My Memories of Frank Bowe By John Williams I knew Frank Bowe for nearly 30 years. He was a personal friend, and one of the people I admired most in this world. I could write volumes on our relationship and the hundreds and hundreds of hours we spent working side-by-side and the scores of hours we spent playing chess. He loved playing chess – at least with me. I loved being his opponent. Many of our games lasted for hours. The last time we played chess together was more than three years ago at the National Press Club. He beat me. The game lasted more than two hours and forty minutes. Frank was the most prolific and the most brilliant writer in the disability field that I knew. His fingers were always on a keyboard. His initial writing was so good that he seldom needed a second draft. His brilliant mind absorbed facts and figures in ways that astonished me. His writing was always so crystal clear that he made me envious. For years, he would always send me copies of his latest book. I reviewed some of them. I always learned from his writings. I worked for him for three years. I came to know him as well as I know myself and to love him like a brother. He was a brilliant strategist who taught me a new way of thinking. The longer I worked for him the more our thinking paralleled on critical issues related to disability issues. He would consult my opinions, and if he thought I was on the right track he would say, “let’s talk more.” He was always opened to my suggestions, and he always gave his staff credit for their contributions. He was selfless. I considered Frank the Martin Luther King of the Disability Civil Rights Leadership. Like King, he was a visionary. Like King, he was a strong advocate for ensuring and protecting human rights. Like King he was a brilliant orator. Like King, people followed his leadership. Like King, he took the higher ground on issues dealing with social and economic justice.Like King, he could be non-partisan. Like King, he was the conscience of his movement. Like King, he believed in non-violence. Like King, he was prepared to give his life for his cause. Like King, Frank’s reputation will grow long after his death. Often when Frank and I met in recent years we would talk about assistive technology. He’s asked, “What are the latest products on the market?” I would tell him.He was always interested in advancements in telecommunications. He loved e-mailing me. I loved reading his e-mails. During the three years that I worked for Frank, he spent several dozen evenings with my wife and me at our home. Many, many times he stayed the night. He was an excellent conversationalist. He knew a lot about history, and he was current on politics. He loved the challenge of bringing diverse minds together and forging legislation. From our first meeting, Frank and I never needed a sign-language interpreter. He understood me, even when I stuttered. He read my lips well. We often joked that he was my mouth, and I was his ears. We understood one another’s mission and goals so well that we were true soul mates. When I heard of Frank’s death, I was shocked. I grieved. I cried. I felt empty. I am grieving and crying as I write this. While I have lost a great friend, the disability community has lost one of their best leaders and the world has lost a champion humanitarian.