Max Starkloff, Pioneer In Independent Living For Disabled, Dies At 73

Max Starkloff

Paraquad Leaders Pay Tribute to Founder Max Starkloff. Image courtesy

A pioneer in independent living for the disabled died Tuesday, January 4th, at the age of 73. Max Starkloff, became a quadriplegic in 1959 after his Austin-Healy convertible slipped off a winding road in the early hours of the morning. He was just 26. Starkloff lived in a nursing home from that time on till he was 38 when he moved out to get married to his wife Colleen. It was the beginning of what has come to be called the “independent living movement” and Starkloff was a pioneer.

The “independent living movement” is a bit of a grassroots movement by young individuals with severe disabilities to assert control over their lives through independence. At the movement’s core is the ideal not to live life as a patient but just like anybody else: to get a job, get married, have a family, etc. And in his life, Starkloff achieved all of them.

With his wife, Starkloff started Paraquad, an organization that became a national leader in helping other people with sever disabilities live at home, find jobs and lead independent lives. The organization celebrated its 40th anniversary November 6, 2010.

Starkloff died of complications from the flu on December 27th. He was 73.

You can read more on Starkloff’s life here, and don’t forget to visit Paraquad at

Shapiro, Joseph. “Max Starkloff, Pioneer In Independent Living For Disabled, Dies At 73.” Online posting. NPR. NPR, 4 Jan. 2011. Web. 6 Jan. 2011.

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