Jim Bates lost his battle to Pancreatic cancer on November 11, 2017. Affectionately know around Roosevelt Island as "Uncle Jim," he is leaving a legacy of advocacy and faith in his wake.
Jim was the President of the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, a veteran of the US Coast Guard, active member in Hope Roosevelt Island Church, and a loving husband to Belen. His life was marked by his commitment to empowering and elevating the experience of the disabled population of his neighborhood which flowed out of his passionate love for Jesus.
His neighbors will long remember the stubborn New York native who rolled down Main Street with the sign, "Enabled, not Disabled" on the back of his wheelchair. Jim fought to create a world where people with disabilities were welcomed into all areas of life and not seen as a burden or an afterthought, but important, central, contributing members of society.
Although Jim was sick for awhile, his death still feels like a surprise to his family and friends. His widow, Belen, is in need of financial support to cover the cost of his burial.