Mass Mail Friends Say Thank You

From the Editor: Most charitable organizations raise at least part of their operating funds by conducting mass mail campaigns. The NFB is no different. Dr. Jernigan shaped our mail program and wrote and signed the letters.

Shortly before his death he wrote one last letter to the thousands of people who had come to know him through those letters and through the Kernel Books they had received. In this letter he told our supporters that he did not have much longer to live and that Dr. Maurer would be taking over in keeping them informed about the work and dreams of the Federation. The response to that letter has been surprising even to those who knew something of the affection in which Dr. Jernigan was held by the people who help make our work possible. Here is a small sample of the letters we have received:

Bainbridge, Washington

November 3, 1998

Dear Kenneth:

You mention that Marc Maurer will do your work with love and ability. That is exactly what you have done. It has been a real pleasure to receive your letters and requests for help. I found myself looking forward to them and saving funds so that we could help.

We mailed you a check yesterday, but I wanted to write you a note too, to let you know how we felt about you and your work.

You have helped me, a ninety-year-old man. Thank you, Kenneth.

Salt Lake City, Utah

To the Friends and Relatives of Kenneth:

Please accept with deepest sympathy the heartfelt thought that there is hope in each new tomorrow. I did not know him personally, but I read all his books and the sweet stories of the blind. I know God will love him. I miss him terribly.

Black Diamond, Washington

Dear Mrs. Jernigan,

Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your husband. I was deeply saddened to read of his passing in our local newspaper.

I wrote to Kenneth a few years back after seeing him on a commercial for the National Federation of the Blind. I am sighted, but I wanted to help. We wrote back and forth for the past few years, and I truly felt that he was a dear friend of mine.

I have all of the Kernel Books that he had a hand in publishing, and I enjoyed reading his personal stories in the beginning of the books. My son, who is two, likes to look at them as well, and when he gets older, I look forward to telling him what a wonderful man Kenneth was.

I would enjoy hearing from you—please know I am thinking of you.


For Dr. Jernigan, Braille was an integral part of every day.  Through the years he used it to do research, to teach, and to entertain.

Seven Pictures of Dr. Jernigan Using Braille:
At His Desk, At the Podium, With a Microphone

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St. Louis, Missouri

Dear Kenneth:

I just returned from the hospital (I was walking and a car hit me!) and I found your letter! I have your photograph for all to see on my Steinway, and I encourage all to support the blind Federation. I choose very carefully who I either give or show the cards you send.

Now I am deeply concerned about you. After all the hard work, determination, and love you show to others and the incredible work you have done for the blind, it's very sad to hear of your illness. God bless you, and always remember that you are loved always. Your choice of a successor will be excellent, but he will have a lot to do after all of your hard work.

Again, we all love you and hope you are feeling well.



Copper Center, Alaska

November 25, 1998

Dear Mr. Jernigan,

Even though I am a recent friend of the NFB, I was moved by your positive testimony in the letter introducing us to your successor, Dr. Maurer. Your little books have been a blessing to me and my friends. Now your attitude of thanksgiving to God for your productive and good life, knowing that your departure to the next life is near, is a great encouragement and inspiration. I am sixty-six, have enjoyed a full and satisfying life, and expect to find the next life glorious beyond compare. There all our senses will be heightened to perceive the beauty of the sounds, sights, and fragrances of a place where there will be no sorrow nor suffering, and where love and wonderful fellowship will abound...

May God keep and bless you to the very end, which will be your new beginning.