Sunday, July 22, 2012

Frank Beazley, 1928 - 2012

Frank Beazley died this morning at Zambarano Hospital, in Burrillville, where he had lived since 1967, when a spinal-cord injury left him paralyzed from the waist down -- and began his extraordinary journey to celebrated poet and artist, and Rhode Island's foremast advocate for the disabled. Just this spring, the main patient building at Zambarano -- where he lived and died -- was named for him, a rare honor. I am glad he lived to see it.

Frank was the subject of the favorite series I ever wrote, a series that produced an amazing outpouring of praise for Frank from hundreds of readers. But more than that, Frank became a very dear friend -- in his humble way, a sort of father figure. Those who know me best will understand why I grieve.

I saw Frank for the last time on Tuesday, when I visited him after learning he was gravely ill. He had been very sick on occasions before, but I knew seeing him that he was tired, and ready to go, and at peace with that. I sat by his bed and we talked for a few minutes, just a few spare words. Frank kept saying "OK" and "good." Then he smiled, that great Frank smile, and drifted back to sleep. I touched him and said goodbye.  And then I went back to The Providence Journal and wrote his obituary, which will be in tomorrow's edition.

Godspeed, Frank.

Frank in 2006, with my granddaughter, Isabella.

1 comment:

  1. I'm saddened to hear of Frank's passing. My wife worked at Zamby and got to know him. She said he was a kind and caring person who stood up and represented the other patients there. I hope he gains the freedom of movement in heaven that alluded him here on earth.
    Dana St Gelais