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Advocate for disabled undeterred by challenges

| Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Evelyn Stypula

Evelyn Stypula was considered a role model for the handicapped, a woman who fought the effects of cerebral palsy throughout her life but never gave in.

Despite the loss of both legs and the use of an arm, Ms. Stypula received a bachelor's degree in special and elementary education from Edinboro University in Erie and a master's degree in rehabilitation from the University of Pittsburgh, said her cousin Lorraine Badarzynski of Mechanicsburg in Cumberland County.

Ms. Stypula was vice chairwoman of the Governor's Cabinet for People with Disabilities, a member of the Allegheny County 365 Committee, a member of the board of directors of United Cerebral Palsy of Pittsburgh and founder and president of Big Heart Bridges, a nonprofit organization that works as an advocate for people with disabilities across the state.

Evelyn R. Stypula of West View, formerly of Morningside, died on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, in her home. She was 67.

Born and raised in Morningside, Ms. Stypula was one of two children of upholsterer Charles J. Stypula and his wife, Sylvia Meyer Stypula.

One of her proud accomplishments was co-founding the transportation service ACCESS, Badarzynski said. ACCESS provides door-to-door rides, serving primarily senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

“And she was willing to travel to meetings involving the handicapped,” Badarzynski added. “On two occasions she was a member of a group that visited the White House.”

Cousin Christine Kiester of North Huntingdon said Ms. Stypula enjoyed watching the Pirates and the Steelers.

“She was someone who you could enjoy being with,” Kiester said. “She was always happy.”

Ms. Stypula enjoyed sewing and embroidering, said aunt Gertrude Stypula of Monroeville.

“Nothing held Evelyn back,” her aunt added. “When she made up her mind to take on a project, she went through with it.”

Survivors include a sister, Virginia A. Lenard of Bethel Park.

Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Raphael Church, Morningside. Arrangements were by Walter J. Zalewski Funeral Home, 216 44th St., Lawrenceville.

Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Contact him at 412-320-7823 or jvondas@tribweb.com

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