Disability advocates around the country are mourning the loss and remembering the leadership of Paul Spooner who died unexpectedly on October 8, 2022.
Tribute from John Kelly (Second Thoughts MA)
Paul Spooner, the longtime Executive Director of MetroWest Center for Independent living, passed away suddenly Saturday, October 9.
I spoke to Paul last Tuesday, hoping that he might be able to come speak to our rally against court ordered assisted suicide programs on Thursday, but he said that he would have to take a pass because he wasn’t going out much to protect against getting COVID.
I thanked Paul again for generously hosting a webpage for Second Thoughts MA on the MWCIL server ever since 2012. And he more than generously permitted his web person, Sue Rorke, to manage the website for us.
I first met Paul at the 1987 Sexual Attitude Reassessment seminar in Boston. He was very friendly and mentoring.
When Paul was President of the National Council on Independent Living, he was instrumental in making sure that Not Dead Yet got its message heard.
Paul was the first speaker for the reconstituted Boston Disability Commission’s ADA celebration in 2011, and as a pca user himself, he led efforts to improve personal care options. His most recent victory was helping persuade Medicare to allow, for the first time, working disabled people to retire without losing access to CommonHealth (Medicaid buy-in). Before this crucial change, I had been told that the only way to stay on CommonHealth was to keep working until I die. Paul’s work made my life and many other people’s lives better.
That’s the mark of an effective leader! Thank you, Paul.
Tribute from Diane Coleman and Not Dead Yet
Paul Spooner helped ensure that NDY’s message against the “better dead than disabled” mindset was heard by disability advocates at hundreds of CILs.
From Not Dead Yet: In Not Dead Yet’s early years in the late 1990s, Paul was President of the National Council on Independent Living and helped ensure that our message against the “better dead than disabled” mindset was heard by disability advocates at hundreds of CILs. This led to the NCIL membership’s adoption of a formal Resolution Opposing the Legalization of Assisted Suicide in 1997. Under Paul’s leadership, the MetroWest CIL hosted the early NDY website for several years. More recently, his Center has been hosting Second Thoughts Massachusetts’ website.
Paul’s decades of dedication to disability rights will not be forgotten.