When those of us on the New Mobility staff began to make peace with our sense of loss, it dawned on us just how much there is to celebrate about the life of the man who gave so much to the magazine, to the disability community, and to his family and friends. In truth, our feelings of loss began well before Barry Corbet left us, for we learned of his terminal illness several months ago. True to his character, however, he did not allow us to think of his death as anything other than a natural part of his life.
Yet when news of his passing came, we did grieve. And we wondered: How could we make a tribute issue unique? What could we do to make it reflect his personality, accomplishments, legacy? We knew we wanted it to be classy, cohesive, certainly not maudlin. Of course there would have to be stories, anecdotes, memories–some poignant, some wise, some humorous. And there would have to be more.
Barry Corbet was a man who was relatively unknown to the general public, but in a very real way, Barry’s life was heroic. Not only was he a world-class skier and mountaineer–one of the first Americans to climb Mount Everest–he was also one of the first to bring into public consciousness a different kind of adventure that is intimately familiar to New Mobility readers. He called it the conquest of the ordinary: “We find adventure in reaching the unreachable object, in scratching the unscratchable itch, in making the impossible transfer. We find it every time our adaptive equipment breaks down or an attendant flakes out. We find it in confronting patronization and discrimination, in righting wrongs, taking stands and rousing the coura