A Toast of Remembrance: Fair Haven’s Joe T.

Everything’s gonna be alright
Everything’s gonna be alright
Nobody’s gotta worry ’bout nothing
Don’t go hitting that panic button
It ain’t near as bad as you think
Everything’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright

Kenny Chesney ~ Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

They called him Joe T. He never hit the panic button. And he was more than alright … with a smile, a nod, a laugh and a reassuring pat on the back.

He was a loving husband. He was a devoted dad. He was a dedicated volunteer. He was a calming presence. He was a jokester. He was a beacon of hope, inspiration, fun and laughter. He was a loyal friend. He was just plain, no-nonsesense full of life. And, last year, he lost his life. But, longtime Fair Havenite and Fire Department/First Aid Squad guy Joe Truex lives on in the memories he made with purpose. He was toasted by loved ones in a “never forget” tribute party on Friday night, the one-year anniversary of his death, organized by his wife, Ethel Hodgkiss Truex.

Of the mind that remembering Joe with the same purpose that he made the memories he treasured, Ethel asked that all gather “to raise a few glasses in memory of Joe. This last year (No, I can’t believe it has been a year) has been full of so many emotions and so many changes and denial has been a huge part of it. I cannot and do not till this day want to believe my husband is really gone …”

She thanked family and friends for being there for her and one another and remembering Joe and carrying on in his true spirit.

“Most importantly I would like to thank Joe for the last 26 years of being my better half,” Ethel said. “He without a doubt touched so many peoples lives while he was here he always had the ability to make someone laugh and if not laugh then at least smile even on their worst days. His sense of humor was contagious and his ability to calm down any situation was amazing. He taught me always where’s there a will there’s a way … and he would reassure me everything would be alright.”

And it will be, Ethel, because a community and family spirit like Joe’s will forever be emulated.

I remember, in particular, a conversation I had with Joe about his family and his life in Fair Haven. He told me that when he got together with Ethel, it was made clear to him, happily clear, he added, that his being part of her family meant that he was also going to be part of a community family, too — one all about neighbors, friends and, of course, the Fair Haven Fire Department. He hopped on that rescue rig, took a long, life-affirming ride and loved every minute of it.

And we all loved him back and thank him for everything — his service, his friendship, his neighborly way, his embracing compassion and care, and for his embodiment of community.

Thank you, Joe. You are remembered. Cheers!

Take a look and see what the remembering was all about (and don’t forget to click to enlarge each photo!) …