Friday, June 27, 2008

June is turning into the cruelest month

"Jamie Lembeck, a loyal friend of Hallwalls (and many of us personally), and devotee of the arts (especially music) and man about town known to (and loved by) most everyone in the art and music scene of Buffalo, died at home overnight, June 24–25, 2008. As was his wish, he had just been released from the hospital earlier, where he had been treated for newly developing respiratory problems and had contracted a serious infection, both complications of the prolonged paralysis that required him to use a wheelchair for most of his adult life, but which never kept him from getting around or attending more concerts and other art events than just about any non-wheelchair-using person you could name. You never thought of Jamie as being "wheelchair bound"; his wheelchair was his means of mobility, and he was always on the cutting edge of technologies for independent living.

"He passed away peacefully in his home in the former firehouse at 1416 Main Street, which he had designed and built as a model of independent living, with both close friends and hospice caregivers present, though he had been expected to last longer than the few hours he had left there.

"Although many of our current Board members might not know Jamie, Jamie served on Hallwalls' Board of Directors for a full decade, from January 1996 through January 2006, until the institution of term limits that year (coinciding with our opening in The Church, as it was then called), but he was a long-time supporter before that, and remained a loyal supporter to the end. He advised our architects (both Hallwalls' and the entire Church project's) on accessibility, as he had done on so many projects in Buffalo, and one of his legacies is certainly the exemplary accessibility of Babeville, which he took advantage of as long as he could.

"The last Hallwalls event I know he attended was the full-to-capacity Eyes & Ears: Sound Needs Image Part II, on April 5, 2008. He had wanted to attend Artists & Models at the end of last month, but, not feeling up to it, he sent his regrets—along with a donation—with a friend."

— Ed Cardoni, Hallwalls Executive Director