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Michael L. DeVinney, disability rights advocate <br> Sept. 16, 1951 -- June 19, 2007

Michael L. DeVinney, director of Independent Living of Niagara County, died unexpectedly Tuesday in Erie County Medical Center. He was 55.

A Town of Tonawanda resident, Mr. DeVinney was born in Hornell and graduated from Arkport Central School. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University at Albany.

After becoming a quadriplegic at age 18, Mr. DeVinney became a disability rights advocate, first in Hornell and then in Corning. He later worked in Florence, S.C., where he ran the local office of the Disability Action Center.

In 1997, Mr. DeVinney worked for the Niagara Frontier Center for Independent Living and became director of Independent Living of Niagara County in August 2006.

Survivors include his life partner, Kathleen Pautler; two stepchildren, Mary Jo Cretacci and Jeremy Pautler; his mother, Dorothy Olds; a sister, Jeannie Lynch; and two brothers, Steven and David.

Services will be at 4 p.m. Saturday in Robertson Funeral Home, 354 Canisteo St., Hornell. A memorial service will be scheduled in Buffalo.

[SOMMER]

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