Editor’s note: Beacon business-news editor Joseph M. Crews died Aug. 6, 2022, at the age of 70. He had worked for The Beacon since 2013.
Joe Crews was a curmudgeon — a real Scrooge.
That’s how he presented himself, at least. He was opinionated, had a temper and made it clear if he didn’t like you. But just underneath his prickly exterior was a man who loved his friends and wasn’t afraid to show it.
Not long after I started working at The Beacon, after Joe and I had talked a bit — some of which was just him telling me, “Cut your hair, you hippie” — I was inducted into a secret order that he maintained.
Every night around 6 p.m., Joe emailed a carefully curated collection of comics and gags to a group of his friends. The emails contained political cartoons, one-liners and classic newspaper funnies. I didn’t read them as often as I’d like to say I did, but my phone’s nightly 15-buzz salute when I received those emails always made me smile. So soon after his passing, I still find myself missing my phone buzzing off the hook to remind me that my nightly selection of comics has arrived.
He treated it like his duty, too, to give his friends a laugh. If Joe was late to send out the comics, he’d apologize and explain what was going on.
Likewise, every day Joe sent along news stories with some of what he referred to as his “signature pithiness.” When he was too busy to provide insight to a story, he promised his pithiness would return the next day.
No matter how cranky he may have appeared, Joe wasn’t too shy to remind you how much he appreciated you — whether it was making sure you had a laugh or by calling you out of the blue to make sure you caught an episode of 60 Minutes he thought you would enjoy.
Working with a seasoned journalist and good man like Joe taught me a lot of things, even in the two short years I knew him.
Most importantly, he taught me that showing you care doesn’t always have to be through outright admissions of love or friendship. Sometimes it’s just emailing along a gag, knowing your friends will laugh.
I’m going to miss the comics in my inbox every day — even the stupid ones.
I’m going to miss Joe.