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Advocate for people with disabilities

Legacy.com / Nick Ehrhardt

Advocate for people with disabilities

David Williams (Morning Journal)After he was diagnosed with chronic progressive multiple sclerosis in 1975, David T. Williams, who died July 6, 2011, at age 62, became an advocate for people with disabilities.

He was the first director of the Ohio Governor’s Office of Advocacy for People with Disabilities. He also served as director of government relations at Invacare Corp., which manufactures wheelchairs, disability scooters and other homecare products.

Williams also got involved with wheelchair sports. According to his obituary in the Morning Journal, Lorain, Ohio, “Dave was a competitor in the Ohio Wheelchair Games from 1983 through 1994 in the sports of basketball, track and field, road racing, and hand cycling.”

Dave was an average athlete but, as is often the case, a great coach. His team, the Junior Buckeye Wheelers, set a record that still stands. The team competed in track, field, archery and swimming, and was the seven-time winner of the coveted team championship at the National Junior Wheelchair Games. More importantly for ‘Coach Dave’ is the fact that members of the team continue to lead the pack. All of his protégés are employed full-time in the community; and most went on to attend college.

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This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer who lives in Northeast Ohio. She is director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.