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Deaths: Patrick Juris

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Patrick Juris

Patrick Juris talks with Disability Resource Center director Roxanna Stupp. “He wanted to connect with people, no matter if they had a disability or not,” Stupp says.

Photo: FJ Gaylor Photography

Patrick Juris, senior in sociology
Patrick Juris, 22, of New Lenox, a senior in sociology and an advocate for the disability community at UIC, died Sunday of a medical condition in his room in Beckham Hall.

Juris, who had spina bifida, was the disability access consultant at the Disability Resource Center. He was founder of the Disability Advocacy and Awareness Organization and chair of the student advisory subcommittee for the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

“He wanted to connect with people, no matter if they had disabilities or not,” said Roxana Stupp, director of the Disability Resource Center.

“He wanted to reach out to everybody in the student community.”

Stupp met Juris in 2009 when he came to the Disability Resource Center seeking its services, but he soon took an active role in helping others. As community access consultant, his job included planning disability culture events and mentoring students transitioning from high school to college.

He started an official student group over the summer, the Disability Advocacy and Awareness Organization.

“He was a modest person, very polite and low-key, but when he spoke at meetings everyone stopped to listen carefully,” said Marsha Cassidy, chair of outreach for the disability committee and a lecturer in English.

“He was a tenacious advocate for accessibility for everyone on campus.”

Juris’ humor shone in his writing, especially Facebook posts, said Sara Vogt, disability specialist at the Disability Resource Center.

“He was quiet — you could tell he took a lot of the world in — but he had this very dry, sarcastic wit,” she said.

“He was just this great human being because of who he was.”

Graduate student Kristina Reis, a member of the student advisory subcommittee, remembers his “kind and gentle spirit.”

“He will be missed by not only myself but many other students and faculty at UIC,” she said.

His family plans to establish a scholarship in his name.

Visitation will be 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Lawn Funeral Home, 7732 W. 159th St., Orland Park. Funeral services begin at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Mary’s Church, 19515 115th Ave., Mokena. Interment follows at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside.

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