It has come to our attention that we are rapidly losing members of our community, friends and supporters of ACB. In order to honor these people whose lives have impacted us, in large and small ways, we are publishing this column, "Passings." In it, we will include brief obituaries of those who have passed away. See below for the format in which to submit information.

Obituary Format

Please include as much of the following information as possible when submitting material for this column. Submissions must involve dates no more than six months from intended date of publication.

Name (first, last, maiden if appropriate)

City of residence (upon passing)

State/province of residence (upon passing)

Other cities/states/countries of residence (places where other blind people may have known this person)


Date of death (day if known, month, year)


ACB affiliation (local/state/special-interest affiliates or national committees)


Nels Barth of Longview, Wash., died Jan. 13, 2008. He was 50. Nels was a native of Washington state and had lived in southern locales as well as in the Seattle area.

Before he lost his sight to type I diabetes, Nels worked as a real estate agent and broker, for Alaska and Northwestern Airlines and also in several retail services. After he lost his sight in 1998, Nels again worked in real estate and then in insurance and as a paralegal.

Nels was a fun-spirited and active man until his death from a heart attack at his daughter's home in Longview earlier this year. He had many friends in Washington and seemed to develop friendships in the blind community as soon as he met other people with vision disabilities. Nels is survived by his older brother Mark of Seattle, sister Gail of Tacoma, and his two daughters, Sammi and Tory, both of the Kelso-Longview area. He will also be fondly remembered by the friends he entertained with his instantaneous wit and humor.


Gerald Andrew Spinner, 58, of Chandler, Ariz. (formerly of Springfield, Ill.), passed away April 6 in Tempe, Ariz. He was born in Centralia, Ill. to Evelyn and Ernest Spinner on June 22, 1949. He attended the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired in Jacksonville and graduated from Sandoval High School. He married Nancy Hughes on July 7, 1978. He attended the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, where he earned an undergraduate degree in European history and the University of Illinois College of Law for a juris doctorate.

Gerald practiced law in Springfield, where he served first as corporation counsel for the city of Springfield, and as director of legal services for the state's Department of Rehabilitation Services. From 1979 to 2003, Gerald was assistant legal advisor for the Illinois State Board of Education, specializing in government finance and contracts and special education. He and Nancy retired in February 2003 and moved to Chandler, Ariz.

Gerald is survived by his wife Nancy; his mother Evelyn Spinner of Sandoval; two sisters, Kathleen (Lee Roy) Roper of Centralia and Theresa Thornton of Sandoval; and a niece, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles. He was preceded in death by his father, Ernest Spinner, and a brother, Kenneth.

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