Alan's last public appearance was at the Howard Museum. For several years Howard's had an annual "Fall Into Art" exhibit each October which was underwritten by a museum supporter. I got involved because I had just finished scanning all Howards 1800+ glass plate negatives. It was decided that the exhibit was going to be a showing of some of the best Howard photo's. The "Fall Into Art" exhibit went on for three weeks and each Sunday there would be a featured speaker, the first week was a photo critic, the second week was an historic photo expert and they chose me to be the third weeks speaker to talk about the Howard collection. Just like I'm no writer, I'm certainly no public speaker and, besides that, what is there to say for an hour about a photo collection? I decided to go in another direction....I decided to put a panel together of people who actually knew Loretta Howard and we would talk about our experiences with that wonderful lady. I asked Alan, Kenny Howe, Loretta's grand daughter, Ruth, Keith Norrington, and Keenon Coleman to join me. The first two seminars were very lightly attended, but it was a standing room only crowd for our panel discussion; I believe Alan was the big draw. It went very well and I think those who attended enjoyed themselves.
I drove Alan over there that day. He told Eyvan Knight that the doctors had told him he had only about three months to live. Alan never mentioned that to me but when I let him out after driving him home he said, "that was my last public appearance". I didn't believe him, I knew he was sick, but not that sick. A couple of weeks later I heard that they had admitted Alan to the Hospice hospital. Alan would have none of that; he did everything he could to get himself kick out. He did such things as at two in the morning he would turn his tv all the way up, tangle himself in the cord so the nurse couldn't get to it (the old Alan was back). He succeeded, they sent him home. Alan had always said that he wasn't afraid of death, it was the dying he was afraid of. Alan also didn't believe in life after death.
About a week before Christmas one of Alan's daughters called me and said Alan wanted to see me. We had a nice final visit, we didn't say good-bye, we just talked and when I left, he gave me a hug. It was just a couple of weeks later on New Years day Alan died. He was cremated. Kenny Howe and I were honored by an invitation by the family to attend Alan's private burial in the Bates' family section in Cave Hill Cemetery. Rita did not attend. Alan didn't want a funeral, he wanted a party in his honor which he had several months later on the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE where many stories were exchanged. Alan would have liked that.
For me Alan was a mentor, a boss, a friend. I miss him.