Jan 30, 2023

By Christine Ross

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Former Ontario lieutenant-governor David Onley – a champion of disability rights – was remembered at a state funeral service as a devoted husband, father, grandfather and an inspiration and role model without comparison.

Among those who spoke, one of his three sons Jonathan.

“My Dad, who taught me how to throw a curve ball, shaped my world as he has done for so many of you here today and he did it while supported by a cane, or while in a scooter or later in life, a wheelchair and did it with his stories with his bravery and perseverance.”

Premier Doug Ford also spoke at the service.

“While he may no longer be with us, David’s imprint on Queen’s Park, won’t soon be forgotten, his life of service is a call for each of us to commit to the same values of respect and inclusion.”

Current Lieutenant-Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell says Onley used his status as the first in the position with a physical disability to raise awareness and break down barriers for others.

Onley used a motorized scooter throughout his life after contracting polio as a child and frequently drew on his lived experience when highlighting existing accessibility barriers.

He died January 14 at 72 years of age.

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