January 12, 1928 – April 28, 2015
May 3, 2015 – Special Memorial Service for Walt at Hibikinokai
It is with deep regret we must announce that Walter Spillum, Hibikinokai’s dear friend and founder, passed away this morning at 12:48 am, at age 87.
Since 1998, Walter’s guiding hand and vision created and nurtured Hibikinokai as a non-profit dedicated to teaching the English language and computer skills to the disabled, elderly and general public for improved communication. He worked tirelessly to promote inclusion of the disabled and elderly in society, and to further independent living, transportation for people in wheelchairs, and the inclusion of the blind and others with disabilities.
Walter was active in the operations of Hibikinokai up until March 15 when he fell ill and was taken to the hospital. Walter is irreplaceable, yet it is his wish that Hibikinokai continue, for everybody.
Walter is survived by his brother, Jack Spillum.
ピンバック: hibiki-echo300858 Newsletter, March, 9, 2014. |
ピンバック: Walter Spillum, 1928 – 2015 | Doug-at-Large
I finally could make contact with Lee Yen Yen, whom Walt met at Hachioji and helped complete his study at USA up to phd degree. He was surprised of Walt’s death and is preparing the message now. I hope it will be translated into Japanese and deliivered to Hibiki-no-kai in time.
Thanks very much.
It was nice to meet new and old friends of Hibiki-no-kai at the farewell party for Walt yesterday. I attach the message given by Yen Yen below.
Message from Dr. Yen Yen Lee
The startling news reached me just now when I received the phone call from Yukiko Nakanishi, that my advisor and my friend Mr. Walter Spillum died of illness. I’m deeply grieved and started to write this mourning article while crying.
I am Yenyen Lee, former international student coming from Anhui, China, and studied at Hachioji-shi School for the Blind. During study, I heard that an American volunteered to teach English for blind people for free. Therefore, I met him and became the only student from the school at the early spring of 1997. Since then, he hanged out with me and helped me practice English every two weeks. He is a nice, open-minded person and also cared about persons with disabilities so much.
While I got acquainted with Walt more, he wanted to know more about my study, acupuncture massage theory. At the same time, he told me about Chiropractic originated from the U.S. He encouraged me to go to the U.S. to learn Chiropractic, ranked as the top three medical systems with green therapy. Since there is lots of imaging treatment in the study of Chiropractic, blind people received neither the medical PhD degree in Chiropractic before me, nor the medical practice license.
Now I did it and became the first blind graduate in Chiropractic at the top university, Palmer College of Chiropractic, and also became the first person with visual impairment in American history to win the medical practice license. I have also obtained the medical practice license in China by now, established my own Chiropractic Therapy Institute, and published Chiropractic Theory, which is the first medical monograph about Chiropractic in China.
All of my achievements owe to Walt’s pioneering mind and his help. Moreover, Walt’s care for persons with disabilities influenced me a lot. Now, I’m the Vice President of Anhui Disabled Persons’ Federation, President of Anhui Blind Persons’ Federation, and Vice President of Anhui Massage Association.
Walt’s spirit and achievements are memorable and worth learning. I wrote down his story in my autobiography, Adversity, to let more people know him. I’ll always keep Walt as my lifetime advisor and friend!
Apr, 30, 2015
I am deeply saddened by Walt’s passing–I learned of it only today, June 30, 2015. Quite some time ago–perhaps 15-20 years?–I met Walt in Tokyo where I was presenting a seminar on audio description, the translation of visual images to words for the benefit of people who are blind or have low vision.
Walt was so gracious, introducing me to his work at Hibiki no Kai and helping me encourage the development of audio description in Japan. As further evidence of his commitment to service, I would see Walt every year–he would make the effort (and assume the expense!) of coming to the annual American Council of the Blind Conventions held in different cities throughout the United States.
Walt’s passing is an enormous loss–but his life was a tremendous blessing for so many in Japan and in the United States.
I have only learned belatedly of Walt Spillum’s death several months ago. He left the world a better place due to his presence.
Walt helped introduce my wife and me to Japan and its wonderful culture and greatly aided our own visit to Japan some fifteen years ago in 2000. He helped us in our work to promote accessible transportation for persons with disabilities in countries around the world and introduced me to a new understanding of the progress being made by Japan. And he helped so many others from many countries! In his quiet way, Walt was a great man. I have learned much from him and am saddened to know of his departure from this world.