Remembering Joe Ferrara

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Image by reeltor99 via Flickr

August is not my favorite month.

On August 5, 2008 I lost my best friend when my wife passed away suddenly. In 2009 I lost my cousin Jane Mehl after a long battle with lung cancer, and yesterday I had another reason to dislike August.

Joe Ferrara passed away yesterday.He was only 55 years old, and his death was untimely , caused by a brain tumor. Joe was a blogger and his contributions to what is loosely known as the RE.net are well chronicled. His work as a blogger is not what compels me to write this brief note today.

Joe was much more than a blogger. He was a smart man , with a large heart and a pleasant and interesting personality. He was always pleasant to be around and added positive energy to everything he did and everyone he met. That is what I will miss, and what I think the world will miss the most.

Joe’s mind was always open to new ideas, and to  open and engaging discussion . It might seem odd that one of the things about Joe that I considered most endearing was his love of conversational arguments.

Though Joe and I met in 2008, it was at ReTechSouth in 2009 that I got to host a “cage match” discussion between him and my friend Rob Hahn. Both Joe & Rob are smart guys and like me enjoy a good principled and articulate argument.  The event was a blast for the three of us, and was well received by the audience. It was only one of many great discussions I was to have with Joe, but all were extremely enjoyable and memorable because Joe was never afraid to take a position or think about someone else’s position.

For ReTechSouth 2010 we were to reprise our “cage match”, but prior to the event I found out that Joe was going to unable to participate. Later I found out about Joe’s illness, and through his partner Scott Forcino followed his struggle through the year.

I’m not a fan of cancer . Having lost my mother to a brain tumor and my father, and sister to lung cancer, I’m too familiar with the pain of the “cancer dance” where the patient suffers the disease while the family and friends suffer with them. I hate that Joe is gone, but I hope that he is at rest.

The worst thing about losing a person is the hole they leave in the world. Joe leaves a huge hole. But as long as a person is loved and remembered, they are never truly gone- and people like Sheila and Joe are remembered by all of the people whose lives they touched and changed by their very presence.

Joe met my wife Sheila before she passed away. Like Joe, Sheila was an incredible  loving and caring person but she was also a terrific hostess. If there is a place where wonderful  people go, I know they are there today.  I love you and miss you honey, but I know you’ll welcome my friend Joe and make him at home.

You guys live in my heart and memory – and the hearts and memories of others. Miss you both.

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