Community mourns the loss of friend and advocate

Former Access Living Board Chair Harry Chandler at the Beam Signing Event on the site of Access Living’s permanent office space at 115 W. Chicago (2005).
Harry Chandler at the 2009 Access Living Annual Meeting with Julie Hamos (Director, Health and Family Services), Cunyon Gordon (Board Member), and Nelly Aguilar (Board Member).
Community mourns the loss of disability advocate and friend, Henry Chandler, Jr.

Access Living was heartbroken to learn about the passing of Henry Chandler, Jr., (Harry). He died Tuesday morning. The Chicago disability community has lost a great leader and a great friend. Our love and our support goes out to the Chandler Family. Whether it was Access Living, or his many other passions, Harry always put the needs of the community first.

His commitment to, and impact on, Access Living is immeasurable. He served as a board member from 1996 until 2009 and then he returned in 2011 after a year off. He led Access Living as Board Chair from 2003 through 2008. In 2003, in his first year as Board Chair, Harry announced the launch of Access Living's Capital Campaign. Under his guidance, Access Living fulfilled the dream of building a permanent office space that is a model of Universal and Green Design. In addition to his leadership on the campaign, Harry was instrumental in policy and service issues that helped Access Living continue to equip people with disabilities with the tools to live independent and productive lives. In his years with Access Living, Harry became part of the fabric of the community, touching everyone with his intellect, good humor, and kindness.

Harry's influence on Chicago goes well beyond Access Living. He also served on the boards of the Crossroads Fund, Openlands, the ACLU of Illinois, and the Chicago Transit Board. And he was a member of the Advisory Board for the Persons with Disabilities Fund of The Chicago Community Trust. His body of work leaves a legacy of accessibility, empowerment and independence that will be treasured by thousands, both inside and outside the disability community.

Later this month, or in October, the Chandler Family will host at Access Living an event to celebrate and honor Harry's life. We will share details of the event as they become available.

I am proud and honored to have had the opportunity to work side by side with Harry for so many years. My heart goes out to the Chandler family in this difficult time.

Marca Bristo, President & CEO
Access Living