Gary McPherson, CM, AOE, LLD, died May 8 of colon and liver cancer. A vent user since 1955 due to polio, Gary spent 34 years living in a special ward at University Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. He moved out of the hospital into his own home in 1989, after marrying Valerie Kamitomo in 1988.
Gary became a successful businessman and politician in Edmonton, Alberta, influencing public policy by serving as head of the Premier’s Council on the Status on Persons with Disabilities. He also was president of the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association and received innumerable honorary degrees and awards, including the Order of Canada.
In 2006, Gary campaigned as a candidate for the premiership of the Progressive Conservatives in Alberta, and although he did not win, his sense of humor and engaging smile enlivened the campaign.
Rolling On, a biography by Gerald Hankins, was published in 2003, and Gary’s autobiography, With Every Breath I Take, in 2007.
Gary is survived by his wife Val and children Keiko and Jamie.
A champion frog breather, Gary used glossopharyngeal breathing during the day. His 1983 video demonstrating frog breathing can be viewed at www.garymcpherson.com/?#Frog_Breathing
Gary’s account of hospital experiences in 2008 appeared in Ventilator-Assisted Living, www.ventusers.org/edu/valnews/VAL_23-1spring09p6-7.pdf.