Martha Coleman McCall, 89, a longtime Greenwich resident and advocate for those with disabilities, died on Dec. 26 after spending Christmas with her family in Belmont, Mass.
Born on Oct. 7, 1921, in Philadelphia, McCall was raised in Merion, Pa., where she met her husband, Joseph Benton McCall III, before he left for three years to serve in the Army in Hawaii. In 1947, their first child, Christopher Coleman McCall, was born with Down syndrome. They made an uncommon decision for the time, raising their son at home. The choice led the couple on a lifelong journey to give their son the best education and access to the mainstream community while also assisting in providing those same resources for other developmentally disabled children.
In 1964, the couple moved to Greenwich and became active in Greenwich ARC (now called Abilis), blazing a trail of inclusion and setting high standards for services and access to community resources for individuals with disabilities. McCall was instrumental in establishing the organizations first group homes for independent living in Greenwich. Today Abilis provides support to over 1,000 people of all ages with autism, Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities.
McCalls husband died in 1988. She is survived by three sons, Christopher, Kevin and Josh McCall; a daughter, Karen McCall; six grandchildren and a sister, Jeanne DeVries.
The family will hold a private memorial. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in McCall's memory to Abilis, 50 Glenville St., Greenwich, CT 06831.
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