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Not for Sale

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Tim knew the organization and planning necessary to pull off a successful health fair.

As the 1990 fair approached, Tim’s decline began to accelerate. His gait became slow and feeble. He added new notches to his belt, which bunched up the top of his pants like a drawstring, similar to what Herminio had done. The students assumed more and more responsibilities. Meetings with Tim were painful. I asked myself, How much longer can this go on? Death would have been a blessing six months ago. The administrative part of me wished very much for Tim to retire on disability. Tracking his grant-related expenses had become an office project. The office staff began planning errands around his scheduled visits, not because they were afraid to see him but because they didn’t want to cry in his presence.

The health fair went off flawlessly. The students did a great job. Tim summoned what would have been an enormous amount of energy even for a healthy person; finding extra examining gowns, setting up examining rooms, directing students to the screening stations where they were needed the most. Five hundred people came. Three other faculty members, besides me, came down to supervise the students. In general, most faculty members avoided Tim and his projects after he made his announcement. Tim went into seclusion after the fair. We talked on the phone one time before he died. He told me matter of factly that he thought it was time to go on disability. He didn’t think he could work anymore. I told him I understood, thanked him for all he had done, and offered to help in any way that I could.

“Art, one more thing.” Tim’s voice was faltering.

“Sure Tim, anything.”

“Promise me you’ll keep the health fairs going.”

“I promise, Tim. Don’t worry.”

I heard from Anita two weeks later that Tim had been admitted to a community hospital. Although he had been public about his illness, he was very private about his death. He didn’t want to die at

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