I went to Madison Wisconsin in 1995, as a student with Phillip Barak. I thought I was there for just a Maters in Soil Chemistry, but sometime in 1998 Phil asked me if I would be interested in a PhD. He had funding for a 5 year long project researching soil acidification processes in agro-ecosystems… I was elated… But I was even happier when I had the opportunity to meet the man behind the plots I would be working with. We met and Josh was as pleasant as people can be; plus he seemed humble, happy, and tireless.
I think it was that fall when I joined in for the first time in the fall sampling at the WICST trial… That was some of the hardest field work I have ever done. This man was crazy! We worked for several days that left every muscle in my body aching and I was sore for days. But, it was such a pleasure! And Josh was there, with us pushing probes into ground that was hard as rocks, and he was tireless and smiling. Seeing the way Josh had set up his WICST plots at the Arlington Research Station made me think about how people like him pave the way for people like myself and countless others. A vision for work that endures and yields answers to questions he did not have the day he started it. In my mind Josh’s name will forever be a synonymous with the trademarks of great people; being humble, hard working, joyous, friendly, stoic, and true to themselves and the people that surround them day in and day out. Working with Josh’s team was always a huge pleasure too; he had a keen sense of how to surround himself with great people. It’s been fun and a huge pleasure to know Josh Posner. I feel very lucky.
To the family, my deepest condolences and at the same time the hope that you can come back from this and celebrate how lucky we all have been to be touched by his wisdom and infectious optimism.
Since I am now in Guatemala, I am sad I will not be able to participate in the celebration but it is in my calendar to light a candle on his name and have a beer that day!
As he said one day… he lives in our memories