In Memory of Max Starkloff

In Loving Memory of Max Starkloff

Mark Starkloff
Mr. Starkloff

The Independent Living Movement celebrates the life and achievement of one of its greatest leaders. Our dear friend Max Starkloff passed away early Monday due to complications with the flu, however his legacy of caring and fight for civil rights has changed the face of a nation, and helped America define what independence means in the 21st century.

Max was a giant in the Movement and embodied the spirit of independence and determination. He co-founded Paraquad with his wife Colleen in 1970, and established it as one of the original 10 federally funded Independent Living Centers in the nation. Max would later go on to establish the Starkloff Disability Institute in 2003 with his wife Colleen.

He served as the first president of the National Council on Independent Living from 1983 through 1985. In 2007 on the 25th anniversary of NCIL, then NCIL President Kelly Buckland honored Max’s cumulative work and contribution to the Movement by dedicating an award in his name: The Max Starkloff Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is given to recognize people for a lifetime of achievement in the Independent Living Movement.  Max has served in numerous critical positions and has received several awards for his work, including:

  • President’s Distinguished Service Award – President George H. W. Bush
  • Community Leadership Award – Leadership St. Louis;
  • Commissioner’s Distinguished Service Award – Rehabilitation Services
  • Administration, Washington, DC;
  • Mayor’s Arch Award for leadership in disability rights – St. Louis, Mo.
  • Annual Civic Service Award – Maryville University
  • Human Rights Award – United Nations Association, St. Louis, MO;
  • Humanitarian Award – Human Development Corporation, St. Louis, MO;
  • St. Louis Award;
  • Sold on St. Louis Award;
  • Sword of Ignatius Loyola Award, St. Louis University’s highest honor, St.
  • Louis, MO.
  • Missourian Award – Missouri Hall of Fame;
  • Doctor of Humane Letters – Webster University, St. Louis, MO
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, University of Missouri, St. Louis, MO.
  • Recognized by National Council on the Handicapped and St. Louis Unit of
  • NASW.
  • “Max Starkloff Lifetime Achievement Award” – National Council on Independent
  • Living, Washington, D.C.
  • St. Louis Walk of Fame, Induction, June 20, 2008


Max lives on through his important work, in our hearts, and especially through his wife Colleen and their children. He will forever be considered as part of the soul of the Movement, and will be remembered in the pages of American history as a civil rights icon.

Today NCIL celebrates our brother Max as a pioneer and soldier in America’s fight for equality. Max Starkloff will be dearly missed, and will never be forgotten. Please submit your memories in the comments section of this blog, so that they can be shared at his funeral services, or email them to As we get more details about the services we will forward them on to you.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers people make donations to the Max Starkloff Disability Institute at:

The Starkloff Disability Institute

133 S. 11th Street, Suite 500

St. Louis, MO 63102

Cards and correspondence should be addressed to:

4446 Laclede Avenue

Saint Louis, Missouri  63108

For more information about Max’s life and contributions please visit the following websites:



Younger generation is learning!

Wheelchair Foundation with nothing but steps

I was sharing this picture from with my grandchildren.  I asked them age 12, 10 and 7, “What’s wrong with this picture?” The 12 year old got it!  Maybe the awareness needed around the world will be found and further spread through our younger generation!

While this first picture was a great learning experience for the children it does not represent the “rest of the story”.

We have been contacted by Gerry Riley from this organization.  The picture above does not reflect truth.  A picture has been sent to us showing the ramp from the side of the building.  

Going to the Movies?

Do you and your family go to the movies?  We usually go see at least one movie during the holiday season.  Did you know that there are captioned and audio described movies in many theaters?  Check out , you can put in your location and find all the captioned movies in your area.  Check out the websites of your local theaters for audio described movies also.  If your theater offers that it usually only on one of the screens in a complex.  Do your homework before you go and know which theater etc., many of the staff are young kids who won’t be familiar with what you are talking about.  We have found it advisable to carry our own batteries as well.  (just in case)  Let us know what your experiences have been using these services and where you would recommend others to go.