I didn't know Joe personally, but I was living out there and witnessed the impact his innovations had on the steelhead and salmon fishing over the years. His inventions brought great new ways of catching gamefish, but perhaps more importantly they inspired all kinds of new ways of thinking about it as well. It's funny how ol' standby's can be the rule of thumb for decades, then someone comes crashing through with new thinking like Joe's.
Like you I've also had my share of inspirational angling mentors, some have passed on and others are still fishing. It's one of the potent bonds people can make in this great sport of ours. I remember how I felt when my best friend and fishing partner passed away suddenly at 26 years of age due to a congenital heart problem. I had just come out of Hanging Gardens in the upper gorge with a huge chromer hen. My wife and kids were on their way out and snapped a photo before I filleted it out. I was litterally thinking of calling Brian on the east coast to get his ass out to the PNW when the phone rang. I flew to Buffalo NY to attend the funeral, and each spring for the last 15 years I think about that day.
I know from your enthusiasm that many will look to you as a mentor too, if not already! It's the best honor you could give to an angler, and you have given that honor to Joe.
My sympathies, friend.