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Remembering Jeff Shannon 1961-2013

December 23, 2013

FB profile (3)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.

3 responses to “Remembering Jeff Shannon 1961-2013”

  1. Vicki Hill Kowaleski says:

    So sad to hear of Jeff’s passing. I hope Jeff’s family and friends find peace during this time.

    I loved reading Jeff’s blogs, which reminded me of my own trials and tribulations living life in the ‘quad lane’. He was able to write about himself, making the effort to maintain balance in the ‘tone’ of the blog or article – not too negative or positive; not too harsh or ‘Pollyanna-ish’…

    In my opinion, I appreciated Jeff’s honesty and point of view in his blogs for FacingDisability. I think it is so important to share life experience as those who read or hear stories like Jeff’s may identify or empathize with him.

    Jeff, you and your contributions to the FacingDisability community will be missed. Thank you for sharing your experiences, musings and opinions with all of us. V. H. Kowaleski “kykosmom”

  2. Urszula says:

    Hurry up
    Hurry up to love people, they pass away so fast
    Only shoes and silent telephone remains
    Only what is trivial lags like a cow
    The most important is so beautiful that occurs suddenly
    Afterwords natural silence therefore unbearable
    Like purity born straightforward from distress
    When we think about someone, remaining without them

    Don’t be sure that you still have time, because certainty is vague
    It takes away compassion like any joy
    It comes simultaneously with pathos and humour
    Like two passions still weaker than one
    They go away fast like thrush falling silent in July
    Like sound a bit awkward or emotionless bow
    To see decently they close their eyes
    Though greater risk is to be born than to die
    We still love too little and always too late

    Don’t write about it often but once and forever
    and you will be like a dolphin gentle and powerful

    Hurry up to love people, they pass away so fast
    And those who perish, not always return
    And we never know talking about love,
    Is the first the last, or is the last the first?

    Jan Twardowski

    You will be always in my memory Jeff

  3. Bill Allen says:

    Is always difficult when one passes, especially those who have lived a lifetime full of challenges, stumbled, fell and got back up and strived to become the best he could be, and in their challenges inspire us all to know, we only fail when we either give up, or refuse to give up unrealistic dreams, but have the wisdom to understand we can change our direction and live a dream better than the one we may have never even reached, if not for a change in attitude, circumstance, and some hard work. Congrats on a life well lived and may you forever RIP.

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