Volume 76, Number 42 | March 14 - 20, 2007


Ted Antholis, in the 1980s, when he was Commission on Human Rights vice chairperson, left, and Isaiah E. Robinson Jr., the commission’s then-chairperson, showing a new elderly and handicapped subway seating sticker.

S. Ted Antholis, 67, leading advocate for disabled

S. Ted Antholis, a fighter for disabled rights, died Sun. Feb. 25, in New York City. He was 67. The cause was complications from decades of having multiple sclerosis, his brother, Ernest Antholis, said.

Antholis lived at W. 26th St. and Sixth Ave. in Chelsea for the last four years, having previously lived in Glendale, Queens. Disabled since his 20s, in more recent years he had used a wheelchair.

His influence on legislation was groundbreaking, and the introduction of designated seating for the elderly and handicapped on Metropolitan Transportation Authority subways is attributable to his efforts. He also spearheaded the effort to implement sidewalk curb cuts and to make theaters and restaurants handicapped accessible.

Under former Mayor Ed Koch, from 1978 to 1989, Antholis served as a commissioner and vice chairperson on the New York City Commission on Human Rights. In September 1988, he was recognized for exceptional contributions to revisions in the New York City Human Rights Law protecting the disabled and other disadvantaged communities. He served five years as C.H.R. legislative chairperson and four years as vice chairperson. Previously, Antholis served in the late ’70s as executive director of PRIDE, a physical rehabilitation group. He was a member of Mensa, the high-I.Q. society, since 1950. His letters to the editor were frequently published in The New York Times, expressing clarity of thought on discrimination issues and calls for action.

Antholis graduated from New York University in 1963. At N.Y.U., he was inducted into the New York Gamma chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, where he became chapter president. At the fraternity, he made lifelong friends, whom he often met in Manhattan. Previously, in 1960, he graduated from the New York Institute of Technology with an electronics technology degree.

Antholis was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1968. Given a 10-year prognosis because of his illness, Antholis embarked on a yearlong journey around the world. Barely able to walk years later, he was pleased to be accepted into the Circumnavigators Club in 1983.

Antholis is predeceased by his parents, Ernest and Helen Samos Antholis, of Glendale, Queens. He is survived by his brother, Ernest; sister-in-law, Helen Z. Antholis, of Middletown. N.J.; niece and goddaughter, Diana Antholis, of New York City; nephew, Steven Antholis, and his devoted longtime friend, Ms. Dale Johnstone.

A connoisseur of food and wines, he attributed this trait to his father having owned the well-known restaurant Ernie’s in Ridgewood, Queens. During his teens, Antholis worked at the restaurant, known for its fine German cuisine.

Donations in Antholis’s name may be made for M.S. research to the Mount Sinai Development Office, Box 1049, 1 Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, N.Y., 10029-6574.

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