Ezward Bachand, Jr.
1939 – 2016
Ability360 Founder, Ezward Bachand, Jr., 76, of Phoenix passed away on April 14, 2016. Originally from Sturgis, South Dakota, Ez was paralyzed after fracturing his C6 and C7 vertebrae while bareback bronc riding on his honeymoon in 1963. Ez and his wife Loretta moved to Phoenix a few years later. Already holding a degree in Animal Science, Bachand needed to change careers, so he attended Arizona State University where he received a master’s in Economics. Later, he was hired by the Arizona Public Service company in its records management department where he worked until retirement in 1994.
Ez was always interested in helping people with disabilities learn to be more independent. He once said, “The best way to help is to make it possible for them to get a job.” Bachand was one of the original founders of the Arizona Congress for Action (ACA), a group that advocated for what was known in 1968 as the ‘Elevator Bill,’ a measure that became Arizona’s first State law regarding the need for ramps, accessible parking, elevators and curb cuts. In the late 1970s, after enactment of the long-awaited amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the ACA wrote a proposal to establish a Center for Independent Living in Phoenix, later named Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL) in 1981, and now known as Ability360.
Bachand served for many years as an Ability360 Board member and as its President for several of those years. He also served as the Chairperson for the AZ Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). Ez frequently provided peer mentorship to others with disabilities, providing advice and information about Independent Living and how best to achieve a self-determined life.