Marlin Styner

Marlin Styner remembered as devoted to community service

  • Mar. 5, 2014 6:11 p.m.

Red Deer has lost a committed community member with the recent death of Marlin Styner.

Styner passed away last Friday in Calgary at the age of 51.

He was raised in Red Deer and graduated from Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School.

According to a facebook post from his brother Parker Styner, he said that Marlin passed away peacefully in his sleep.

“For the past 33 years of his 51 year life he has been confined to a wheel chair as a quadriplegic. Strange part of this is he didn’t count himself as handicapped, he found those that considered him handicapped as restricted in the way they thought…but only in the nicest possible way. He was such a unique individual that I can’t compile the thoughts to put into words in the way I would like to describe him.

“I looked up to him in so many ways, with what he was able to achieve with what some considered limitations.”

His health had taken a turn three years ago and he had been in hospital since spring 2011.

Over the years, Marlin worked with Canadian Paraplegic Association, was involved with the P.A.R.T.Y. Program (Prevent Alcohol and Risk related Trauma in Youth).

He was a guest lecturer at Red Deer College, Human Resources and Development Canada, and other local groups. He spoke on topics such as injury prevention; motivation, overcoming personal and physical barriers, transition, empowerment and living with a disability.

He was also on numerous boards of directors, task forces, advisory boards and committees, locally in Red Deer, provincially and for the federal government.

Marlin was a member of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities from 2005-2008 and Council Chair from 2008-2011.

A quadriplegic since 1981 after car crash that left him with a serious spinal cord injury, Marlin had a certain insight and perspective that can only be gained by going through something as traumatic as a spinal cord injury.

Meanwhile, Red Deer-South MLA Cal Dallas called Marlin an inspiration to work with over the years.

He had worked with him on Motion 505 back in 2011, which called on the provincial government to bring in incentives that would encourage builders and owners constructing new homes to include at least one zero-step entrance, wider interior doorways with a minimum 32-inch clear opening and at least one half-bathroom on the main floor.

“We worked together and crafted a motion that essentially called on the government to support and try and enhance policies to develop residences that are not necessarily only livable for people with disabilities, but that were also accessible for visiting,” he said.

“It led to a very broad conversation right around the country quite frankly. It’s just one more testament to the value of the work that Marlin did in our community,” he said. “He made change happen in our province and in, I believe, our country. He was that kind of individual.

“It’s was Marlin’s sense of humility as well. Despite the fact he clearly had an idea of policy to impact and improve the lives of people with disabilities, he was always one of the guys in any meeting or group he was involved in. He endeared his ideas and philosophies to groups by the manner of his approach.”

Other achievements include in June 2007, he was awarded the highest honour bestowed by the City of Red Deer, the Mayor’s Special Recognition Award for Humanitarianism.

In 2012, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities presented their National Award ‘In recognition of Marlin’s valued contribution to the Disability Rights Movement in Canada.’

That same year, Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities created an award upon conclusion of his Council Chair position.

In December of last year, Rick Hansen presented the 25th Anniversary Relay Medal to Marlin for being a Difference Maker.

A celebration of life will take place March 10 at the Sheraton Hotel at 2 p.m.

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