Joe Bonafiglia died on June 6, though I didn’t find out about it until nine days later when Barb sent me a somewhat cryptic note on Facebook. I was completely taken aback by the news.
He was only 55.
The thought that he might die before me was something that had never entered my mind. Even now, several weeks later, I can barely wrap my mind around that fact that I’ll never see him again.
Anyway a couple days after learning of his death, I wrote a condolence letter to Joanne, his widow. Not having her current address, I mailed it to the funeral home after getting assurances that they would forward it to her, which I trust they did.
I planned to use that letter as the basis for a much longer post here on my blog, but after thinking it over, I’ve decided to just publish it as is, brevity being the soul of you-know-what. Here it is.
I first heard about Joe’s passing on Friday, and I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t.
It seems like only yesterday that Joe and I were working in Subsistence and discussing the latest episodes of St. Elsewhere and Moonlighting, but that was over 30 years ago. We worked in different areas then, but we shared a common goal of moving the Directorate kicking and screaming into the modern age of personal computing.
I recall the day he first showed me a dBase program, and I offhandedly remarked that it was a shame it didn’t provide any feedback to let the user know which fields had already been edited. The very next day he came back with a solution—a totally unexpected solution. That was Joe.
Later when we moved to OTIS, I was nominally his boss, although really it was more like a partnership of equals. Joe was absolutely indispensable in our efforts to expand personal computing at the center and later join those computers into a local area network.
Given how large a factor Joe has been in my life, it’s hard to believe we only worked together for about five years. In later years we kept in touch only sporadically, something that I now regret. I always thought there was plenty of time, but now time has run out.
I miss Joe’s upbeat disposition, his strong sense of right and wrong (though I don’t necessarily always agree with him)—damn it, I just miss him!
My sincerest sympathies to you and your family. I can’t tell you how saddened I am. The world is truly a sadder and a poorer place without Joe Bonafiglia.