Jim Andresen, 40, had worked at Von Maur only a few months but had gotten to know Gary Joy — his partner in the housekeeping department — pretty well.
Side by side, the two would unload merchandise from trucks in the early morning. The rest of the day they would change light bulbs, empty trash, return clothes to trucks for transfer to other stores and do other janitorial duties.
"He was my partner," Andresen said of Joy, 56, one of the Von Maur employees killed Wednesday.
Andresen was in the second-floor men's restroom, washing his hands before clocking out for a lunch break, when he heard gunshots. He hid by himself for 40 minutes until police found him there.
Andresen recalled having once told Joy how much he loved an old eight-track tape of Christmas carols by the Jackson 5. When Joy asked why he didn't listen to it anymore, Andresen laughed and said he didn't have an eight-track player.
Joy found the songs on a compact disc and gave it to Andresen.
"I have that to remember my friend by," Andresen said.
Andresen said that Joy lived alone and that he thought Joy was divorced. Andresen said he thought Joy had worked at the store about four years.
Sarah Barsell remembered Joy as friendly.
The manager of a 30-unit complex at 8330 California St. where Joy lived burst into tears this morning when she learned the news about a tenant she described as "a wonderful person."
"I've only had the property for a while — but he always took care of it," she said. "He was always a sweet, nice man."
Joy grew up in Bellevue, said a former neighbor. He was a 1969 graduate of Bellevue High.
He is preceded in death by his father, Terrance. He is survived by his mother, Inez Joy of Omaha, and a brother, James Joy.
By Cincy Gonzalez and Erin Grace of the Omaha World-Herald
Gary Michael Joy is a direct descendant of the builder of the first State House of Boston, Thomas Joy. He is a direct descendant of a Mayflower Passenger, Richard Warren.