A severely handicapped woman who pioneered efforts in Utah to have the handicapped accepted in he work force died Tuesday.
Carol K. Loftis, 56, was stricken with polio in 1951 that left her paralyzed from the neck down. Doctors told the 19-year-old she would never be able to feed herself and that paralysis would be a lifetime burden.Miss Loftis never overcame her paralysis, but overcame many of the stigmas associated with the severely handicapped. She was the first handicapped person to graduate from the College of Education at the University of Utah and was also the first to receive a master's degree in special education at the U.
In 1969, she was named Handicapped Citizen of the Year.
With her degrees in hand, Miss Loftis sought employment as a special education teacher, but her applications were refused. She persisted for years to get the Salt Lake City Board of Education to hire her.
The refusal of the board to hire her brought accusations of discrimination against the school board. In 1971, she was hired by Primary Children's Hospital to teach handicapped students.
She taught there for seven years and then at Canyon View Elementary School for nine years.
Miss Loftis was the subject of many television and newspaper documentaries of the problems and prejudices facing handicapped people.
Her funeral will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Brighton 6th Ward Chapel, 2561 E. 76th South. Friends may call Friday at the Cannon Mortuary, 2460 E. 76th South, 6-8 p.m. (Obituray on E2.)