The last few days have been a reminder of how much joy this time of year can bring, but also the sadness of missing those who have passed–whether it be recently or long ago.

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I got the news about Joe Strauss earlier today as I was driving back from a different memorial service out of town. Three deaths this week–the mother of a Brother, the father of a friend, and now a media friend. Driving in the car with the rain pelting the windshield allowed for ample opportunity to think about all of them and the impact they left on their family and friends.

Joe was a public figure and reached so many with his work,  but I was especially reminded of how fitting something Jason Heyward said recently–paraphrasing, but “if you’re not missed then you didn’t do your job right”.

Joe will be greatly missed.

The tributes have already been many–speaking to his work and to the man he was. How he bravely battled leukemia this last of his 54 years.

Others knew him longer and more closely, but I was fortunate enough to have at least spent the last few seasons at the ballpark to see him in action and shared the radio airwaves with him a few times as well.

Different approaches and style, but Joe Strauss always had my respect.

And as much as he embraced being “El Diablo”, there were also times when he was just Joe asking to see how life was treating you or offering an unexpected compliment. It was always appreciated.

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I will remember his sly grin and knowing nod of the head as he listened or garnered an expected reaction.

His usual attire of a pullover, cargo shorts, and ball hat–usually of the VCU variety.

The quips, in particular on Twitter which appeared to be custom made for his snark. I can hear him giving me trouble for making a pro wrestling reference, but Joe would’ve been a great heel announcer.

Like the late Bryan Burwell before him, his voice in the media landscape will not be replaced. It was unique and natural, unforced or created.

Joe Strauss was authentic.

photo credit: Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI




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