by Tom Blees
I’m sorry to report that Joe Shuster, a dear friend of many years and an early member of SCGI, died on March 6 at the age of 83. Joe was the author of Beyond Fossil Fools, and the publication of his book in 2008 within weeks of the publication of my own book dealing with similar issues began a friendship and collaboration that will continue to inspire me long after his passing.
Joe suffered from lymphoma for some time, with periodic bouts of chemotherapy. Yet his passion for improving the planet’s health for all humanity kept him chugging along, denying the grim reaper on more than one occasion when he was seriously ill. He’d always bounce back and continue in his indefatigable efforts to do whatever he could to tackle the big issues of climate change, energy, and the betterment of humankind.
Chemo is a dangerous remedy, though, and recently a small injury led to an infection that quickly advanced into a very serious condition. Finally, Joe realized that his only choice to survive would be to rely on machines for the rest of his life, and he decided against such a course of action. His devoted daughter Siri informed me of Joe’s condition, and after a brief phone conversation with Joe I flew to Minnesota to meet with him in the hospital, knowing he would only be with us for a very short time. Joe had decided to move back home to face the end with his loving family. He insisted that I come to visit him again after he’d gotten back home, so we had one last visit two days later. When I got to the house, which was filled with his kids, grandkids, and friends, Siri told me that Joe had insisted on being dressed in his "I ❤ Nuclear" T-shirt for my visit, an expression of the sense of humor Joe used so effectively to communicate ideas.
Having been a board member of SCGI for many years, we will miss Joe on a professional as well as a very personal level. He told me in our last visit that he was content to know that we would carry on the work to which he’d devoted so much energy in the last years of his life. We will all miss him, and I trust that his commitment will serve to inspire us in the years ahead.