Monday, November 13, 2017

Jim Bates, Roosevelt Island Community Leader & President Of RI Disabled Association Died Saturday November 11, Enabled Not Disabled Memorial Service Wednesday November 15 At Good Shepherd

Roosevelt Island resident Jim Bates died Saturday, November 11.

Jim Bates, or Uncle Jim, as he was known by many on Roosevelt Island, was one of our neighbors who contributed greatly to making Roosevelt Island a special place to live.

Jim Bates was the President of the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA),

a Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council member for his building (2-4 River Road) and the driving force behind the FDR Hope Memorial Committee. Jim Bates was also a Veteran of the US Coast Guard.

RIRA President Jeff Escobar reports:
As many of you may or may not already know, one of our most beloved colleague, community member, leader, advocate and stalwart supporter of life on Roosevelt Island, Jim Bates, passed away this last weekend. Jim, our RIRA council member from 2-4 River Road, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and passed away on Saturday morning, Veterans Day. Words cannot begin to express the sadness and sorrow all of us on Roosevelt Island feel at this loss.

There will be a memorial service for Jim this Wednesday, November 15 at 10:00 am at the Good Shepherd Church on Roosevelt Island. Please consider attending if you are able to. Also please consider using the following link to contribute generously to help his family defray the accumulated debt associated with his passing and funeral. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Please also feel free to pass and share the above information to your neighbors, friends and your respective building constituents.
According to the Jim Bates You Caring page:
... 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....
Here's Jim Bates in action advocating for the "Enabled Not Disabled" to play wheelchair basketball at Sportspark,

for the FDR Hope Memorial

and for Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds for RIDA in 2015.

The memorial service for Jim Bates will be held 10 AM Wednesday November 15 at the Good Shepherd Church (543 Main Street).

If you are able, please consider helping the family with the costs of his passing and funeral.

Jim Bates will be missed.

UPDATE 3:05 PM - Roosevelt Island resident and FDR Hope Committee member Marc Diamond adds:
Jim's vision of a memorial dedicated to FDR's disability will be realized. The scope of the project has been reduced so that less than $100,000 is now needed to build the plaza for the sculpture and a timeline that explains the interrelated history of Roosevelt Island, polio, and FDR. The timeline culminates with the vision that all communities become like Roosevelt Island: accessible, inclusive, and welcoming.

Contributions to the project can be made by supporting any of the fundraising efforts toward tribute stones on the plaza, or starting a new tribute, at To inquire about making a major contribution, contact Marc Diamond at