Cheryl Marie Wade — “The Queen Mother of Gnarly” — an acclaimed playwright, poet, performer, filmmaker and disability rights activist, died at her Berkeley, Calif., home on August 21, 2013, due to complications of rheumatoid arthritis. She was 65.

Photo by Joegh Bullock

Wade was born in Vallejo, Calif., on March 4, 1948. At age 10 she was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Despite numerous surgeries during high school, she was educated in the public school system and received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from the Unive