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Alison Barnes

March 1, 1953 - May 14, 2019

Age 66, Professor Emeritus at Marquette University Law School, passed away peacefully at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital on May 14, 2019 after a long illness.

Alison had a long and varied career in service to elders, people with disabilities and her students. She embarked on public policy for seniors at the Uni…read more

Age 66, Professor Emeritus at Marquette University Law School, passed away peacefully at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital on May 14, 2019 after a long illness.

Alison had a long and varied career in service to elders, people with disabilities and her students. She embarked on public policy for seniors at the University of Florida and served as the Senior Policy Analyst for the US Senate Special Commission on Aging. At the age of 35, she wrote (with Larry Frolik, University of Pittsburgh), the first and most widely used law text book in her field, Elderlaw, now in its 6th edition.

She also conducted graduate research at the University of Cambridge, advising on U.K. mental health law reform before joining the faculty at Marquette University Law School in 1993. In her later years at Marquette, she advocated for the view of aging and disability policies and programs that saw the two fields as one involving survival and special needs.

In addition to her scholarship and teaching, Alison was a great asset to her community. Her most significant role was serving as a volunteer guardian for individuals with disabilities in Milwaukee County. She also advised, consulted and collaborated with Milwaukee County’s Department of Aging on issues most important to seniors. She cherished her heritage in the Pennsylvania peace religions and was a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers).

Alison was quiet but authoritative and fierce. She was kind, compassionate, an excellent writer, insightful and appreciative of beauty. She loved to travel and enjoyed living on the river in Glendale with her critters.

She is survived by her beloved friend and former student, Heather Poster, and her wonderful Nelson cousins near Washington D.C. She is also, survived by her brother, Hugh Nelson, her sister, Roxane Sterling, her beautiful niece, Coleen Nelson Duncan and her husband Mark, and her 27-year-old African Grey parrot, Roxy.

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