In Memory of A Bay Area "Original"
On February 3, 1997 Bill Bateman was struck from behind by a car as he was walking on Skyline Drive in Oakland. It was a sunny afternoon. The impact threw him up over the hood of the car--the back of his head hit the car's windshield, causing irreversible brain injuries. The 74 year-old driver of the car said he hadn't seen anyone. There were no witnesses. Bill never regained consciousness--he remained in a coma for 17 days. When it was agreed there was no hope of recovery, life support was withdrawn. He died February 20 at the age of 49.
Testimonials to Bill's life were given at at least three different memorial events attended by hundreds of people who knew him and his family. He was extraordinarily bright. In high school, Bill was "off the scale" on IQ tests and one instructor said Bill probably had the most analytical mind he had encountered in all his years of teaching. He excelled brilliantly in math, science, and literature--special courses were designed for him. After four semesters at a Midwestern university, however, he found the university to be a bore and, to the everlasting dismay of his parents, he left school and moved to California, where he led an unconventional life around Santa Cruz and in the Bay Area.
For years Bill earned his living as a whitewater rafting guide and steersman on the American River, he was a musician, artisan, actor, 3-D and aerial photographer, video producer, media trainer, music therapist with disturbed children and maintained an interest in the Beat Generation writers and holograms.
He was a self-taught, voluminous reader beginning in his early school days and throughout his entire lifetime. Bill pursued whatever interested him most. He didn't buy into the corporate lifestyle, though he worked for corporations at various times, most often as a consultant. He took time for his friends--for instance, two different times he helped serve as a caregiver to people who were dying, spending large amounts of time with them, visiting one of them almost daily. He knew how to repair everything and would do so if a friend or neighbor asked him for help. He was urban and streetwise, but also an intellectual in the true sense of the word, always reading and analyzing new ideas. He was endlessly interesting to talk with. He said he didn't want to work for a living when he could be paid for playing, and somehow he managed to do that for most of his 30 years in California. He was his own person and he lived his life on his own terms.
This series of prints was created in his memory.