On the wall of the Cerrell Associates office in the Larchmont District of Los Angeles, among the many pictures of Joe Cerrell with political dignitaries, one picture always stood out to me. A young, baby-faced Joe Cerrell is leaning over the shoulder of John F. Kennedy who is seated at a dinner table. The presidential candidate is speaking instructions or asking a question of Cerrell as the two look off in the same direction.

The picture captures Joe’s eagerness to help and his closeness to power and influence.

Joe Cerrell, who passed away Friday, spent a happy and engaged lifetime in the political world as a Democratic consultant and advisor to presidents and governors, to judges and business executives. However, he helped not only the powerful and influential, but also a whole array of people from those who reached the heights of the political world to those who were just setting out.

As a public affairs, public relations guru, Joe spent years at USC and Pepperdine teaching students and offering opportunities to learn the business first hand at his award-winning firm. Hardly a year passed that I didn’t have at least one student in my Pepperdine public policy class that had an internship at Cerrell. At the fabled Cerrell Christmas Party, Joe took time to greet all who attended, the political movers and shakers and the not so famous. Joe always went out of his way chat with my wife at these events for she knew few people when we first attended.

When my physician, of Italian heritage, decided to run for a city council seat in Santa Monica, my one call to Joe produced a meeting and an offer to help. Joe served on many committees supporting and enriching his Italian heritage.

I appeared on a number of conference panels and television shows with Joe over the years. While we didn’t always agree on issues, he was always gracious and a gentleman.

Joe Cerrell was from the old school where loyalty to an issue or a cause or a party did not mean bitterness and recriminations to an opponent. For those who believe that attitude should not go out of style, Joe Cerrell is legendary.

He was a friend of many. He was my friend and will be missed.

A full account of Joe’s life and accomplishments can be found on the Cerrell Associates website memorial to Joe, http://www.josephcerrell.com/.