When I answered my first telephone call on Monday morning, the last thing I expected to hear was that my dear friend, Dr. Joe Keating, had passed on. The phone call was from his sister, who had very few details except that her brother was no longer with us.
I met Joe Keating more than 20 years ago when I practiced in Minnesota.I was just becoming interested in clinical research and knew that I needed help in that area, since I was trained as a clinician. Joe was the research director at Northwestern, so I surmised that he would be the natural person to have read a paper I just about had ready for publication. I drove to Minneapolis and was ushered into the research lab to wait for Dr. Keating. Finally, down the hall came this bearded gentleman dressed in a rumpled burgundy sport coat and wearing a bow tie. (He had dressed up for the meeting.)
Joe was very friendly as I explained that I had completed a paper that I was considering for publication and that I wanted his opinion on this work of science. Well, he took two minutes examining the paper, and then he reached into his shirt pocket for his famous red pen. After he finished drowning the paper in red ink, he exclaimed that the only place this paper should be published was in the wastepaper basket, where he promptly deposited it. I was between shock and disbelief as I retrieved it from the bowels of the basket.
Then with one statement came the side of Joe that I grew to love. He said, "If you are really serious and willing to take my research methods class, I will help you with that publication." Many people only saw the acidic side of Joe, because they only saw him behind a microphone at a conference, asking acidic pointed questions to which he usually knew the answer before he asked the question.
That winter, I drove into Minneapolis every month to attend the research design class Joe taught. I believe he saw my commitment, and we were friends from that point on.
Joe gave me more honest guidance over the next 20 years than I ever could have expected. He was on the National Institute of Chiropractic Research board, and that organization published more than 250 peer-reviewed papers.
For the past nine years, Joe only lived about 10 blocks from my house in Phoenix; therefore, we spent a lot of time together. Some weeks we argued over points we knew neither of us was ever going to budge on. However, over time I could see the influence Joe had on my thinking, and hopefully that I had on his. My wife used to say we had a love-hate relationship - like two little boys playing in the sandbox. Some days, we played well; other days, we fought. Out of it all we both grew in different ways.
I missed him when he went to Kansas City, and now I will miss him forever. Thanks for all the help and guidance, Joe.
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