Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bill Ray Scales...

Another that has been building...first reading a post by my cousin Jody of the loss of one of our own...then the other day a a picture appears as it was the memorial for Bill Ray Scales...Bill Ray was what I always heard him called...I think because of many Bill's in the family...though I don't know if that is the case.

Bill Ray was the son of my Grandma Bessie's brother, Lem.   And also a light in the eye of his mother Aunt Bert...a pair forever etched in my heart...The picture I seen today and I share was Bill Ray as a young man...and with it the wife of his nephew shares:

Today we say goodbye to Mark's Uncle Bill. He was a wonderful man who lived a good life and overcame many obstacles. He contracted polio when he was 18 and lost the use of his lower body but that never stopped him from accomplishing his goals. He was inspiring and amazing. In the 5 years I knew him, I never once heard him complain. RIP Uncle Bill. #TBT

I look at his picture and I reflect on though he was one of the family's celebrities almost...I thought how little I really knew of him...I remember  him in a wheel chair. put there by polio..I remember my mom loved and enjoyed him and going to Emporia after the tornado and he telling of going through it in his car...and I had thought how brave he was...I remember it seems that same trip going to his and his wife Kathy's place and I remember music...of my mom being happy there...I am not sure the year and if it is in fact a collage of memories that I put into one visit. 

But as time goes on...I did not know Bill or see him as I got older and so I do what I do and I Google as I remember thinking there was a story written that he was in and I remembered he went to school in Emporia, KS...and so I find the article...and another handsome picture...making me think of the movie stars of that day...I remember he had a beautiful smile...and such an upbeat energy about him.   But I read in the article a little more of Bill Scales...This picture I "borrow" from the Emporia State University Spotlight... 

"The vision carried over to the students. Scales (BSE 1959, MS 1962) was active in disability issues as a student, then he became ESU’s coordinator of  services, and eventually became the director of disability
services at the University of Maryland in College Park."

I read how his way to access places in the college was to be carried by football players...and I wonder about more of what this story entails and I will have to talk to his sister some time and learn more...Bonnie...another amazing woman in her own right...and I know her heart must be heavy...and I send love and prayers and think of my other morning thinking of Bill...of Bonnie...of Vicki Jo a younger sister...And I find another picture of him with Vicki Jo...and I think of all the love this family shares...

I think of all the odds Bill Ray went up against in his life...he comes from tough stock and lived I am sure much longer than what many might have thought...and was an inspiration to so many...he was one who had a "disability" and instead of thinking poor me...he did things to make it better for others...I find an editorial to the same Emporia State that gave me a little more glimpse into the life of this one special man...

Responses to “A Promise of Accessibility”
I was delighted to see in
“Promise of Accessibility”
an old mentor, friend and
colleague, Dr. Bill Scales,
among those credited for
ESU’s richly deserved national
reputation as an accessible
campus. An inspiration to
ESU students with special
needs, Bill was a singular
force in the professional
development of this writer
and many others…. Few will
ever forget the boundless
enthusiasm, infectious laugh
and constant encouragement
that emanated from Bill as he
rolled in, around, up down
and throughout the campus….
To know and work with Bill
quite literally transported
those around him to a new
understanding of the disabled,
indeed of the very term itself….
Scales was an integral part
of the reason so many KSTC
graduates completed doctoral
degrees and had their own
highly successful careers in
higher education. No doubt I
speak for literally hundreds
when I say,
“Thank you, Bill,
for not only challenging each
of us to redefine ourselves and
what we might become, but for
the profoundly brave, warm
and supportive manner in
which you did it.”
- Gary G. Peer, Ed. D. (MS
1967), Stephenville, Texas

And I felt like those words gave just another glimpse and I think back to the other day as I showered and a song began to almost haunt me...and I then began to think of Bill...the song by Eva Cassidy kept playing in my head and I continued to almost feel a part of this man that had touched many...I think the part of walking in fields of gold...though I thought he must be running!

I have had special pictures come to me that seem to be a picture for a special one that is no longer with us in body...and I think of the words of Bill Ray's niece Jody Rae..."Uncle Bill had a profound impact on my life. He was my friend, a confidant, and while I will miss him, I will never forget him."

And so I return to my picture...these sunflowers caught my eye today as I went and grained calves for the shepherd...and of course my camera with me.   Before I went to leave...a butterfly landed on it...Sunflowers...what more could a Kansas boy be remembered by...who ran the race with dignity and joy...thankful for those who come through our lives that inspire us to be more...Thank you Bill!


1 comment:

  1. Penny, I only met Bill Ray a few times but I remember his smile. So sorry for the family.