PORT CLINTON -Mick E. Van Hoose, 52, director of the Ottawa County office of the Abilities Center of Greater Toledo and a former Port Clinton City Council candidate who spent his life serving the disabled community, was found dead in his wheelchair Wednesday morning on the dock at Drawbridge Marina here.
The family said the cause of death was unknown pending the results of an autopsy performed Thursday by the Ottawa County Coroner.
Mr. Van Hoose, who suffered from the effects of polio he contracted in early childhood, headed the Abilities Center office in Port Clinton for the last three years. Before that, he worked for Services for Independent Living in Cleveland.
Tory Heilman, a co-worker, said he was an irreplaceable boss.
"He was the most amazing person with the biggest heart," she said.
"He advocated for the rights of [people with disabilities], using every law there is to help them, [as well as using] his vast amount of knowledge and experience."
Mr. Van Hoose spent his life serving organizations that focused on helping those with disabilities. He was a past member of the Americans with Disabilities Act Advisory Committee for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, and he ran for city council in 2005. Mr. Van Hoose chaired Port Clinton's ADA Committee and served on the Ottawa County Transportation Agency board of directors and on the housing and advocacy committees of the Ottawa County Council of Health and Social Concerns.
Mr. Van Hoose graduated from Port Clinton High School. He attended Penn State University and majored in sociology.
"He was an inspiration for a lot of people," his wife, Ana, said.
"He always wanted to help people with disabilities; and if there was any way to help them, he would do what he could."
His other memberships included the Post-Polio Association and the Port Clinton Kiwanis, of which he was a past board member.
Surviving are his wife Ana Van Hoose; parents, Curt Van Hoose and Grace Van Hoose; brother, Keith Van Hoose, and sisters, Karen Sue Garza, Julie Reifsnyder, and Denise Ambrozy.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Neidecker, LeVeck & Crosser Funeral Home, Port Clinton, where the body will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow.
The family suggests tributes to the Ability Center of Ottawa County's accessible ramp program.