This picture was taken on Eric's first day of kindergarten, in 2002. Joe and his wife Bonnie were excited to see him get on the bus for the first time, so they sat at the end of their driveway and waited for the big moment!
Kids are great ice-breakers...and our kids were one of the ways that we got to know Joe and Bonnie. The were very private people, but over the years we gradually got to know and appreciate them...they were wonderful neighbors!
They meant everything to each other, and when Bonnie passed away in 2008, Joe was devastated. He gradually adjusted to the "new normal", and we enjoyed visiting him often. Over the past two years, as Joe became less mobile, we saw him every day...we took him his newspaper and made his morning hot chocolate. We enjoyed watching the Eagles and the Phillies with him...even though he was an avid Pittsburgh fan!
Over the last month, Joe's health rapidly declined, and he spent some time in the hospital before returning home under Hospice care. We, along with some other neighbors and a family friend, tried to honor his wishes by caring for him during his last days. Jim and I and a nurse were with him when he took his last breath on Tuesday morning.
There's now a "new normal" for us to adjust to...and we will miss him!