Pat was one of the first national representatives of ACB I met back in the mid-'80s when I was beginning to learn what the organization was about. She served as ACB's treasurer and in numerous appointed positions including as chair (and later) co-chair of the environmental access committee.
In the summer of 2008 when the Department of Justice released its Notice of Proposed Rule-Making for the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ultimately withdrawn), Pat Beattie was one of the people I asked to participate in a group which I convened in Washington to develop ACB's response. We will all miss her style, expertise and leadership throughout the American Council of the Blind.
-- Mitch Pomerantz, ACB President, Pasadena, Calif.
Though in my head, I had expected this news, in my heart I had hoped it would not come for some time. Now that it has, I can only say that in my opinion, the disability advocacy movement will never be the same without Pat.
I met Pat shortly after I came to work for ACB in 1998. Since that time, she and I have had countless opportunities to both work and play together. She was a fount of knowledge, which she was never shy about sharing. At the same time, you could count on her to listen to some of the most tedious discussions that lasted long hours and involved minute and mind-boggling concepts. Whatever the task, Pat dove in and took it on with passion and enthusiasm. But the thing I will remember the most is that as she shared the political and advocacy work, she also became a personal friend. She cared about the people she was working with, as well as the tasks we were working on. She could advocate for her friends with the same gusto she gave to public policy advocacy.
Pat will be sorely missed by many, both in ACB and throughout the entire disability community. I only hope she knows how thankful we are for her many contributions to our community, both professionally and personally. Farewell, Pat! You have been a fine advocate and a wonderful friend!
-- Melanie Brunson, ACB executive director, Arlington, Va.
Pat has been a presence in ACB as long as I have been around. Her contributions to our movement were larger than most people know. She and a few others were in the trenches inventing accessibility to physical facilities for people who were blind or low vision. She had the patience and the intestinal fortitude to attend innumerable meetings that most of us would have found boring in the extreme. She came away from these meetings with regulations that reflected a better understanding of the needs of people with visual impairments. The last time Pat and I spent a lot of time together was working on ACB's testimony for the new ADA regulations. She would come directly from cancer treatments to provide her input and made a difference in what we included because of her knowledge of the rules. She was a champion of change, a wonderful friend, and a lady who was wise as well as smart. Pat, I will miss you.
-- Paul Edwards, Miami, Fla.
The blindness field has lost a dear friend and nationally recognized advocate, Pat Beattie. Pat was extremely active in the blindness community and was instrumental in shaping legislation and public policy. She worked for AFB in the 1980s and then went on to become the Director of Governmental Relations for NIB. She also worked closely with the American Council of the Blind, where she served as an officer and board member.
Pat was a great advocate and also one of the most loyal people I've ever worked with. You could always depend on Pat to speak her mind, to tell it straight without pulling punches. But you also knew that Pat was going to be the first one to bring everyone together to socialize and celebrate. She was one of the first people to really introduce me to the intricacies of blindness community politics and she helped me understand many of the policies important to our community. I'll miss her smarts and her advocacy, but most of all, I'm glad to have a part of her spirit in my life.
-- Paul Schroeder, Vice President, Programs and Policy Group, American Foundation for the Blind, Washington, D.C.
I'm sorry to hear of Pat's passing. I didn't know her well, but I have some very fond memories dating back to Ski for Light in Anchorage back in 2003. Pat won the raffle to ride on a dog sled for the ceremonial start of the Iditarod. Envious though I was, her joy in that experience still makes me grin some seven years later.
-- Becky Barnes, Mount Kisco, N.Y.
I remember our days together on the ACB board. While I remember how hard Pat worked, my favorite memories are the fun side of Pat. I remember when she worked on the convention committee and would come into the convention office when I was running it and we'd have long talks about everything. I especially remember the board meeting in Arlington, Va., when the NOVA chapter hosted a dinner for us in a room on the roof of the building where Pat lived. Somehow she and I stopped in her apartment for something, and ended up staying there for several hours, chatting, listening to music, and drinking a six-pack!
My condolences to Pat's family, and her ACB family. I suspect she's already found Durward, Grant, and some of our other ACB friends and is advocating up there, if any advocating needs to be done up there!
-- Jean Mann, Guilderland, N.Y.
We will all miss her willingness to assist others, particularly those with vision loss.
I didn't realize until a couple of years ago about her involvement in teaching people English as a second language. I had some great e-mail exchanges with her when she shared her faith as well. I had known for years about her environmental access work but was inspired when I learned about her faith when she was having more and more health issues. I shared her written words with my church prayer chain and they were truly inspired. Sometimes, it takes a tough time in someone's life before we talk about personal situations -- not just blindness-related issues with our ACB friends.
-- Ardis Bazyn, Burbank, Calif.
Peace be with my very dear friend, Pat Beattie, who lost a long, ugly two-year battle with breast cancer. She attended our wedding here in Columbia, Mo. as my guest of honor, and happened to fall and hurt her knee. The fall sent her to the doctor and caused the cancer to be diagnosed. She was my mentor, my friend, like a mom to me, and a spirited soul that blessed my life with immense wisdom and many great memories. She took me to Ski for Light my first time in 2005, which happened to be the last time she attended. She helped me cope with the vision loss I experienced. She taught me to be an advocate for myself, not to give up, and to be tough. I will never forget her impact on my life. She had an endless zest for life and for bettering the lives of blind people. No one knew more about disability legislation than Pat. I last talked to her on December 19, a week before she went into the hospital for the last time. She was still upbeat and encouraging to me even as she lay in a full-body back brace, as the cancer was in her spine. May God bless her soul.
-- Lisa W. Altschul, Columbia, Mo.
Pat was my friend and one of my most respected and appreciated mentors. She and I also shared a love for good beer and maybe just slightly off-color and out-of-the-box humor.
Paul's comments made me think of one of Pat's favorite stories of one set of those innumerable meetings that most of us would have found boring in the extreme. Pat was very concerned about signage to accommodate people who are blind and low vision. We owe Pat for much of the consistency that exists concerning ADAAG and ANSI standards which deal with consistent height and placement of braille and low vision signs. One of the things Pat did was get involved on ANSI scoping panels that were determining the height of things. Once on this panel, she found out that there was a hazing process in that the first assignment that one got was not always a pleasant one, and did not necessarily deal with the part of determining heights that the person was most interested in. Her first assignment was to research and write scoping for the height of accessible men's urinals. Now, every time I encounter one of those accessible men's urinals, I think of Pat. Some people might not think of that as a compliment or as an appropriate portion of a very impressive and honorable legacy, but Pat enjoyed telling the story and appreciated the warm thoughts. We laughed about that numerous times. I was actually working on a song for the FIA Showcase about Pat's writing those standards. I am not sure how soon I will want to return to it and finish it now, so it may not get sung this year, but I had hoped to be able to honor Pat with it this summer. Pat was a friend and a mentor. I learned a lot about lobbying, about government regulation, about humor, and about how to survive life from my many conversations with Pat.
-- Michael Byington, Topeka, Kan.
Return to Table of Contents
Return to the Braille Forum Index