We buried our brother " Joe Mama " Dukeman today after his bout with Cancer.
The TGR family was born out of a smaller less know filmmaker who I was told today by some older extreme skiers that Joe Mama as he was known by your family and ours is that Joe Dukeman showed Steve Jones ''Jonesy" how to shoot 8 millimeter ski films back in the days before TGR's inception.
What I do know for sure is the Extreme Ski World is morning and hurting with the loss of our fellow brother Joe Mama. One of the pioneers of filming first descents in AK, shooting with a small camera on the side of a cliff locked in to a pair of skinny skies before taking the decent himself. Loving and laughing with his friends every minute spent on those snow capped mountains. The Dogs of Winter trilogy shot at Squaw Valley, edited and produced by Joe Mama in the early 90's remind me of just how far the sport has grown. You don't expand extreme skiing without having someone take that first film and passing it around to family and friends. I believe Joe started what Steve has taken to the next level in moving the extreme skiing adrenaline rush to movie theaters around the globe.
What I do know for sure as we hurt inside losing Joe's body to an awful disease is that Joe Mama's spirit will live on in all our lives. Joe will now be able to watch from high above the choppers that drop the extreme guys off or the dreamers like me being dropped off on peaks filled with puffy pillows of fresh powder. Not only will Joe Mama be watching but he'll be flying down right along side us smiling as we carve each and every turn top to bottom. How do I know this? Because I can feel the energy, I can feel the spirit, I can feel the love Joey has passed on to each and everyone of us who's ever been in the same room, van, camper, lodge or mountain top with him. Joe Mama was a lover of life, a lover of people, a lover of family, a lover of everything outdoors.
For those of you that didn't know our brother Joe Mama. Let me tell you the things I've learned about the Son, Brother, Uncle, cousin, nephew that left this world today. Ya we all know by know Joe was a skier. Joe grew up in Malden Massachusetts with his father Joe Sr who passed away 10 months ago now reunited with his son.Joe leaves with us a Dear Mother Connie, a Loved brother Stephen and his wife Pamela their two children Ryan and Emily, a Loved sister Christine and her husband Robert with their two children Cole and Abby, many Loved aunts and uncles. Joe leaves with us a caring Jean Tiernan comforting him to the end. I learned yesterday kids in the neighborhood would call him Joe Showman, why, I can only imagine. I was told he painted houses in the summer and left for the mountains out west in the winter, an envy of the kids heading off to school with out a clue what Joe was up too. Joe was an Eagle scout, a polished artist, loved music and an Iron Man Triathlete.
Joe Mama lived a life full of Fun and Adventure, he grew up skiing Killington back east Loved Cannon mountain and stashes of fresh back country snow over the other side at Mittersill. Joe liked Breckenridge but his life never was the same once he landed in Tahoe at Squaw Valley. There he changed multiple peoples lives all for the better. An unbelievable lifelong bond was formed there in Tahoe with his new west coast family. From there came the likes of his best buddy The Greek, guys like Danno, AJ, Maui Jim and Solitude George to name a few, most who skied in Dogs of Winter and went on to ski in a variety of extreme ski movies. Oh ya including flicks produced by none other than Jonesy's very own Teton Gravity Research. Tahoe was a haven for Joe's kind of people, if one of Joe's friends from the East Coast showed up, there was always room somewhere in town at the couch house, Cliffies pad or Kenny G's.
Joe Mama make first descents in Alaska, surfed in Hawaii, Scuba dived in Bonaire, I was told he loved wind surfing and was out off the coast of Marblehead MA during Hurricane Gloria with another friend I met last night at Joe's wake. Can't forget the Mountain biking, he was always ready to ride with his bike securely mounted on the back of his van. A memorial was quickly assembled the day after learning of Joe's passing at Joe Mama's rock, deep in Lynn woods with help from his friend "Turnin Pete" where they loved to mountain bike ride.
I could go on for days and days about the man we love and call Joe Mama. I guess the real legacy is not about the extreme activities that engulfed our beloved JM it's about the numerous lifelong friendships, the energy, passion and compassion for his fellow brothers and sisters he met along the way, the joy he shared, the kindness he showed, the zest for life and adventure. Wow what a legacy.
The friend I know and Love wouldn't have been possible with out being introduced to Joe Duke by my cousin Mike Morelli. Why my son SP McGee lives in Truckee CA, ski's at Squaw Valley and lives the life he lives, one close to nature and the outdoors, one of good health and enjoys Blue Bird Days jumping off cliffs into deep powder, carving Pow turns in the Sierra's, watching Eagles fly over head is because of the connection we all now have and will always have to Joe "Mama" Dukeman.
You'll never be forgotten, I can't wait to make my first turn's of the season for you.
Rest In Peace with your Dad and all the other Skier's that have gone before you.
Daddieo / Grampy McGee