Letters to the Editor

Oxley was a visionary who changed lives

Our community recently lost a dynamic leader. Jean Oxley was a visionary, a friend and a keen advocate for the physically and mentally handicapped in Linn County and indeed across the state of Iowa. She and Kenny Shriner were way ahead of their time in fighting for the civil rights of those who previously had no voice.

As members of the Board of Supervisors they worked hard to guarantee educational, vocational and housing opportunities for people like my daughter, Brook, who was born in 1962. Brook was born with Down syndrome. Her fate could have been institutionalization like many mentally handicapped children in the 1960s. But instead, thanks to the love from our family and the love of many other families in the same spot, and the support of people like Jean, Brook stayed in Cedar Rapids. Jean made education possible for Brook, vocational opportunities for Brook, but most importantly, housing for Brook. Group homes thrived thanks to Jean’s hard work, support and encouragement It was a hard battle to accomplish this and Jean was our savior with the help of the Association for Retarded Children, parents, and many who cared and loved our special children at a time when many seem to have far different priorities. Thank you Supervisor Oxley.

Janet Wagner

Cedar Rapids

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