by James Kracht and Paul Edwards
On Dec. 12, 2015, more than 75 family members and friends gathered for a moving memorial service for long-time ACB member and friend Stephen Speicher. Steve lost his six-year battle with cancer Dec. 5.
He will long be remembered for his compassion and never-ending desire to help others, his gentility and integrity, and his demand for thoroughness and complete excellence and responsiveness from ACB and its affiliates and their leadership. He devoted much time and energy to making ACB better. Steve served as an officer and board member of ACB; he worked with the American Association of Visually Impaired Attorneys, where he constantly encouraged the organization to seek potential new members; and he served as a board member of both the Braille Revival League and Library Users of America, and avidly promoted his love for braille. For the last several years he represented ACB on the National Library Service’s Collections Development Committee. On the state level, Steve served the ACB of Nebraska as a contributing officer and board member.
One of four children, Steve was born on July 28th, 1950, in Indianapolis. After losing his sight to retinoblastoma as a very young boy, he attended and graduated from the Indiana School for the Blind. While there, he began his passion for singing and playing the piano, and developed a lifelong love for French. After spending a year studying in Avignon, France, he remained interested in the customs and culture of France for the rest of his life.
He graduated from DePauw University where he was honored as a Rector Scholar. Steve obtained his law degree from the prestigious University of Chicago Law School.
Practicing law first for Legal Services in Boston and then as a solo practitioner in Lincoln, Neb., he expended his legal talents helping those who were less fortunate and/or faced a disability. He established a reputation as an excellent Social Security lawyer. Steve is survived by his lovely wife Kate, a brother and sister, and numerous in-laws, nieces and nephews.
Paul Edwards best summarized the thoughts and feelings of ACB members, which were shared at Steve’s memorial service, writing: “I will miss his quiet integrity, his dry sense of humor and his faith that those of us in ACB could find a way to make progress. He asked us all to be better than we thought we could be.”
Steve, you will be missed, but we thank you for who you were, and for all that you did as a friend, an advocate, and a truly caring person.