Goodbye to Joe

  • ATDC Members dispersing flowers in memory of Joe at San Carlos Beach

By Alan Throop
(Photos by Jennifer Hayes and Alan Throop)

On Saturday, September 15, a group of about 25 Tooters met to say goodbye to club Lifeme Member “Aloha” Joe Timmons, who had passed away in a traffic accident on July 14.

Jean Williams, Jane Rodrigue, LaDonna Springer

Jean Williams, Jane Rodrigue, LaDonna Springer

Some good friends whom we had not seen in a number of years were able to attend; Jean Williams, for example, came all the way from Kentucky.

Following a club clean-up dive that morning, we met at San Carlos Beach, aka “Breakwater” – a favorite divesite of Joe’s – and one where he had trained many divers, had regularly met to help new divers or those wanting some special advice or assistance, and had enjoyed many fun dives himself just exploring the many and varied areas and attractions available at this one location.

The day was beautiful and it was a wonderful setting that Joe would have appreciated. There was a nice mixture of newer and “more tenured” club members, and we enjoyed some time just greeting friends that we had not seen in a while and, for some, meeting and greeting to know some people who were previously just names. Eventually, we moved to a secluded section of the beach from which Joe and most of us have made our entries into the bay over the years to dive the Pipeline on the west side of San Carlos.

Each person took a few moments to introduce him or herself to everyone, some mentioning some special connection with, or memory, of Joe. Anecdotes and stories of Joe then began to flow, relating the diversity of experiences that we had with him, with folks chiming in to further add “color” to the story. We can’t… and probably shouldn’t… go into the stories here, but they all added to and confirmed the depth and breadth of who Joe was and how he had touched so many of us.

Patty had graciously brought a nice bouquet of flowers and our final goodbye was for each of us to place these into the water that had been such a large part of Joe’s life (this is allowed by Sanctuary rules, but the way!). As the flowers dispersed across the surface of the water, it reminded us just how fleeting and tenuous our lives really are, and that what really matters are the friends that we have made and the incremental good that we each have hopefully brought to the world during our short stay.

We then all convened at Gianni’s Pizza – our ol’ post-dive watering trough – to meet others who weren’t able to attend the beach gathering and to continue the socializing. Jim Steele, along with a number of his student divers who were doing their open-water work that weekend, joined us there.

Group at Gianni's Pizza

ScrapbooksWe ended with about 35-40 people. Dennis brought the club scrapbooks and several people – especially newer divers – enjoyed seeing some of the photos and club history going back to the late-50s.

There was a great diversity of ages and backgrounds at the gatherings, reflecting the variety of friends he had and the ways in which we knew Joe. But we all shared the camaraderie of our love of the ocean, the binding experiences of diving together, and resulting good memories and continued friendships. It was a fitting goodbye to Joe who, above all, valued relationships and friends.