I loved Joe from the moment I met him. He never failed to make us all laugh sometimes until we cried. He had this way of making his friends feel special. It was a gift. One of my favorite memories of Joe took place one summer when the band, The Everlasting, was playing for a group of campers at 4-H camp. It was a humid night, and Joe was drumming away, working up a sweat doing all that drumming. The band finished playing their first set and decided to take a little intermission. After signing a few autographs for a few of the kids, Joe nonchalantly went and jumped in the pool(Cloths and all)! We all laughed and laughed when we saw him walk back in, dripping wet, he sat back down at the drums and began to play again like nothing had happened. Although he was grinning from ear to ear, I guess he just needed a bit of a cool down. I miss your laugh Joe, I miss all the fun we all had together. –Jaime Garrett, friend
I first came to know of Joe when he was drumming in the band at our high school. Joe made drumming cool. He held nothing back when he played. Sticks would shred, sweat would fly and sometimes drumheads and cymbals would crack. He played hard, he played fast, and it was cool! He lived life in a similar fashion. He lived freely, loved freely and gave freely...holding nothing back. Sure that meant driving all over the county tracking him down for band practice and always crossing your fingers that he'd actually remember that we had a gig, but there was something refreshing about his approach to life. And you could never be upset with Joe.... it was Joe! Yeah, I remember his great ability to dynamically make songs better and single handedly make a show more entertaining, but more importantly, I remember his approach to loving and giving to those around him... Something I'm still learning from him! - Stephen Garrett, bandmate
When I think about Joe, so many funny and good memories flood my mind. One particularly stands out and warms my heart. It happened one morning when he was at work at WLIV. I had worked all night at the hospital and had gone to the radio station to visit. I shared with him some stresses and anxieties I was going through (including some financial difficulties). He listened like such a good brother and in typical Joe Lee style began making jokes. In no time at all I was feeling better. When I started to leave, Joe walked me to my car, gave me a big bear hug and suddenly looking at me shocked said "I just remembered, Mom gave me this to give to you." He reached in his pocket and gave me $50. Now I know you are all thinking "She had to have known he was giving her his money." But honestly, I truly didn't know it was from him until I mentioned something to Mother about it. (She had no idea what I was talking about) He told me it was from Mom because he knew I wouldn't have taken money from him when I knew he was as poor as a church mouse too! I'm not sure how I found out, I don't remember but, I did find out later that he had given me all of the money he had to his name that day. That is the kind of loving, giving brother that he is. He is the kind of guy that will give you his last penny just so you won't be without. He looks for no recognition or reward. What a wonderful example he is for me and everyone that had the privilege of knowing his sweet spirit here on earth.
I happen to highly value a good sense of humor. Fortunately, Joe and I have a very similar sense of humor and find the same things funny. This has been the source of endless entertainment. I am very grateful to have shared that with him. –Holly, sister
I have so many memories of my brother that choosing one or two is hard, but one memory that stands out is the very last time I saw Joe. It was in early Sept 1998, so about a month before he died. I lived in Knoxville and came home to visit one weekend. Mom and I had attended a clogging event and stopped by Moogie’s Restaurant, where he worked, to see Joe on our way back home. I was getting married in a couple of weeks and remember him joking around about that. He was laughing with co-workers and acting like usual, having fun doing whatever he was doing. I told him that I’d see him in a couple of weeks at my reception. As we walked into the parking lot, we heard a knocking at the window and looked up to see Joe pressing his bare belly against the window and laughing as hard as he could. He was having fun and made me laugh—very much like the rest of his life. He didn’t come to my reception a few weeks later, so that night at Moogie’s was the last time I saw my brother alive.
If I could talk to my brother, I’d say “I’m sorry I wasn’t there for the birthday dinner the day you died—it’s one of my greatest regrets, not seeing you one last time. I wish I could have known you as an adult. I wish I could have seen your musical talent progress and see you share it with more of the world. I wish you could have interacted with your nieces—they would have loved fun Uncle Joe. I miss you, I love you and I know that I’ll see you again someday.” -Vickie , sister
deep down inside
it always seems
to make me cry
tears of joy
pain n grief
they never seem
to take relief
my parents n friends
don't seem to know
my brothers loss
will always grow
one day i hope
to see him again
laughing n playing
with his new friends.
Patrick , brother
There are so many good memories I have trouble choosing one to send you. One that always makes me laugh though: We would go swimming at our friend's pool and it never failed Joe would find the smallest float tube and demonstrate how it barely fit around one thigh, then toss it out in the water and dive right through it. It was his own magic trick that never ceased to amaze us all. -Eric, brother
The movie Tommy Boy will forever make me think of my brother, Joe. He would recite parts from the movie and would put on a small jacket and sing "Fat guy in a little coat" :o) He had a way of winning almost anyone over regardless of what "group" they were in and he loved making people laugh. –Leslie, sister
Your One HugV1
Your nineteen and I am two
Here's my memory of you:
I remember how it was that day
Granny and I, sweeping away
The blaring sirens pierce the air
As we're running, I feel scared
This hill seems far too big for me
Fighthing against reality
I promise you, I really tried
Though you may think I only cried
But my heart was broken when you died.
Your one hug meant the world to me
Gave me peace of mind.
Somehow you heard my plea
Though i once felt left behind
Your love surrounds me now
and though I don't know how
Your one hug made all the difference in my life
Since you left I felt afraid
Hurt, abanndoned, and betrayed
Confused and desprate to know why
Why we had to say goodbye.
I need you to be here with me.
I need you oh, so desperately.
I feel electricity
is this how it's s'posed to be?
Then you're there, and I'm free of care
I feel you comfort me