Fay Corey will be remembered as a parent whose devotion to a son with multiple disabilities had no bounds. Although taking care of him was a 24/7 job, she found the time to be a tireless advocate for others with physical and mental challenges.
Ms. Corey, of Point Breeze, died Aug. 19 -- almost a year and a half after her son's death in March 2012. She had been battling pulmonary fibrosis and heart ailments. She was 71.
Her son Joshua was born in 1973 with cerebral palsy, visual impairment and mental disability. She took care of him at home, with some support from caregivers, even though doctors told her it would be impossible. And she battled for access to treatment and services.
"She was a very strong-willed individual, very independent," said Jan McMahon, who worked with Joshua when she was an aide at the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children and became a longtime family friend.
"She was his mom, his advocate, his everything. She knew what she wanted for him, and she got what he needed. She fought to do that," she said.
She saw to it that he had not only the basics, but that his life was enriched by music therapy and by going to movies and plays.
He attended the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children in Oakland and graduated from the Pioneer Education Center in Brookline.
Ms. Corey never viewed herself as a martyr. "The world sees my son as a burden. They see no value in our relationship beyond the tragedy," she told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a 1994 Mother's Day feature on outstanding mothers. "They don't know what he's given back to me -- his life, his joy at the basic things the rest of us take for granted."
She was active as an advocate for others with special needs, working with Achieva and with the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments.
Visitation with friends will be at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 11 at St. Bede Church in Point Breeze, followed by a burial Mass at 11 a.m.
Adrian McCoy: email@example.com or 412-263-1865.