Duane Schielke


Duane R. Schielke, beloved family man, veteran, and advocate for people with disabilities, passed away unexpectedly on August 31, 2021.

Duane was a valued member of the Executive Management Team at CP. He was a grant writer, a founding member of a very successful Accountable Care Organization, and someone deeply cared for by our staff. No matter what area of the disabilities field, he was always there to get the job done. He will be dearly missed. On a very personal note, many of us have lost a real friend and are still in shock. Life without Duane will be different.

Duane joined CP of NYS in 1988, coming from our Affiliate, CP of Western NY. He spent most of his working career at CP, starting as a Direct Support Professional and working his way to Executive Director of the Western NY Affiliate. He came to CP State as the Associate Executive Director and worked in many areas of the Agency, developing a genuine love for health-related issues. People with disabilities have lost a real champion.

Duane was a beloved family man, veteran, and advocate for people with disabilities. Born in Lockport to the late Robert and Alice "Allie" (Bixler) Schielke, Duane was a selfless man and truly lived his life in the service of others. Following combat duty as an Army Field Artillery Section Chief in South Vietnam in 1973, he began working as a Direct Care Counselor in a residence for people with disabilities while studying rehabilitation therapy and psychology at SUNY Buffalo. Duane then worked his way up to the position of Executive Director of the organization that would come to be known as Aspire of Western New York.

After a long and storied career at Aspire, Duane became the Executive Vice President, Chief of Development and Quality Management of CP of NYS, overseeing the growth of programs, services and new facilities, quality management activities, staff development and training, community support services and volunteer services.

He devoted his entire professional life to promoting and encouraging individuals with disabilities to live the most fulfilled and productive lives possible. He worked tirelessly to ensure that individuals with the most significant disabilities could enjoy their summers at Camp Jened, a camp in the Catskill Mountains for disabled children, teenagers, and adults. In addition to his work at CP of NYS, he was the Executive Director of both the Alliance for Integrated Care of NY and the Hudson Valley Regional Community Health Centers.

He served on numerous government task forces, councils, and commissions of the NYS Department of Health, Developmental Disabilities Planning Council and OPWDD. Commendations include CP of NYS's Daniel Wieder Award for Professional Leadership (1995) and the Inaugural Niagara County Community College Distinguished Alumni Award in 1988.

Last year, he revolutionized medical service delivery by securing a grant to add Station MD telemedicine triage kiosks to residential homes for people with disabilities. This reduced in-person treatment and emergency room visits during the pandemic.

Duane was predeceased by his former wife, Mary Schomaker. He is survived by his daughter Jennifer Schomaker as well as many relatives and dear friends.

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Constructive Partnerships Unlimited (Formerly Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State)

40 Rector Street, 15th Floor New York, NY 10006

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