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Lori Stiegel, Early Champion of Elder Justice

by Edwin L. Walker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging
Lori Stiegel
A week ago, a bright light went out.  I was shocked and profoundly saddened to learn of the death of our dear colleague and friend, Lori Stiegel.  I knew Lori for decades, so long that I cannot recall exactly when we met.  She was such a presence in my life – and in the lives of so many others.  Lori was gentle, humble, a consummate advocate for justice, and a great friend. 
Lori was a valued member of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging for over 30 years.  She started her career as a Legal aid lawyer, working with older Americans. She then worked supporting legal assistance through Legal Assistance development and as the Georgia Legal Assistance Developer prior to joining the ABA Commission on Law and Aging.  Her dedication and passion for her work was always informed by what she learned from having “boots on the ground” experience.
Lori was one of the earliest, and certainly the most consistently passionate, advocates for the agency and rights of all adults to make their own decisions.  She taught many of us how to fight against financial exploitation of seniors. She led the way in pushing for guardianship reform and was the national leader and force behind WINGS, Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders.  She believed deeply that collective action and bringing together diverse arrays of constituencies can move the needle on seemingly intractable barriers – and she was right. She educated, nurtured and encouraged generations of legal aid lawyers, policy makers, and thought leaders.
Many considered Lori a dear friend and I was among them.  I treasured our conversations, whether they were about deep pressing issues of the day or about light topics that would bring out a shared smile or laugh.
Our memories of Lori can comfort us and propel us forward, as advocates and as friends. I will miss her, and mourn our loss. As we share stories of what she accomplished and how she united disparate communities to advance the cause of autonomy and self-determination, we will continue her work, inspired by her spirit and positive approach, and her belief that we can come together on difficult issues.  We will succeed, led by her example, and because of that, Lori will live on.
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Lori Stiegel, Early Champion of Elder Justice


This post first appeared on National Association To Stop Guardian Abuse, please read the originial post: here

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Lori Stiegel, Early Champion of Elder Justice

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