George W. Joe

Senior Research Scientist

Dr. George Washington Joe, a long-time senior research scientist at the IBR, passed away on August 24th, 2023 at age of 80 after a brief illness.

George was born on February 22nd, 1943 in Augusta, Georgia to Jim Hung Joe and Wong Gum Liu (Rose) who ran a small grocery store in Augusta. He attended Aquinas High School and Augusta College, graduating from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree and intending to teach mathematics. Instead he pursued graduate study in research design, and received a Doctorate of Education from the University of Georgia.

George joined the Institute of Behavioral Research at Texas Christian University as a Research Scientist in 1969 devoting his 54-year career to researching substance use treatment, efficacy models, and the etiology of substance use disorders. He was the IBR’s senior statistician and his research focused on the components of the treatment process, evaluation models for treatment effectiveness, etiology of substance use, and statistical methodology. He specialized in the application of univariate and multivariate statistical methods, analytic modeling of data, questionnaire development, sample selection, and survey research. He wrote and published several books on his research findings, including over a hundred professional journal publications. He was a member of the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Treatment Research Subcommittee and Special Emphasis Panels and was a frequent reviewer for professional journals. George was devoted to his work, contributing greatly to scientific understanding of how to treat drug addiction. He also was a mentor, friend, and valuable resource on statistical and research methodology to other faculty, staff, and students. He considered IBR his family.

In February, 2023, the IBR celebrated George’s 80th birthday. Only a few weeks later, George was missing at a regularly scheduled staff meeting and every one knew something was amiss as George’s schedule was like clockwork. Front office staff checked on him and he requested a ride to the doctor’s office. He had surgery later that day and spent several weeks in intensive care followed by a stint in a rehab hospital before moving to a nursing home. He fully expected to return home and back to work at the IBR when he recovered, so he continued to work on statistical analyses on a laptop computer in the nursing home up until a few weeks before his passing in August, 2023.

Outside of his work at IBR, George took a very active role at St. John’s Anglican Church, faithfully serving as usher and attending weekly Bible study. He especially enjoyed the coffee times after service every Sunday. George had a passion for music and classic Hollywood films. He loved musicals, especially movies featuring stars like Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, who were among his favorites. He reveled in the musical heyday of the three decades following those early loves. He also loved sports, especially football and basketball, faithfully and fervently following the Georgia Bulldogs and TCU Horned Frogs football as well as the Tom Landry Dallas Cowboys. He was definitely conflicted when UGA played TCU in the national championship game in 2022.

We will miss George. Known for his quiet humility, goofy sense of humor, and egoless generosity toward everyone around him, he was a steadfast friend and companion to many, going out of his way to be present for his family, friends, colleagues, and beloved church community.

Wayne Lehman & Kevin Knight