John and Shirley Williams have been married for almost 53 years. John played division football, and received a back injury that left him with partial paralysis of the legs. For fifty years he has worn leg braces, and gone through periods of various support needs -- wheelchair, forearm crutches, and canes. He has undergone two knee replacements, two shoulder replacements, carpal tunnel surgery. Since his earliest surgeries he has experienced various needs for catheterization and incontinence challenges. In addition, in recent years he underwent radiation and is in remission from prostate cancer. John taught high school special education and industrial education for more than 30 years, working with students with the most severe behavior disorders and emotional needs.
Shirley has a doctorate in education – having taught math and biology in middle school. After receiving her doctorate she worked in administration at both the community college and university levels. She has served as a professor, dean of education at two universities, and recently retired as provost of Alvernia university. In addition, she managed an orthopaedic clinic for three years prior to working in higher education administration. As part of her work in orthopaedics, she did arthritis self care counseling, and helped senior citizens with medicare filing.
Both John and Shirley have masters degrees in counseling.