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June 1, 2020
Joe was on the board of directors for the potato genebank at Sturgeon Bay for 14 of the years I have been there.  We also went collecting wild potato together in the 4-Corners states a few years, which gave opportunity to get to know him (and Sylvia!) a bit better. 

A few stories from traveling together collecting…

We decided to eat lunch on the road between sites, so as he was driving, I was offering him things from the groceries we had along from the passenger seat.  How about some tomato on your sandwich?—no, don’t really care for tomato.  How about a piece of chocolate?—no, don’t really like chocolate.  There was a pause while I’m thinking, “what kind of guy doesn’t like tomatoes or chocolate?” and I start to say, “Joe, I’m beginning to wonder about you and whether you even like…” when he cut me off sharply saying, “Hold on a minute, Bamberg--  remember that I’ve got 7 kids”.   

Then there was the time that we were having a hard time finding lodging late at night in Colorado, and he saw on the map a town of 8,700-- surely big enough that there would be a motel.  After going a few miles off the interstate down doubtful gravel roads we came to a lonely intersection where there were 5 or 6 houses and a post office.  Joe looked at the map again and said, “Oh baloney… that’s the elevation”.

Joe liked to lodge at Super-8.  We got to a town in Utah where there was one at about 10PM, but there was no vacancy.  Even though it was my turn to drive, I said it would be fine to go a couple of hours more to the next town where there was a  Super-8.  Max promptly stretched out in the back seat and fell asleep.  As we started down the highway, Joe says, unexpectedly, “Yeah, I met Sylvia at a dance…”, and I realized with amusement that he had recognized the need to keep me awake at the wheel, so took responsibility for that by launching into the story of his life.

Here’s a Joe-ism we still use today… “I’m saving my thirst”.  It seemed a strange idea to Max and me, especially when we got to Chinle to stop for supper and Joe was chagrined to realize that after all that discipline to delay gratification, on the Navajo reservation all he could get was fake beer.

A wonderful man

May 30, 2020
Hello Mark and family,

I admired and loved Joe throughout my professional career.  Not for just being a great gentleman....but for how he mentored me and others, when I was young and starting into potatoes in 1980.  I learned so much from Joe about his potato passion but it was beyond that.  He helped everybody, loved everybody, and there was a lot of energy in Aberdeen, Idaho where he set into motion his passion for agriculture and rural neighborhoods.  I wish I could spend more time with very sorry for your loss and many thoughts and prayers in his passing.  I didn’t know he had just lost the love of his life....but no doubt they are together.  And easy to know they truly loved each other by the great family left behind..

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