I enjoyed socializing with him at Coe Alumni events in Los Angeles and having a few "one on one" lunches when I lived there. He has left us way too soon. I send special condolences to my classmate and good friend and Joe's brother, Dave. I end this tribute with Joe's and my typical sign-off to each other when we were in e-mail contact: "Bobcats Rule!!!"
May 18, 2013
I met Joe through my husband, Katsuhisa Sakai. Joe was an avid collector of Sakai's sculptures. He was one of our dearest friends for more than 30 years. When my son Sakae was thinking about studying law, Joe gave Sakae good advice. When Sakae passed the bar, Joe celebrated with us. When Sakae got married in Vancouver last summer, Joe came to the wedding. He was Uncle Joe.

But what made Joe very special to me was that he and I were both born in March, only three days apart. So we always celebrated our birthdays together. This year, I was in Japan on my birthday. Joe e-mailed me to wish me a happy birthday. He wrote, "Your big day may be over in Tokyo, but it's your birthday here in LA. Celebrate again. Everyone here sends their best wishes for a great day!" I was looking forward to getting together with him in Los Angeles. But he past away two days later. I really miss our good friend, Joe. Love and Peace.
May 15, 2013
Joe, you will be sorely missed. I only wish I had taken more opportunities to spend time with you. I will forever remember, and fondly, afternoons at your home in Silverlake watching the plants take root. With love, Adam
May 14, 2013
We were blessed to meet and become friends with Joe on the island of Roatan. He was our neighbor up the hill. Many memories of us all on the sand volleyball court….island style. Joe was a great guy and will be sorely missed.
Emil & Gail Kuziel
May 07, 2013
I first remember Joe as part of my patrol in Boy Scouts. We had meetings in our basement and one winter day my mother commented "who was there that had such huge overshoes". Indeed, Joe's shoes were hard to fill. He was gentle, kind, highly intelligent and I thought the older he got the more handsome he became. As the sole Class of '57 starter on the '56 championship team, I loved watching him play. We exchanged e-mails a few weeks prior to his death and he seemed somewhat embarrassed at all of the attention. He sounded like he was doing so well and I am shocked at his passing. Rest in peace, Joe. You will be sorely missed at our 57th reunion of the Class of '57.
May 05, 2013
Joe and I were classmates in high school. We played basketball together both in high school and at Coe. He was a great friend and I was so sorry to learn of his passing. He will be remembered in so many ways.
May 05, 2013
Joe was a talented teammate at Marshalltown in 57, a roommate in 59 at Coe who provided guidance when needed,and a groomsmen in our wedding in 60.. he has been a friend for life...Why is someone so talented,so caring,and having so much to offer taken from our world.. Perhaps there is a greater plan for him..
May 05, 2013
I remember Joe as a great basketball player emulating such good sportsmanship for the Marshalltown Bobcats. He was such a kind lovely man and will be missed by all those who loved him.
Jeannine Loros
Class of 1959
May 05, 2013
Joe was one of the nicest human beings that I have ever known. He was calm, very intelligent, and very kind. I had the pleasure of knowing Joe since Jr. High School and being a neighbor in Los Angeles, CA. I am fortunate to have been associated with him in my lifetime as a special friend, teammate, and classmate.

Allan Rudison
May 05, 2013
We grew up in Joe's hometown and were always in awe of his athletic skills while remaining a humble scholar. Best wishes to Joe's siblings who can remain to be proud of there great brother.
May 05, 2013
What a great guy! Joe was my roomie back in 1958 at Coe College. He was straight A's and always on the Dean's list, and if it wasn't for his help I'd of never achieved my "C" average.
Joe was thoughtful and considerate and never took himself too seriously, which was right up my alley. He led Coe to many impressive basketball wins, but was never able to defeat his fellow Sigma Nu's in waste-basket games. At least I had the chance to get together with my 7 foot friend a few times since our Cedar Rapids days.
Thanks for being you, Joe.
April 21, 2013
I met Joe in 1981 when his brother, David, and I started dating. A few years later he was of one of the two people to sign our ketubah. (Wedding agreement). I knew how important Joe was to David and how meaningful it was for him to have Joe be a witness at our wedding. Over the years, as I slowly got to know Joe better I came to realize what a truly special person he was.

Joe always treated me like a member of the family and included me in all his communications with his brother and sister. He always made me feel welcome and did not treat me as an “outsider”. He did not appreciate small talk or gossip and I learned quickly to keep my mouth shut when appropriate, which can be a challenge for me.

