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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: On Sept. 8, one of the dearest men I have ever known was killed in a tragic accident. A woman trying to pick up her ringing cell phone crossed the median of the interstate and hit him head-on.

Not a day has passed that I haven't thought of the joy this man brought to my life, or how quickly that joy turned to sadness. He was not my husband, my father or even a family member. He was my boss.

Stephen T. McGill was a brilliant attorney who always tried to create a win-win situation for everyone. I can't begin to tell you how impossible he is to replace. He treated me with respect, and his praise gave me a newfound confidence in myself. His kindness, compassion and generosity taught me what it really means to have class. He never gave me orders or treated me as a subordinate. He referred to me as his "partner" and we worked side-by-side for two wonderful years.

If something is to be gained from the loss of this great man, I hope two lessons will be learned. First, treating others with respect is the only way to be respected by others. Second, everything we do has the potential to affect those around us. If our behavior isn't governed by the effect it has on those around us, "sorry" may not be enough to repair the damage.

We are short one hero in Nebraska. -- CAROL RUSHING, OMAHA

DEAR CAROL: You have written a heartfelt eulogy for a most remarkable man. Indeed, there are lessons to be learned from his sterling example. I have another thought: Perhaps it's time to amend the traffic laws to require drivers to pull over if they're going to use a cell phone.

DEAR ABBY: I must respond to "Want My Privacy in Phoenix," the woman who didn't want her picture taken at family gatherings. My sister was one of those who hated having her picture taken. She said she didn't photograph well. She died suddenly in a car accident nearly 11 years ago. In the scramble to put together a memorial service, the only recent picture of her we could find was a 2-year-old Polaroid. Now, all these years later, all I have of my sister is a scant handful of photos, most of them taken before she turned 20.

I am the photo historian in my family. I also teach people how to preserve their photos in safe scrapbooks. Many of my customers also hate to have their pictures taken. I used to feel the same way. I am a plus-size woman who doesn't look in a lot of mirrors. When I saw an occasional photo of myself, it was always a shock. Did I really look like that? I guess I figured if no one took the pictures, I would "look" better.

One day I realized that I may see myself only occasionally, but my family and friends see me looking like this every day, and they love me anyway. I now make sure that at least one photo is taken of me at every family gathering.

"Want My Privacy" may have more of a vanity problem than a privacy issue. I hope she will stop depriving her family and friends the privilege of remembering her in a realistic way after she is gone. All I have left of my sister are memories. -- PHOTOBUG FROM CONNECTICUT

DEAR PHOTOBUG: I hope "Want My Privacy in Phoenix" sees your letter. Photos of friends and family are precious. They can provide hours of pleasure, as well as moments of quiet reflection. Put your ego aside, step in front of the camera, and keep your pictures current. If nothing else, an annual informal family portrait will be a valuable pictorial history.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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