In Memory of Marshall Mitchell

1952 - 2018

Marshall Mitchell corrected me when I introduced him as a founder of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD). No, he was not at the first organizing meeting in 1978, so he would not lay claim to being a founder. But he did serve as an early board member and even President (1983-85). Those early, pre-ADA leaders were critical to laying the foundation for the organization CTD is today.

A group of four men and one woman sit or lean down to a table with a microphone.Marshall was a brainy guy and in 1990, went off to work as a professor of disability studies at Washington State University. When he retired back to Austin, he reconnected with CTD. The first thing he did was to moderate a panel on disability film as part of our 2009 Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival (right, with The Eyes of Me director Keith Maitland, CTD Executive Director Dennis Borel, and The Eyes of Me producer, Patrick Floyd, and star, Meagan McComick).

Towards the end of his life, Marshall was hospitalized for an infected pressure sore, basically a hole from the skin to the bone and a very serious condition. It possibly even led to his ultimate cause of death. Perhaps such details do not belong in a commemorative piece, but I bring it up for this reason: people with disabilities who develop such conditions are often denied the front-end extra care that could lead to better outcomes. Advocates have made the argument many times to authorize the extra care before things like pressure sores advance to a critical stage.

Though he’s no longer with us, his final story may be a good advocacy tool to help others with disabilities. I think Marshall would like that.

Dennis Borel
CTD Executive Director
March 5, 2018