Very sad news

It is with deep regret that we wish to inform all members of BvH that our coach and very dear friend Joe Lewis passed away unexpectedly on Thursday morning (10 May 2012).

More information will follow shortly. We would ask that members respect Joe’s family’s privacy during this sad time.

UPDATE (11 May 2012) – As this post has turned into an informal remembrance page for Joe with so many kind words about him, Laura Leslie has volunteered to type up all of the comments and present a hardcopy to Pam. Please pass the URL on to others who knew and thought highly of Joe so that they can contribute. Anyone who has already posted and who wishes to amend anything they’ve said for the final version can contact Chris.

Our dear friend, Joe

118 Replies to “Very sad news”

  1. Alas I have only just received this news. My first coach, mentor and the man who was happy to drop me home in the CRV after training. How’s laid back style… As a teenager I’d ask him a question and he’d rub his beard with a lyrical smirk… Thank u Joe for being part of shaping my future. RIP x. Dawnie Pointon (née Potter) xx

  2. I have only just heard the news (via Chris Holloway) and, like everyone, I am both saddened and stunned.

    Like many that have contributed, I joined Rowheath in the mid 80’s with a vague idea of having a go at this running lark, seeing if I could get to the point where I might actually do a race one day. Well, with the help and support of so many people I achieved a lot more than that, progressing from aspiring to finish a half marathon to running (rather badly it must be said) in the county champs at the 3000SC. That may not have been all down to Joe but it was certainly down to the environment her created, that idea that you could – and should – be better if you trained properly, worked hard and embraced the possibilities that were out there.

    Best memory of Joe? A fancy dress party in the late 80’s, Joe dressed as a Schoolboy, shorts, Blazer, Cap and his huge delight in pulling out conkers, apple cores, catapult, letter to teacher excusing him from PE…all manner of things from his pockets. To me that was Joe, always fun to be around, always with a twinkle in his eye.

    Thanks for everything Joe, I’ll always remember your smile.

  3. I only found out yesterday of the very sad news that Joe had passed away so suddenly. Driving home from my race I felt a huge sense of loss. Joe was a true inspiration. He was the only person I ever felt I could really trust to fix any injury or niggle and I always knew that I would come away feeling so much better, both mentally and physically. He was always interested in the whole you, not just the injury and always made me laugh. Thank you for everything you did for me. My thoughts and condolences are with Pam and family.

  4. Joe was a real gentleman, who always went out of his way to help and encourage everyone with his typical generosity and good humour. He was very modest, and trying to get him to talk about his many achievements could be very hard work. Although I haven’t been an active member of (formerly) Rowheath Harriers for some time, it was a joy to bump into him on Clent a couple of years ago and I will just miss him not being there.

  5. Joe, your untimely death is a sad loss to Midlands running. I will miss our chats whilst you were fixing my legs. My deepest sympathy to the family.

  6. Joe let me discover something that I was good at. That was his great skill – the ability to help people get the best out of themselves. I was coached by Joe as a teenager and I spent many an hour in the passenger seat of various Saab 900s being taken to races or dropped off at home after training. He really looked after me, and I wouldn’t have got to where I am now in my running career without his careful guidance in those crucial years. He never pushed us too hard and made sure we enjoyed our running, and I think that was so important.

    More recently whenever I’ve come back to race cross country in the Midlands or do the relays at Sutton, seeing him bounding across the park with Jess is something I’ve always looked forward to. He always had time for a catch up.

    It won’t be the same without you Joe. Thanks for everything you did for me.

  7. As a young teenager, with little talent, who joined Rowheath Harriers in the early 80’s, like so many others better qualified than me to comment, I found Joe to be an inspiration. He had so much of what all great coaches have – passion, energy, dedication, knowledge, patience, a good sense of humour – and most importantly, as witnessed by so many comments on these pages, he cared deeply about his athletes.

  8. So saddened to hear the news of Joe’s passing.

    I first met Joe back in the early 80s when I joined the then newly-formed Rowheath Harriers. From then on Joe became an integral part of my life, always there week-in week-out for training sessions, races, coaching, advice, physio, lifts, more lifts…giving his time selflessly, not just to me but to so many others.

