Eagle Bill Amato, born Frank William Wood,
Born April 10, 1942; Died May 22, 2005.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Eagle Bill was 63 at the time of his death two months after he was diagnosed with advanced cancer.
He spent his final days helping ready a new publication of his autobiography and enjoying time with his friends and family.
A resident of Amsterdam for 12 years, Bill returned to his native Georgia in the United States so he could die in the company of his family and friends there. Bill was of the Cherokee Nation in ancestry and spirituality. In the face of grave illness, Bill kept his determination to die with dignity. His passing was a lesson to all involved about how to face death without fear.
Eagle Bill is known for the popularizing of the vaporizer, which he termed a “safe and effective alternative to smoking.” For over a decade he was a favored exhibit at the Sensi Seed Hash Museum in Amsterdam. The museum attracts visitors from around the world and Bill enjoyed sharing his new technologies any willing inhalers.
Bill wore many hats in his life. A native of rural Georgia, Bill’s first venture was doing the local thing, stealing cars. In his autobiography, 10% THC, A Cannabis Tale, Bill describes how a friend turned him on to marijuana and this changed his perspective on life.
From then on he quit doing stupid, illegal stuff and became a small-time marijuana salesman. Bill started growing pot in the late 60’s. This started with one castaway seed that sprouted next to his driveway. The plant grew to 9 feet tall before Bill noticed it and reached 17 feet tall at harvest. Bill had a new occupation. The next year s Bill planted 18 plants and year by year his ambitions grew as fast as the weed. At the time he got busted he was raising exotic birds and horses and living the good life.
After prison, Bill continued to grow for himself and became a recognized expert in home growing of quality sensimilla. At one point he visited Amsterdam and made friends with the Ben Dronkers family, proprietors of the Sensi Seed Company.
Bill’s second life conversion came during the weekend that Bill and his companion Linda visited me at the Ohio Hempery. Linda wanted to pick up some cloth for sewing. Bill wanted legal advice. I was heading out to a regional Rainbow Gathering and invited them along. Bill quickly rose into the spirit of the gathering and has not been the same since. That weekend we had a long chance to talk about Bill’s legal problems. Bill was tired of being in the closet.. He was determined to shake up the world about his two issues, native rights and marijuana. He said he did not care what happened to himself in the process. After hearing of the unsafe chances Bill was taking in Georgia, my advice was clear, get back to Amsterdam as quickly as possible. Bill would be safe there.
Thus Eagle Bill was born; a native spirit out change the horrendous laws against marijuana and hemp. Linda sewed her hemp cloth into a full battle dress for Bill to wear on his mission. Bill finished his affairs in Georgia and headed off to Europe.
Bill met a good reception on his return to Amsterdam, especially from the Dronkers family. This was soon before the 1994 Cannabis Cup. Sensi Seeds gave Bill space and he blew away the crowd with his new technology. It remained the most popular exhibit at the Cannabis Cup for 10 years, earning Bill and Sensi Seeds numerous first place cups. Soon he set up shop on a daily basis in the Hash Museum and used that platform to turn the world on to vaporization.
Bill devoted the rest of his life toward making people aware that smoking herbs like tobacco or cannabis causes inhalation of carbon monoxide and carcinogenetic tars. These harmful compounds have no known psychoactive effects. The only reason to burn herb was to generate hot air to evaporate the aromatic resins from the unburned material. Vaporizers use hot air only, no smoke and few carcinogens are produced. The result is a much cleaner high than anything anybody had experienced before.
Bill invented several forms of the vaporizer including the 10 gallon jar model he displayed at large shows for its dramatic effect. His one piece glass “shake and bake” pipe was adopted by the Netherlands government as part of their medical marijuana program. The Eagle Bill vaporizers are now available at most any pharmacy in Holland.
Two weeks before his passing, Bill’s daughter Debby hosted friends and family for a sendoff to Eagle Bill. It was Bill’s wish to have friends gather while he was still alive, rather than at a funeral he could not participate in. He hated to miss a party. Several of members of Bill’s Cherokee clan attended as well as guests from as far away as the Netherlands. We had a blast. Bill was vaporizing and rallied his energies to tell stories of his illustrious past. This gathering finished, the Eagle was ready to fly.
Bill is survived by his daughter Debby Wood of Cumming, Georgia; his adopted son Oswald de Moor of the Netherlands; granddaughter Kimberly Wood of Marietta, Georgia; former wives and still friends Don Dawn Hughes of Cumming, GW and Linda and Girlfriend EmmyClark, of Georgia and special friends Emmea de Moor her son Oscar of the Netherlands and Ravi Dronkers Dronkers of Amsterdam and Donny Minner of Atlanta.
No funeral service is planned. An Eagle Bill Wake and Bake is planned for Sunday, May 30, 2005 at the Sensi Seed Hash Museum at 4:20 pm.
Condolences to the family should be sent to:
5360 Cantrell Circle
Cumming, GA GA 30041
Or online @ <http://www.eaglebill.com/>www.eaglebill.com
The family requests that in lieu of flowers contributions can be sent to:
Common Sense for Drug Policy
1377-C Spencer Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17603 USA