Ventilator-Assisted Living©

December 2014, Vol. 28, No. 6


Max Starkloff and the
Fight for Disability Rights

Recently I attended a reading from the book, Max Starkloff and the Fight for Disability Rights.

After a C4-5 injury due to a car accident at age 21, he ended up in a nursing home for 12 years beginning in 1963. He received a letter from our founder, Gini Laurie, asking him, “What are you doing in a nursing home?”

Author Charles E. Claggett Jr. , marketing vice president at Warson Brands, described the book as the love story between Max and a physical therapist at the facility, Colleen Kelly, who
became his life-long partner in marriage and in activism. Barriers
to moving out of the nursing home, adopting children, making
St. Louis accessible, and more, constantly faced them. Claggett
describes the book as a thriller enticing the reader to see how
Max removed the next barrier.

I knew Max. He was an already established leader of the independent living movement when I arrived in St. Louis in 1987. I was on his board (Paraquad) and he was on mine (Gazette International Networking Institute/


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