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Jeffrey W. Mikulski, freelance musician, composer, advocate for the disabled

Jeffrey W. Mikulski.

March 8, 1959 – March 20, 2014

Jeffrey W. Mikulski, a freelance musician and composer, died Thursday in Buffalo. He was 55.

Born in Buffalo, he earned two bachelor of arts degrees, one in communications from SUNY Buffalo State and another in music theory from Villa Maria College.

A member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, or ASCAP, Mr. Mikulski recorded and produced the work of many local artists at his music studio, Arlington Park Sound Design. He had also been a member of many bands throughout his career, most recently playing and recording with Buffalo-based musician and songwriter Davey O.

Mr. Mikulski composed music for the Theatre of Youth. He also wrote and produced original music for TheaterFiguren. Most recently, he produced the sound track for the independent film “A Cow’s Tale,” the story of Laura Secord, a Canadian heroine of the War of 1812.

A resident of Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood for 20 years, Mr. Mikulski was a fixture in the community, known to many who often saw him traveling around in his power wheelchair. He was disabled by a form of muscular dystrophy.

He was a member of the board of directors of WNY Independent Living and was passionate about supporting options for people with disabilities to live and work autonomously within their communities. As a young man, he and close friend Roger Schroeder designed a lift system to allow him to live alone by assisting him in transferring to and from a wheelchair.

The early design for the wheelchair was purchased by Columbus McKinnon, and the pair continued to work with a design team from the University at Buffalo to refine the design for production. He used that original system for the next 30 years, which allowed him to live independently until his death.

He is survived by his parents, Jean and Rodney, and a sister, Deborah Chadsey.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. today in Dietrich Funeral Home, 2480 Kensington Ave.

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