There are very few out-of-the-blue guests who truly impress my capable radio cohost, Larry Jones, and myself. But Batavian extraordinaire Joe Marconi was certainly one of them. Whenever you apply that “one-of-a-kind” appellation to any individual (like me for example), it’s typically a much nicer way of saying they’re a real pain in the ass.
But that wasn’t the case with Joe, he really was one of a kind.
When I called him out the blue to come on the show, he couldn’t wait to be a guest and insisted on coming in to the studio. The problem was, he never told us about the wheelchair and there’s no way around those 30 separate steep steps up to the WRMN offices.
So without a single complaint, Joe did the show from the small downstairs vestibule on his cell phone. Then he got straight to the point while taking a humorous tack to get there. When Joe spoke, Larry, myself, and his attorney, Michael Childress, immediately gave him the floor, not because he was intimidating, but because we really wanted to hear what he had to say.
Joe commanded respect because he’d earned every last bit of it.
The truth is, I’ve dealt with more “local activists” than you can shake a stick at and, virtually without exception, they’re a bunch of self-serving smarmy ideologues who always manage to make matters far worse.
But Joe’s efforts made Batavia much better.
And that wasn’t easy in a city with an administration and school board addicted to making bad moves and spending other people’s money.
There was no “try” with Joe, he just did it! He put his money where his mouth was and he did it effectively. He expected no acknowledgement, praise, or gratitude – he did it because he knew it was the right thing to do.
I only met Joe that one time, but he’s one of the few people who left a lasting impression. Larry and I were really looking forward to having him back on the show.
But sadly, Joe Marconi left us on December 4 at the grand old age of 88. In the end, diabetes was one of the few things he couldn’t beat. Thankfully, the lawsuit he initiated to rectify Batavia’s ridiculous electric rates will move forward.
If you want to read more about Joe, Susan Sarkauskas did a pretty good job summing up what can only be called a fascinating life.
If there really is a gleaming set of pearly gates complete with a former apostle manning that entrance, I’m convinced the only question will be, “Did you leave the planet a better place? And Joe Marconi is one of the vast minority of people who can truly say he did.
And the second St. Peter lets him in, Joe’s gonna start rearranging the afterlife, but before the Big Guy can get a word out, he’ll stop, consider it, and think to Himself, “You know! That really isn’t a bad idea! Why didn’t I think of that?”
Give ‘em hell Joe!