Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Joe DeLaCruz Memorial Service
April 22, 2000
I was honored and humbled when I was asked to say something today, and I stand here with a heavy heart.
We've lost a good friend and a great leader. Joe's extraordinary energy and ceaseless enthusiasm effected us all and will live on in all of us.
The first time I met Joe, I was struck by his presence. You could tell he had a deep reservoir of inner strength and that he was a man of vision and tenacity. His eyes reflected a conviction and a wisdom that can only come from going through a lot - both good times and bad. And nothing ever tamed his roaring laughter. Joe's laughter was like a waterfall - pure and clean, cascading down the mountainside, effecting us all. Something in that laugh reminded you that Joe always remained faithful to the Great Spirit.
To Dorothy, his wife; Mr. and Mrs. Ebling his mother and stepfather; Gayle, Lisa, Tina, Steve and Joe, his kids; all of Joe's brothers, and sisters; and to his family all of the way down to his two great grandchildren, Mona and I offer you our thoughts and prayers to help you get through this tough time. But I know this loss is felt by the entire Quinault Nation and that Joe's passing has reverberated across the United States and, for that matter, the world.
We learn when we're young to leave every place a little better than we found it. A lot of us forget that as we get older. But Joe never did. He left every place and every person a little better than he found them. You can see that reflected in the room today. And I feel blessed to have known him.
Joe will always be part of Washington, just as this land was part of him. His spirit will live on in the air he fought to keep clean, in the water and the salmon he fought to protect, and in the forests he fought to preserve.
His spirit will live on through his never-ending mission to have the State of Washington recognize the importance of working together on a government-to-government basis with the Tribes. He effected change that still lives with us on a day-to-day basis. He helped birth, along with other great leaders, the Centennial Accord which is now a model for other states.
And, his spirit lives on in the legacy he left for the rest of Indian Country, in the lives of the many people he touched with his extraordinary actions and drive to preserve and protect tribal sovereignty. In the work you do, his spirit will be reflected and continue to live on.
I keep expecting Joe to walk through that door with his big laugh, and tell us all to lighten up and have some fun. If he were here, he'd be pacing the back of the room telling jokes with his never-ending but oh so wise, wisecracking commentary.
But I know that's silly because Joe's already in this room with us. His spirit lives on in each of us who were lucky enough to know Joe DeLaCruz.
And for that, we are all grateful.