Joe was extremely considerate and never failed to remember my birthday with a card and good wishes. His thoughtfulness and kindness came naturally to him and he never acted like it was any big deal. One Christmas a few years ago he invited my parents to Christmas dinner and set up the whole seating arrangement so that my 93 year old father did not have to walk down any stairs. When my mother had major surgery a number of year ago, he sent her a beautiful plant that is still living, even though both my parents are now gone. My father took loving care of the plant and both my parents often commented how much they liked Joe.

Joe's generosity was genuine and he never expected anything in return. Over the years he treated us to many, many things and made contributions too numerous to count, nor would he want us to. One in particular does stand out though and I feel it must be mentioned. In 2010 he took all of his nieces, nephews, brother, sister and extended family to Yosemite where we stayed for an incredible 4 days at the Ahwahnee. We had a wonderful time and the memories will be with us forever. One particular memory I share just with him was when he and I took a walk to get a break from the rest of the family and shared a moment talking and enjoying the sunset.

Joe was an avid traveler over the last dozen or so years and we were lucky enough to be his guests during some of his trips. One year he, Ann and I went to Mexico together and while we females out numbered him, he was a good sport and indulged us in our need to shop. There may have been a few tense moments on that trip, but luckily I seem to have forgotten them. He was extremely hospitable and invited David, the kids and me to join him in Roatan where we spent a wonderful week on the beach. He also invited David and me to join him in Paris for a week where he treated us to a Czech Opera because he knew I liked Opera. In retrospect it probably wasn't one of the highlights of his trip but he never let on. Sitting with him at a café for hours people watching, talking, and drinking wine was a highlight and another fond memory I will always cherish. Another time he joined David, our kids and me in Spain where we spent a lovely few days with him exploring the Alhambra and Granada.

Many people have mentioned Joe's accomplishments and while they were phenomenal, it is his generosity, kindness, and consideration for others that defined him and it is that loss that is causing the pain in my heart. Joe, I thank you for allowing me to be part of your incredible life.
April 19, 2013
Joe was a very kind and giving person. May you take comfort in knowing that this special Angel is watching over you.
April 19, 2013
My husband and I are truly saddened by the news of Joe's passing. Have been friends with he and his sister and brother since high school days and move to California. He was a great guy who will be sorely missed.
April 15, 2013
Joe was a very caring person. He was also so much more. Words are inadequate. Peace
April 08, 2013
Joe was in every way my brother beloved and I am so grateful for all the years of friendship we shared. What he leaves for us is a lesson about how to live a full,meaningful life. I shall miss my friend but I hold in my heart and my memory the pure joy of just knowing and sharing with him so many wonderful years and such precious memories. I am so thankful that he was in my life.
April 08, 2013
I want to share my sympathy and grief at Joe's passing with his family and friends. He was always special to me and well remembered tho' I haven't seen him since our high school days. We did communicate last year by email for which I am grateful. The heavens just got a little brighter.
April 07, 2013
I was Joe's classmate and roommate at Harvard Law and remained friends with him until he passed away. A lot has been said about Joe in his obituary, some of which I did not know. I can only add that, altho he didn't really look the part, he was also one heck of an athlete--I played baseball and basketball with him on occasion and he was very talented. We will all miss him very much.

Mark Peery
April 07, 2013
Joe was first a great mentor and then great friend. His laid-back sense of humor about life and defiance of categorization will be with me forever. I hope he is somewhere surrounded by contemporary art that is as fascinating and enigmatic as he was.
April 07, 2013
I was Joe's FIRST client-arranged by my father thru Phil Verleger as they were colleagues. He asked for someone'sympathetic' and with a social conscience to handle my divorce! I was his ONLY divorce case, but we
continued a friendship that lasted more than45 years! Close friends does not describe how much Joe meant to me. He would hand me water as a LA Marathon volunteer and surprise me at the finish line! I can't believe
his untimely death-I'm glad he read my digital Easter card
before that fatal walk, but it is really no way to try and
remember such a special person-he would share his 'restaurant' and bakery finds in our neighborhood-and the LA "scene' always
provided us with material for 'mirth.' To say Joe was totally unique is to state the obvious--there are no words to describe Joe's presence and significance in my life-or the many contributions he made not just to me but to many.
I miss him more than words can say-and I am sure I am
not alone in this.
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