November 1, 2019

Joe, a friend and business associate for more than 30 years, passed away a couple weeks ago. I really miss him.   He was always there for me with a smile and optimistic words of encouragement or simply a listening ear.   Often, we discussed the challenges we encountered as two entrepreneurs with families working in the Addison Airport area. Joe and I loved to reminisce about the cotton gin that once stood at the south end of the Addison Airport.  Most people in the highly urban area don’t have a clue that the gin existed, but Joe and I were there before it fell. I have a painting of the old gin in the KA Addison Home Office that will forever serve as a reminder of my friend Joe.

Joe knew my wife and watched my kids grow up.   We often spoke about his family as well and I got to meet his wife, Pam, and other relatives who happened to be present on my visits with Joe over the years.   Often, we would share our dreams and perceptions of generational challenges from days gone by and current generational challenges.  We had many things in common, like raising families, country living, sports and the challenges of making a living and surviving during the lean times. Each deer season Joe would routinely ask me, “Have you got any of that deer sausage?” Joe and I were so comfortable with each other that we could even talk politics and share our spiritual feelings.

The past two years have been exceptionally hard for Joe and his family due to his battle with kidney failure and heart issues. I was blessed that he called me when his business was slow and we devised a little plan to help him.  How could I turn down a friend who watched my son grow from a little boy to a man?   At about age 5, Jarid once stopped in Joe’s place of business with my wife and told Joe:  “Put it on my daddy’s account.” Joe loved to track the Oklahoma State football team when that once little boy became a defensive tackle for OSU that weighed about 280 pounds. Recently Joe told me “That son of yours is a fine young man.”

Joe’s dedicated wife, Pam, would fill in for Joe when he was too sick to come to work. For me, it was wonderful to see her pitch in and operate the family business as I could relate to it. I am thankful that this past Christmas, our home office staff made the decision to try to make Christmas special for Joe and his family. However, it was Joe and Pam who gave us a greater gift by allowing us to serve them and  experience a small part of the spirit of Christmas.

Joe and I had the same goals and dreams, we just were in different businesses. Mine was aircraft and his was shoes and boots.  My dear friend Joe operated a shoeshine stand at the end of the Addison Airport runway in a carwash for more than 30 years. I am humbled, honored and blessed to have been friends with Joe, who I will truly miss.   May God bless him and his family.”

Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.