Posted by: johannalee | October 2, 2009

greetings & salutations everyone (the day after)

This is intended to be a place where anyone who wants can bring a memory, photo, scan of a scrap of cartooning, video or sound file, or anything else that is about or by Johanna Lee, who went by Joe (“not just your average Joe”!) & if you feel more at ease under a pseudonym, that’s all right, as long as what is said comes from the heart without malice – speak freely.  If you have something that is too long for you to type in, or needs scanning and you haven’t got a scanner, just mail a copy (unless you are moved to send an original) to:

Boxholder, P.O. Box 1151, Redwood City, CA  94064

& I’ll do my best to get it up in here.  This is intended to complement any & all other tribute pages people raise up online, and there are a couple of them already.

Joe’s video artist friend Frankie has a couple of pages with photos from not too far back at:


& Joe’s very longtime friend V Kingsley has a page with some amazing photos at

If you are able, you can also contribute to expenses of Joe’s passing via the PayPal link on that page.  Joe preferred burial to cremation, but as some of us have been surprised to learn, there is no longer an option for folks without lots of $ saved up to be buried…even the cremation + memorial are costly.  More on this at the link above.

V also wrote a moving and detailed personal post about Joe’s last mortal moments:

and check back for further V writings at:

It isn’t in me to say much myself yet but it will come.  Just got through grounding after falling apart.  I will leave it at this, that though I knew her departure could very likely be imminent it’s still a shock.  A system shock.  It’ll never be enough but I am very glad that we spent time together a few days ago, and talked for nearly half an hour the day before…Joe left the building.  She was always larger than life, just like Elvis, right from the moment we met, despite the earthly travails (& there were many).  Joe has left the building.



  1. Everyone is invited to use ‘comments’ on this blog page to add stories, anecdotes, or what have you – anything relating to Joe that is not brought with malice will be welcome, whether raw or refined.

    If you have any trouble using comments to put something in, feel free to email it to

    namaste’ y’all

  2. one thing that certainly can be agreed on is that Jo touched everyone she came in contact with.
    She had an accidental disheveled way of leaving her mark on your emotions.
    In hindsight for some and constant for others what stood out most was her charming wit and brilliant memory.
    Her never ending creative sarcastic approach to a life most of us could not have managed. in my opinion she was the strongest of us all.
    Her matter of fact approach to the most difficult of situations perhaps lead us to believe she would always work a way out.
    Her seemingly limitless supply of energy and antics tho then were frustrating and unnerving now are endearing and nostalgic.
    Above all it was that Jo was a teacher. she taught us so many things, patience, kindness, love, forgiveness, understanding. She took all those she touched to a core emotion in some way or another and quite simply we are better because of it. We have all grown and matured, we have all come together and we have all come apart. We are all old enough now to know the difference, Maybe it could be the last thing Jo is teaching us to come back together and celebrate our differences, our specialness and just let love shine thru it all.
    See you later Jo.. you were a good good friend to me. I will never ever ever forget you, thanks for the laughter, the memories, the inspiration and most of all the love. ..anou

  3. Thanks for putting together this page. Thanks also to V, Artemesia, Frankie and everyone else who was such a comfort to Johanna.
    I knew her since she was 17 years old. There were many years that I couldn’t find her. I would call around and some of her friends would tell me not to bother. That I was breaking my heart doing that. I never considered it something I shouldn’t do. She tried as hard as she could. What can you do when you don’t have the Mental Health Resources and the family support that you need to heal? Her friends were really her family. That and her lovely sisters. I wish her well. May she be happy in Paradise. Baruch HaShem Olav Ha Shalom Omeyn.

    • You’re welcome (re the page) – it’s just there are so many things to remember & stories to tell that it seemed to me there should be a space for that without delay.
      A small amount of effort.

      Thanks for looking for Joe, Trudi…there are some words from a story in a book that occur to me, that what you strive for may not be accomplished but it is still deeply important that you take the steps to try to do it.

      You were one of the few people from the “old country” of the East Coast who was still around for Joe, and that meant a lot to her.

      Yeah, it was a system failure too (in the governmental/bureaucratic sense). It is deeply apparent to many – even SF mayor Gavin Newsom – that there needs to be real investment in supportive housing, which I think could have extended Joe’s life + wellness during life…A

  4. I have been busy lately. When I have a bit more free time I will write a poem about Calamity Joe the brilliant. I work with disabled people, my professional stuff helped me to realize one thing about her, toward the last year or so, she needed ‘personal care’. This was something I could not provide.

    My sister working for the State Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs explained that people like Joe with ‘co-occurring disorders’ (CODs) need 2 kinds of care at least. We all know she needed more than that. Many systems do not want to deal with her. Joe was also quite brilliant, and loved by many. I am glad to know she is in much less pain.

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