Friends Morn Death of ‘Little Joe’
Joseph P. Micale, locally revered for his community engagement which includes work as a newspaper columnist, author and hair stylist, was killed during a vehicular accident that occurred last Saturday, November 26, at the intersection of McGregor Blvd & Pine Ridge Road.
According to reports filed by Florida Highway Patrol, Micale was operating a Harley Davidson Cruiser and traveling northeast on McGregor. He reached the intersection with Pine Ridge the same time as Louisa Johnson of Sanibel, driving her Toyota Matrix. Both drivers reportedly had a green light to turn on to Pine Ridge, but as Johnson made the turn, she traveled into Micale’s path. Though regarded as a veteran motorcycle operator, Micale was not wearing a helmet. In the resulting collision, he was reportedly ejected onto the pavement and ultimately pronounced dead at the scene. As of press time, no traffic citations or charges had been filed in relation to the accident, and FHP reports an investigation is ongoing.
Meanwhile, friends in Sanibel, Cape Coral and Fort Myers are mourning Micale’s death, including his wife, Ginny, as well as colleagues and customers of his salon, Beverly Hills Hair Design of Southwest Florida.
Affectionately known as Little Joe, Micale enjoyed certain acclaim as a hairdresser to the stars. After launching a career with Cosmo’s Hairstyling Salon in Hollywood, California, Micale was sought out by celebrities that include Clint Eastwood, Johnny Carson, Milton Berle and many other icons of the entertainment industry.
Details of his life and encounters were recently compiled for the publishing of a book, Confessions of a Hollywood Hairstylist.
As a writer, his work was also favored by readers of columns he penned over the years for publications that include The Sanibel Islander. When not tending to needs of his customers, Micale could often be found participating in activities and events involving local writers. In this area of expertise, Micale’s loss is being especially recognized by writers that include Joe Pacheco, regarded by many as the Poet Laureate of Sanibel Island. Reflecting on the loss of his friend, Pacheco prepared the following:
Our literary world in Southwest Florida has been greatly diminished by the abrupt, accidental death of Joseph P. Micale, known to all of us as Little Joe. Not only was Little Joe a gifted storyteller, prize-winning columnist and author, he possessed a rare genius for making friends and understanding people.
His memorable collection of newspaper columns and memoirs, Confessions of a Hollywood Hairstylist, not only bypassed the glamour and glitz of the rich and famous to concentrate on their everyday humanity, but it also brought to life the off-screen world of movie technicians, writers, agents, producers and directors, many of them his patrons and friends.
On the Saturday morning of his death, I opened an e-mail from him declaring happily that the roster for his December 6 Story Telling Show at Calusa Harbor had been filled. I thought then of scheduling an appointment for a haircut, but decided to let my hair grow for another week. Had I come in, Little Joe would not have been at that McGregor intersection at that time. This thought will always haunt me.
Little Joe was my partner in words and since no man can keep secrets from his barber, he was also my confidante and friend. Like many in Southwest Florida, my life is richer for having known him. We shall not see his like again.