Carrie Gagliardi, 1955-2008

Carolyn (Carrie) Gagliardi died on Friday, Oct, 31, 2008 with partner Julie and dear friend Esme at her side. Carrie was born Nov. 14, 1955 in Brooklyn, N.Y. She came to San Francisco on her own when she was 16 to be a part of the experimental free school Symbas and to live in a communal space known as Project One.

Carrie was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at 22 and began using a wheelchair shortly thereafter. Carrie dedicated her life as a community organizer leading the struggles for better life for women, lesbians and disabled people.

In the 1980s she was a member of ADAPT (American Disabled for Accessible Paratransit). She was arrested many times for civil disobedience including chaining herself to public busses that lacked working wheelchair lifts. Carrie served on the Alameda Contra Costa Transit District Accessibility Advisory Board which advised the bus service on how to better meet the needs of people of all abilities. She was a peer counselor to newly disabled people. She served on many City of Berkeley commissions including the Commission on Disability, Human Welfare Community Action Commission, Health Commission, and homeless task force. Her leadership and community work was tireless.

Carrie was a graduate of the apprenticeship program at KPFA radio in Berkeley and ran the sound board on Tuesday mornings in the early 1990s.

In the mid-1990s Carrie went on three humanitarian aid trips to Cuba. And was instrumental in taking a retired AC transit wheelchair lift bus to Cuba which became their first such vehicle.

Carrie traveled the world in her wheelchair, spending time in Central America, Europe, Mexico, as well as crossing the United States many times. Carrie came to Fort Bragg in 2002 to live with her partner Julie as they worked to develop self sufficiency and harmony with animals and plants on their acre of land.

Carrie enjoyed many years of attending the Senior Center’s Adult Day Health Program. Her occasional health challenges made her well known by the paramedics, nurses, aides, and doctors at Mendocino Coast District Hospital where she was always treated with care, dignity, and respect.

Carrie is survived by her partner of 18 years, Julie Apostolu of Fort Bragg; dear friend Esme Moreira of New Zealand and Fort Bragg; her parents Martin and Louise Gagliardi of Greenwood Lake, N.Y.; brother Joe Gagliardi and his family of Georgia; brother Mark Gagliardi and his family of New York; her aunt Marie Rust of Venice, Fla.; and many other cousins, aunts, uncles and friends near and far.

Carrie’s vision was about keeping disabled people in life, community and living at home, that despite whatever level of disability, every single person is a giving and viable part of community, family and friends. Please honor Carrie’s life daily by expanding your own vision of the world.

Memorial contributions are suggested to:
Mendocino Coast Hospital
Critical Care Nurses
700 River Drive
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
The Mendocino Coast Humane Society
19692 Summers Lane
Fort Bragg, CA 95437

Please visit Carrie’s memorial page on Carrie, it has been a joy and an honor to love you and care for you. You live forever in my heart.