Dear Friends and Colleagues,
We are saddened today to learn of the passing of Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger this past weekend. His death is a great loss to not only the thousands who embraced his research and teachings, but to the thousands whose lives have been changed by the values and principles he espoused.
Wolf Wolfensberger was made an honourary life member of Community Living Ontario in 1979 and was honoured at the conference at Queen's University that year. He was also presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2005 Community Living Conference in London, Ontario.
Wolfensberger lead the Normalization movement in North America and formulated the concepts of Social Role Valorization and Normalization. His teachings had a profound influence on the core values and principles of Community Living associations across Canada. Through his work, he shaped our beliefs about how we should support people and their families. He taught us that when people are supported to achieve socially valued roles, they inevitably develop meaningful relationships and rich lives in community. No other body of work has been as influential in shaping the way that people think and act with respect to the inclusion of people who have an intellectual disability in our society.
In 1991 Normalization was ranked as # 1 in the “Education and Training in Mental Retardation” list of 25 classic works in the field and in 2006 Exceptional Parent magazine named “the Work of Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger on the Principles of Normalization and Social Role Valorization” as one of the 7 Wonders of the World of Disabilities.
Our hearts and prayers are with his family and friends.
Dr. Wolfensberger will always be remembered for his brilliant mind and his great heart for disenfranchised and devalued people. In speaking with him you recognized you were in the presence of a great human being, someone of depth in his understanding of life. I will never forget his kindness and patience with me as I sat under his teaching on several occasions. The world has lost a significant force for good.