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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL Mourns the Loss of Paul Spooner

NCIL is incredibly saddened to learn that Paul Spooner, a disability rights champion for over four decades, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, October 8, 2022.

Since the early 1990s Paul worked as the Executive Director of the MetroWest Center for Independent Living in Framingham, Massachusetts. Paul was a passionate advocate of the state’s PCA program and relentlessly advocated for his and other enrollees’ rights to control their personal care. Most recently, Paul celebrated the expansion of the Massachusetts CommonHealth program, a victory he was instrumental in achieving.

Paul served as President of the National Association of Independent Living in 1992. In 1993, he became NCIL Vice President and served as NCIL President from 1997-2001. He has remained actively involved in NCIL’s Rehabilitation Act / Independent Living Funding Subcommittee and advocacy activities.

“My fondest memory of Paul was during the 2000 Presidential Campaign. Paul had been meeting with Ted Kennedy to get Al Gore over to the NCIL Conference. The day that Gore came over to the hotel, everything was closed down, and once we were downstairs in the ballroom, no one could leave other than to the restroom.

“I was sitting next to the middle aisle at the back, and before long, here comes Paul leading Al Gore to the podium. From my recollection, Paul was wearing a crown, carrying a torch, and draped in a sheet just like the Statue of Liberty – holding Al Gore’s hand as they went down the aisle.

“Mind you, that was a long time ago, but that is what sticks out in my mind. Paul took a lot of teasing over that but he took it in stride and laughed right alongside of us.” – NCIL Vice President Jeff Hughes

He was involved in too many advocacy efforts to count. He lived fiercely and played a role in defining the Independent Living Movement. Our thoughts are with his partner Wini McGraw and our friends at the MetroWest Center for Independent Living. He will be deeply missed.

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