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

Max Starkloff lived in a nursing home on a hill outside St. Louis from the time he was 26 until he turned 38. He moved out to get married.

He lived much longer than anyone had expected when he became a quadriplegic in 1959. His Austin-Healy convertible slipped off a winding road at midnight.

Starkloff became a pioneer of something called the “independent living movement” — a grassroots movement by young people with severe disabilities to take control of their own care. At its core was a desire to lead life “not as a patient,” Starkloff explained, but like anyone else: to get a job, find love, marry, raise a family — all things that Starkloff achieved. And to do that meant living outside a medical institution like a nursing home.

So many heroes passing away this week.