John S. Stanley III, who despite being physically and mentally challenged lived a life of courage and inspiration, died of respiratory failure Wednesday at Howard County General Hospital. The former Guilford resident was 36.
Mr. Stanley was born at Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Puerto Rico, where his father was serving in the Navy, and later moved to Guilford with his family.
At his death, Mr. Stanley was living at The Arc of Howard County's Beechwood House in Columbia.
"John was profoundly handicapped as a result of multiple brain injuries at birth. Although unable to speak, his never-failing courage and good humor in the face of severe limitations and frequent illnesses were an inspiration to his family, friends and many devoted caregivers," said his mother, Nancy G. Stanley of Ruxton.
"He had an unbelievable spirit."
Mr. Stanley's life inspired several friends to pursue careers in special education, physical or occupational therapy, teaching, counseling and community organizing on behalf of the physically and mentally challenged, family members said.
"Being able to hear was his strong suit, and he adored music. He loved to hear someone vocalize, and we took him to lots of concerts. He always had a terrific response to music," Mrs. Stanley said.
Mr. Stanley enjoyed vacationing at North Carolina beaches, attending Orioles games, and visiting the Baltimore Zoo and amusement parks with his family.
"They were a source of delight for him and anyone who accompanied him," said his father, John Snowden Stanley Jr.
"Even though John had his disabilities, he was a human being who had his joys and reactions to things around him, and he brought out the good in others," his mother said.
Services were held yesterday at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Ruxton.
In addition to his parents, he is survived by two brothers, E. Andrew Stanley of Richmond, Va., and Michael G. Stanley of Brooklyn, N.Y.; several aunts and uncles; and a niece and a nephew.