Joe and I weren't very close, in the normal sense. But it's hard not to feel a sense of closeness when you spend time on the mat together with someone. You sweat together, put hands on each other, and cause each other pain and frustration. Sometimes, without meaning to, you even injure each other. It's this very closeness that makes it hard for beginners to become regulars. Joe didn't let any of that stop him.
I hope that, when I'm 68, I have the same passion for life, and for Aikido, that Joe did.