Our Story- I know we put an obituary notice in the paper and it tells you some dates and some information for services. I wanted to share some of my story with you all now. Joe made it clear to me that he wanted a celebration after he passed, and that is what we will do on Friday. He didn’t want us sad and crying, so that is why we are giving ourselves this week.
Joe McIntyre and I met in 1985. Actually, I interviewed him for a job at the Pennsylvania Public Interest Coalition/Citizen Action canvass in Allentown for a job as canvasser. Luckily, rules about bosses and staff dating were not so well defined and we started dating about a month later. He moved from Kutztown and we got married at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church on 4th Street in Allentown. Those in attendance will tell you it was one of the more memorable weddings, fit for an episode of Oprah entitled “what else could go wrong. “ What with the torrential rain, flooded roads, blackout at the Lehigh Valley Country club, cake that couldn’t stay together, heat, food cooked by sterno. God bless my parents, they hung on through it all. But, everybody danced and laughed and told us that rain would bring good luck.
We moved to Philadelphia for eight years, Joe got a job as a union organizer, I went to law school and we got a cat and a dog. In 1992, Daniel was born, the cutest baby ever, and then came Julia in 1994, again, surprisingly, the cutest baby ever. We decided to buy a house and started looking in Philadelphia, but our heart and longing for a smaller city and a simple row house brought us back to Allentown. We have been in the same place for seventeen years, and Joe has had many interests during that time. Joe loved to follow politics, read or listened to five books a week (spy novels, gang novels, political books, tai chi books, chess manuals, woodworking books. Zen books and books on tape). He loaded up our computer with Dharma podcasts and saved every one. He didn’t trust any devise to save them but the hard-drive. He signed up for facebook and made some friends, but he never remembered how to get to the link, even before he had his recent setbacks.
In his younger days, Joe studied Aikido with a beloved Sensei, Shuji Maruyama, at a Dojo in Philadelphia. When he came to Allentown, he took up Tai Chi at Little Tiger and loved it. This led him to seek a spiritual path that he was interested in since his teen years. He found Blue Mountain Zendo eight years ago and was given the name Kozan “Ancient Mountain.” We were planning an ordination to be a monk for December 11, 2011. To keep the promise his priest Joriki Dat Baker and we made to him, on his final day, he was ordained as a monk and given the name Taipo, which means “Great Peak.” He was surrounded by his wife, children, sister and brother and friends.
But most of all, he loved his family. He adored his children. Most recently, he pronounced his son’s CD an amazing, impressive feat. He loved to play chess with Dan, talk with him, and listen to him. He helped with Little League, even though he knew he wasn’t meant to be a coach and had to study hard. He loved to talk politics, share the Nation, and watch Japanese movies and the West Wing on DVD. He loved to go the park with his family, go to the Delaware or Jersey Shore for vacation, go to Maine and eat lobster. At the start of every trip, he would sing “vacation all I ever wanted” by the Go Gos until the kids plugged in their headphones and I finished up the song with him. Someone else can tell the story of a touch football game that showed Joe’s commitment to get to the end zone, even after they changed the rule and he only needed to cross the plane of the end zone with the ball, not his body. Oh, Joe McIntyre, you were unstoppable that day.
He was thrilled when his daughter was named homecoming queen. He was even more impressed by her athletics – he loved to go to meets and watch the videos we took of Julia tumbling, diving, swimming, pole vaulting. When she recently received a recruiting letter from Notre Dame (of Ohio), he was sure the Gipper himself had come calling. He worried about her as she was so ill recently, even as his own health was failing. When she was little, she was running across the pool deck at Neff’s, and she banged her head hard into a table. To everyone’s surprise, she got up and started up the chase again. He loved to tell her how tough and strong and beautiful she was and is, and how we had to watch her more closely because of her high pain threshold.
In many of the pictures we are finding, Joe is smiling, making a face, laughing with his friends, his family, me. We loved each other for the past twenty six years. Oh, we had our disagreements. Recently, we disagreed about whether Jon Stewart was funnier than Stephen Colbert. They loved when I came to the office after my birthday to tell them what this year’s effort by Joe McIntyre had been. The favorite was the year he went to the mall and got me some clothes … from Lane Bryant. I told him the clothes were a little big and he defended himself because I told him I was a large. Large yes, but not yet plus size Lane Bryant large.
We watched every Phillies game on TV for the past five years and went to one home game every year to get the feel of the park and the beauty of the game. He loved that his son worked the stands for the Iron Pigs in the summers, but he agreed with Dan that it was much better to play the game than watch it. But, watching was good for him now. I am not blaming the Phillies, but he did refuse to watch any post season baseball in October when the Phillies lost to the Cardinals in the playoffs. He did have some ideas for Charlie Manuel for next year.
When we were at the doctor’s office two weeks ago, he and his doctor and I were talking about medicine and adjustments to his medications and home health care and hospice care. He said he loved when we talked about him like that because he knew we doing our best to take care of him and it made him feel safe. The last thing we did together before he went into the hospital on Monday was watch Sunday night football. I can assure you that he was a happy man when the Eagles took a commanding lead over Dallas before the end of the first half. We were hoping for more days to enjoy our passions and see our kids safely on their life’s journey. We are lucky that we have had the time we have had and the memories and the family and friends that have been so supportive.
Posted by Lori Molloy
Tuesday November 8, 2011 at 4:37 am