Hasta pronto, Joshua…
Hasta pronto, Joshua…
Josh – In the summer of 1967, you came to St. Louis to camp out at my house, just as Dave Michelmore, Larry Dilg, and I were also using my house as a staging area for our departure to Mississippi. We were preparing to tutor black kids who were about to integrate white Mississippi schools that fall in the last year of the implementation of Brown v. Board of Education. I have no memory of exactly what you were doing in St. Louis or where you were headed.
The legend in my family, however, is that after the three of us took off for the long drive to the Deep South, you remained in residence for several days at my house. Your ebullience and warmth, of course, won over my family. But my mother and sister never got over your propensity to traipse through the house wearing only a towel, as you strided nobly from the shower in the hall bathroom to the back bedroom which you had staked out.
At this stage of life, you are entitled to fantasize that they were awestruck at the display of your hyper-masculine varisty crew physique. However, the punch line of the family legend actually relates more to the display of unparalleled New Rochelle chutzpah.
Either way, your out-sized persona left an indelible mark on my family, just as you have with me – with your endless empathy, your keen intelligence, your lifelong commitment to walk the talk, your unsanctimonious pretension-puncturing humor, and your salt of the earth grin.
It was wonderful to see you in California for the last big round number birthday, and my thoughts are with you and Jill every day now.
Peace and love,
It will be difficult for us not to think about Josh whenever visiting Madison. We will always feel he will be there and would look for him near to the Union place in the lake waterfront, where he used to seat on Fridays with friends and students. It has been a privilege for me to work with him learning of his scientific talents, technical approaches, sincerity, honesty and commitments to help the poor. He also used to round great discussions with a tremendous sense of humor we will miss: I never came across with a person describing so nicely how difficult is to eat a salteña in Bolivia without ending in a mess, very pictorially. I am sure he will be missed by many of his dear friends and colleagues, disciples and those end-users that benefitted from his approaches and thinking.
Josh came from a family of fighters for the well being of people and we are sure is leaving a nice legacy among you all also with his achievements and commitments in this direction.
I communicated this sad news over the phone to many friends that knew and respected him in here. All requested me to transmit their sincere condolences to all of you: Tito Rodriguez, Edmundo Espinoza, Waldo Telleria, Humberto Alzerreca, Einstein Tejada and Ricardo Alem, among others.
Our solidarity to all of you in these difficult moments for all of you.
I have never been able to shake the odor of the Deke bar from my memory. Despite the many noble thoughts we shared there. Despite the rock and roll music we caned to there (‘wait till the midnight hour’, ‘standing in the shadow of love’, ‘satisfaction’). Despite the sweet memory of all the girls we ogled there. What remains: the smell of stale beer. That just doesn’t seem fair. A youth spent amidst the creepy slim of rotting beer? Wasn’t there mroe going on than that?
What makes that lousy memory something I can endure is that I associate that stale smell with you. Your joy in the bouncing revelry and irresponsible behavior (pretty innocent really) that pervaded the place. You never sat along the wall like the guys with no dates. You never held forth from behind the bar like Steve Soule or Wyatt whatever his name was. You danced and partied. And that memory erases all the old beer smells every time.
Querida familia Posner,
Pude agradecer a Josh la úlitma vez que nos vimos. Hoy agradezco a ustedes por “prestarnos” a Josh y permitir que su energía germinara en Los Andes. Somos muchos los que gozamos de su sabiduría, y quienes podemos demostrar que sus sueños sobre un mundo mejor son posibles. Hace unos años, yo era un joven que no tenía recursos para estudiar, y conocí a Josh, Elías, Rubén y Bernardo, que tenían un proyecto para que jóvenes de Los Andes pudiéramos estudiar para luego trabajar a favor de nuestras comunidades. Hoy soy el Presidente del Consejo Directivo de CONDESAN, y lo que recuerdo todo el tiempo es que Josh decía que si no era el compromiso y la solidaridad, nada podría ayudarnos a resolver nuestros problemas.
