The nickname, the story went, came from the old television show, “Bonanza.” Joe Enriquez used to tell his friends he was a big fan of the series, and for many reasons he felt an affinity for the Michael Landon character:

Little Joe.

It is certainly what they called him in Syracuse, at Phil Malara’s old Geddes Street barbershop or during his working life or at St. Lucy’s, the parish that he loved. His real name was “Richard,” which few people knew. He stood 4 feet 4 inches tall, and he spent a lot of his life enduring the word “midget,” a word used all too casually by those who didn’t understand — a word that minimized the entirety of who he was.

“I’m a person, like everyone else,” he told me 2002, when I wrote a column about him for The Syracuse Post-Standard.

Click below to read the full article in The Buffalo News

Sean Kirst: The man called ‘Little Joe’ lived a monumental life

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