Jeff Shannon, whose true, honest and beautifully written posts for the “From Where I’m Sitting…” Blog have been featured on FacingDisability.com, died on December 20 at Stevens-Swedish hospital in Edmonds, Washington.
We have been proud to have Jeff’s distinctive voice as a feature of our website. Only 10 days ago, we were emailing about his next post: He was planning a humorous piece about the problems of being dressed by others. He was going to call it “Looking Good.”
From my perspective, Jeff always found a way to “look good,” no matter what life handed him. A C-5/6 quad who was injured in 1979, two weeks after graduating from high school, Jeff was planning an acting career before he was injured. (“I was intending to become George Clooney,” he once told me.) Instead, he came up with what he would later call a “Plan B.” He studied film history, theory and criticism at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
Continuing to find another path, Jeff returned to his hometown of Seattle after college and became a film reviewer and entertainment reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligence from 1985-92. After that, he continued to write freelance film reviews for the Seattle Times. Jeff then became the assistant editor of Microsoft’s “Cinemania,” CD-ROM and website movie encyclopedia from 1992-1998, and was the original DVD section editor in the Home Video department of Amazon.com from 1998-2001.
It was natural for Jeff to write on disability subjects in the movies and in life for both RogerEbert.com and New Mobility magazine. He wrote with sincerity, power, and the authority of his personal experience. Over time, Jeff became a disability advocate, serving two three-year terms on the Washington State Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment, from 2005-2011.
He was not afraid to take on important and provocative issues. He once wrote: “To be disabled in America, in 2011, is to realize that you may have gained your civil rights, but most of society didn’t get the memo.”
We will miss Jeff Shannon’s voice and unquenchable and valiant spirit.