Gracias a ustedes por la generosidad de permitirnos conocer a un ser humano maravilloso.
C’est avec beaucoup de peine qu’Anne-Marie et moi avons appris le décès de Josh. Nous ne pensions pas que la maladie le rattraperait aussi vite. Nous te disons toute notre affection et te souhaitons beaucoup de courage pour surmonter cette épreuve.
C’est en Casamance que j’ai rencontré Josh pour la première fois et ce sont nos longues discussions sur les « systèmes agraires » qui nous avaient rapprochés. J’avais alors perçu que Josh était quelqu’un de particulier et de particulièrement attachant. C’est quand vous êtes venus à Montpellier que j’ai pu découvrir toute la richesse de sa personnalité en particulier son sens de l’humour, sa curiosité intellectuelle et son humanité.
De même qu’il y a des voyages de noces, il y a des voyages d’amitié et celui que nous avons fait ensemble dans les oasis du Sud du Maroc a fortement contribué à conforter cette amitié.
Dans son dernier message Josh avait formé le vœu de revenir dans la région. Sache que si tu souhaites venir nous rendre visite tu seras la bienvenue et ce sera une joie de te recevoir.
Si comme disait son père, nous continuons à vivre dans le souvenir de ceux que nous aimons, Josh reste très présent parmi nous.
Philippe et Anne-Marie
I want to take the chance to thank Josh and the Posners for their kindness and hospitality. I had the pleasure of meeting Josh just last summer when I arrived to the US as a grad student. I spent a week with the Posners in Elkhart Lake, WI where we celebrated Josh’s birthday. It is here where I experienced Josh’s kindness by welcoming to his family’s home and where I saw what a loving husband, father and grandfather he was.
Although we only met briefly, the impact he had on me was tremendous since he was one of the first to welcome me to my new life in the US; and what a warm welcome it was!
Thank you Josh, you will be greatly missed
> Greetings from Lugu Lake! Fieldwork is going magically well and I attach a picture of a tiny field in Luoshui with mounds of fertilizer to be worked in for cornfields.
> Josh you have given me so much and my work will forever be enriched because of your vision, tutelage, and direction for IGERT students. I can’t thank you enough.
> In my belief system our spirits are always everywhere in simultaneous time and I know that a part of my spirit has been with you and your family through your illness. I believe that a part of the soul of everyone we touch accompanies us on our journeys so you must be surrounded by the lovingkindness of thousands of spirits at this point. We will go with you to the beyond because each of us also resides there.
> So may you feel the Love and Light that surrounds you and may the lovingkindness that you have extended to the world envelop your loved ones with gentle comfort as this transition proceeds.
> Josh, I’ll see you on the other side, you dear soul and mentor! I will miss you so dearly!
> With much love to and gratitude for you,
Dearest Jill, Matt, and Jess, we are so sorry for your loss. Of all our friends, we had expected Josh to out live us all. My father passed away before I was six so I know you all were as blessed as he to have him in your lives for so many years. He did in deed bring an enthusiasm for life and an expetation that even the toughest challenges like IBTA in the early 1990s when we all met could be surmounted. We wil do our best to represent those atttitudes and ideas in our lives.
Dear Jill, Jess and Matt, estoy extremadamente triste, porque como persona egoista que soy siempre tenia la esperanza de ver a todos ustedes y disfrutar de la personalidad inolvidable de Josh. Son pocas las oportunidades que uno tiene de conocer a alguien con la sensibilidad, optimismo, alegria, honestidad de el y de Uds.
Pero, por el otro lado me siento feliz que pude conocerlo y disfrutar de el, por eso se que todos ustedes estaran tambien felices, que formaron parte de su mundo por tanto tiempo.
No puedo darles palabras de consuelo, solo les digo que tienen siempre en nosotros una familia que los quiere y desea lo mejor para ustedes.
Rosa y Beto