A special feature at accessatlanta.com pays tribute to “notable deaths” in 2009. This seems a little premature since a nice chunk of the year remains.

Perhaps the person making this tribute was attuned to this coming Sunday being All Saints’ Day, in which some churches (according to particular traditions) honor those faithful persons who have gone before us. Otherwise, the timing is a mystery to me.

When the tribute first came up on the news web site I visit each day, there were three visible images: Socks the Cat, Millard Fuller and Jack Cover who invented the Taser gun. I couldn’t help but think that my friend Millard would get a kick out of this.

Here vying for attention was a feline who lived in the White House for awhile. The media attention shifted from the cat, however, when the Clinton family brought home a pup named Buddy.

Millard, along with his wife Linda, gave up wealth in a radical faith commitment that resulted in the building of hundreds of thousands of decent homes for people in need around the world.

But, with his ever-present bright smile and hearty laugh, Millard would have been humored by his positioning in this tribute. I talked with Millard and Linda’s son Chris yesterday morning and he agreed.

It turns out the tributes were not a ranking based on perceived importance but were presented in chronological order. Millard died on Feb. 3. We said goodbye the next morning as he was buried in a simple grave on Koinonia Farms — on the coldest day in Southwest Georgia that many can remember.

The inventor and the cat died on Feb. 7 and Feb. 20 respectively. Other notables profiled included longtime broadcaster Paul Harvey who died Feb. 28.

Whether well known to the broader public or just special to a few, it is always a good idea to remember and give thanks for those on whose shoulders we stand and whose lives have made our own better.

[For historic record: This is my first blog to be posted at 30,000 feet thanks to a free wi-fi promo by Delta and Gogo.]

PS: After reading my blog, Kirk Lyman-Barner of the Fuller Center for Housing sent this photo as evidence of Millard’s sense of humor. He is laughing in response to a homeowner’s “Are you crazy?” look when he told her she didn’t have to accept the house being dedicated.

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