who died of cancer last Saturday.
Some would say I didn't know him well, and in some sense, I didn't. I've been a Window-Eyes user for only about a year and a half, and didn't really get a chance to talk with Clarence until CSUN of 2007. We bantered back and forth, laughed and he showed me some cool tech stuff. It was nice to find someone who had a sense of humor, a humble kind spirit and a ton of knowledge. Of course, there are many wonderful people in the technology industry, but that doesn't make it easier to lose one of them.
Anyone who's been around the various tech or blindness conferences for a few years knows how exciting it is to see people you know and like. Clarence was always a friendly person to be around and shoot the breeze with. He made me smile, and I always felt at ease when talking with him. Conventions can get tricky, and there can be a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle judgment going on, but I never got that feeling from Clarence.
One other thing, he was great at presentations. I went to a Window-Eyes presentation he did and noticed that there was something for everyone. A beginner could follow his explanations, but even a somewhat more advanced user who likes to explore on her own could learn a neat trick or a new way of conceptualizing certain tech skills.
Even as I look forward to going to convention this year, I feel sad knowing Clarence won't be there. Clarence, yoou were a wonderful man and we will miss you greatly, but your contributions will live on. Thank you for who you were and what you did.