Terence J. Moakley (“Terry” to all who knew him), United Spinal and Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (EPVA) president, employee and board member, passed away on Sept. 5, 2014. He was 69 years old.
Terry graduated from St. John’s with a bachelors in English at the height of the Vietnam War. He knew the Army would draft him, so he chose to join the Marines. Terry broke his neck while in the service and was hospitalized for over two years. His time at the Bronx VA Hospital was shared with the legendary Jim Peters (who passed away 12 years ago and after whom the Bronx VA Hospital was renamed), Bobby Muller (who founded Vietnam Veterans of America and shared a Nobel Peace Prize for his anti-landmine work) and Ron Kovic (who wrote “Born on the 4th of July”). Around this time, Terry joined EPVA and people with disabilities everywhere have benefited from this affiliation.
After becoming quadriplegic, Terry went back to school and obtained a master’s degree in comparative literature from Hofstra University. After a short stint as instructor at SUNY Farmingdale, Terry joined the staff of EPVA.
Terry realized his disabled veteran status would not improve his chances of getting up an un-ramped curb, boarding an inaccessible bus or entering an inaccessible building. His good nature and warm personality brought disabled Vietnam-era veterans and NYC disability activists together to fight the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Terry, along with Jim Peters and Denise Figueroa, were plaintiffs in EPVA’s landmark litigation, brought in 1979, that resulted in bus and key subway station accessibility,