I don't know if Joe recognized me this afternoon in his hospital bed as I held his hand and told him to rest peacefully, his friends were there with him. I was there with Kathie Young as well as Mark Chilton, Mike Nelson, Mark Kleinschmidt, Lenny Rogoff, a few others I didn't know, as we all held hands as rabbi Jennifer Feldman offered prayers for the dying in Hebrew and in English. Joe died at about 6:15 this evening.
Joe was such a friend and was so inspirational to so many of us. The last time I talked to him, it was about the marker for Peace and Justice Plaza. I asked him what he thought a good date would be to celebrate the installation of the marker. He thought that Easter Week would be as good as any. During Easter Week 1964, some civil rights protesters, trying to persuade the town council to pass a public accommodations ordinance, staged a fast there at the base of the flagpole.
I hope we can have that celebration next year in Joe's memory.
UPDATE 10/29: Thanks to Mark Chilton for posting this obituary.
UPDATE 10/30: N&O's obituary.
UPDATE 10/31: A moving tribute from historian and blogger Ralph Luker.