Joe was a quiet, warm, mature, intelligent, college sophmore when I first met him in Alpine, Texas in 1973. We became friends during my freshman year at SRSU along with my fellow "Army Brat" childhood friend, Robert Carignan. Joe, Robert and I immediately gravitated to each other; the three of us struck up a wonderful friendship. We hiked in the desert, had lunch in the school cafeteria and had off campus "fun" with his unique circle of close friends. Our assorted group consisted of long haired young men from all over Texas, The cowboys/girls in Alpine Texas would affectionally call us "hippies". We stood out from the general student population in that we were environmentalists, science majors, "liberal" and NOT studying Range Animal Science or "how to be a successful cowboy/girl". It was a time to remember! Joe and his BBNP naturalist, girfriend Peggy Ponton, were an example of a healthy, mutually supportive, loving relationship. We all admired the mature,deep commitment they had for each other and to Big Bend National Park. They also explored the canyons of Copper Canyon in Mexico. They were adventurers and teachers and we loved sharing their life.
Joe came back into my life in 2008, where we became reacquainted via Classmates.com and then later on Facebook. We talked on and off throughout the years, however I never had the opportunity to meet with him in person again. (Of course, I am also married to a wonderful man from Wyoming).
I am thankful that I had that time with Joe, when I was young, impressionable and the desert was a new magical place. His gift was his grasp of so many fields of study and knowlege. He tought me about the Maya culture, birds, geology, astronomy and how to enjoy the simple pleasure of being in the now. His appreciation of the natural world inspired me to come into my own creative being..His death has left me numb and I will miss him always. He was my Muse. I never saw this coming. I love you and wish you well, Joe. You are a part of that mysterious, magical world that surrounds us all. Thank you for being my friend.