It is once again my sad duty to tell you about the passing of one of our featured writers, Joe Launie. His wife Gillian emailed me the news yesterday that he had died from complications following a number of illnesses. These were made more difficult because Joe and his wife were Santa Barbara, California residents who had been evacuated for the last two weeks due to the wildfires in that region. I am deeply saddened by Joe’s passing because I considered him a great colleague and a new friend.
Joe’s first writing on our page appeared in our blog section more than a year and a half ago. I couldn’t believe our good fortune. Here was an experienced writer who believed in our mission, to be a pathway for the political voices of the people of America and to bring real conversation back to politics. Joe had the courage to put himself out there and share his views. A couple of months later, I acknowledged the obvious and asked him to become a featured writer.
Joe Launie was one of those guys who when you read his resume, you find your own falling short! Joe enlisted in Army Intelligence (which was a volunteer only service) in 1951. My favorite line from Joe’s bio on our site (and any bio actually) was his understated; “My Korean War experience differed from most.”
After the war, Joe earned an undergraduate degree from Northwestern. Afterwards, he worked in the insurance industry as an underwriter while pursuing a graduate education. He got his Masters degree in Economics at the University of Nevada -Reno and went on to UCLA to earn a Ph.D. in Financial Economics (and insurance).
He then became a professor at California State University at Northridge.
On the side (!) he became an insurance expert in California and nationally. He was a litigation expert and served on many local and state committees that valued his expertise. I too had a long insurance career and he and I had many long email exchanges about insurance practices and public policy. Our last such conversation was about the California wildfires and the insurance companies response to them (and lack thereof). Those fires probably cost him his life.
But mostly, I remember Joe’s writing. He was experienced and had already written over 75 publications. His latest book was The Road to the Oxcarts that is available on Amazon (I’ve read it and it’s a good read!). His background gave him a very knowledge-based platform from which to write on politics in this very un-fact based era. Here is his writing on Political Storm-take a look. https://www.politicalstorm.com/author/professor-joe-launie/
But the coolest thing about Joe’s work for us was his passion for our mission. He believed in dialogue from all sides, and he let you know when he disagreed with your view (believe me). He liked a good respectful scrap and that’s what we’re all about. Joe, you will be sorely missed by Political Storm’s writers and readers and me. My prayers go out for you, your wife Gillian and your family. You were among the best of us. Rest in Peace, Man.
Jon Saltzman is the Publisher and Senior Editor of Political Storm.