    Our friendship continued until the early 90s when I moved away and (temporarily) left the sport. Although we lost contact, over the intervening years I thought many times of Joe. I have particular fond memories of Joe timing mile rep sessions on the Bristol Road or hill reps at Cofton every Saturday morning, hurtling down to Cheltenham in his (orange) 2CV for the weekly track meet, legging it to and from Keeper’s Pool to catch all the runners at the 12/6 stage relays, and Joe concocting inventive training schedules over coffee at his house in Northfield.

    I always thought that someday I would see Joe again and we’d have a good old catch-up. It never occurred to me I might not get that chance.

    God bless Joe and thanks for everything.

  9. We’ll really miss you Joe. Not only for the expertise and support in every training session and race, but the genuine interest and care you showed in each one of us, welcoming new runners and valuing everyone’s participation. Saturday mornings at Cofton Park have become a way of life for so many of us. You always made us strive to improve and really showed me how we can work together as a team. I’ll always think of your words of encouragement each time I race.

  10. Just still feeling the most unbelieveable sadness at Joe’s passing and can’t imagine how Pam and the family are feeling.
    Joe started his relationship with our family initially as coach, but Joe and Pam became ingrained in to our way of life to the extent of being Georgie’s godparents.
    In a running sense, Joe was typical old-school (and right) – if you want to be a good runner – do more running. In addition, running 20 x 400m at Cofton not only made you a better runner, it made you a more complete person!
    Tough, and straight down the line as a coach but those of fortunate to witness the family celebration in December witnessed a close knit family surrounded by warmth and love.
    Joe was a unique individual in an age where mediocrity is celebrated – never by Joe – he’s forgotton more about creating athletes than most will ever know.
    Our relationship had almost come full circle – Georgie visiting Joe every Friday for a massage – being there to see Joe engage in verbal jousting with the next generation was a joy to witness. We still had so much of his knowledge yet to ask of him in order to support Georgie in her athletic endeavours because we valued and trusted his opinion (although we may often debate this vigourously!!).
    God knows we are going to miss you so much.
    With all our love and support to Pam and the family.
    To Joe who was so much more to us than a coach.

    Bev, John and Georgie

  11. I remember Joe with fond affection. I was having a clearance last week and found a beer coaster from Rowheath Harriers Xmas Handicap 1990 and thought back to times of Colin Cartland/Brian McAvoy and Andy Kenchington in those days. Joe, especially, exhibited very selfless qualities when helping me get back into training, following various injuries, so hats off to Joe, I shall miss people like him and wish his family my deepest sympathies.

  12. It was with great sadness that I heard the news of Joe and my condolences go out to Pam and her family.

    Joe coached me to my best performances on the track and he was always there to fix me when I broke – which was frequently. He was always there to lend an ear for some advice and I will very much miss him in the park on Saturday mornings.

  13. Just heard the very sad news about Joe’s untimely death. I remember him and his wife Pam with much affection. I remember the early days of training on a Tuesday and Thursday evening in all weathers with Joe across from the Pavilion when we were simply Rowheath Harriers.And Joe was always there at Cofton park with his dog on a Saturday morning more than willing to offer coaching tips.A gentle man with a mischievous twinkle in those blue eyes.Sincere condolences to Pam and the family.

  14. So sorry to hear the sad news about Joe, a great man, a great coach and a great physio. He certainly fixed me a few times. A genius I’d say. My thoughts are very much with his family at this sad time.

  15. Joe became a Birchfield Harrier in the late 1950’s whilst he was a schoolboy at Handsworth Grammar School. One of his coaches for the half mile was Mike Farrell who had represented Great Britain in the 800 metres at the !956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. Joe along with Len Cullen,Bill Pugh, Jock Reid, Pete Thompson and Geoff Warr, was one of small band of enthusiasts who made the epic journey in a mini bus to spectate and cheer on Peter Radford to a bronze medal at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.
    I very well recall driving my son James to train with a very young James Walsh on Saturday mornings in Cofton Park and visiting Norman Road for sports massage treatment by Joe. Much later on, Carol used to meet up with Joe at North Birmingham College for a cup of tea and a chat when Joe was a lecturer and Carol was studying accounts.
    Joe was a thoroughly decent human being with a good sense of humour who will be greatly missed by many people.
    Our thoughts and condolences are with Pam and her family at this very sad time.