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May I Have This Dance,
John Lacombe?

by Barbara Olivier

This page is dedicated to all those who have limitations.

On Monday, August 20, 2001, John Lacombe died in his sleep very unexpectedly. He was the beloved son of the late John J. and Marian Lacombe; brother of Jim and Tom Lacombe. Interment was at Fort Lincoln Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to St. Mattias Catholic Church Building Fund, 9475 Annapolis Rd., Lanham, MD 20706. John's younger brother, Tom Lacombe, would be glad to receive email condolences and reminiscences at


I hope to be saying "May I have this dance?" soon to my dear friend! This is a dream of mine that I pray to fulfill. Why? Because John was injured in a diving accident at age sixteen, which left him paralyzed from neck down.

I first met John Lacombe on the #genealogy-help chat channel. Little did I know at the time, his life story was all laid out on his web site, and I must say it's probably the most interesting story that I have ever read! He has turned tragedy into purpose, and what inspiration he has given others.

John Lacombe John was born May 1940, in Washington, D.C.; he graduated from the University of Maryland in 1967 with a degree in Economics. He has had a distinguished career in the Bureau of Labor Statistics; winning the Presidential Award as the National Handicapped Employee of the Year for the Department of Labor.

Now he is using his abilities to assist the public and law enforcement in bringing criminals to justice as a public service. Court TV, who he has been working with, has a page dedicate to his Most Wanted Criminals project that he launched on September 18, 1996.

John's interest in genealogy shows on his popular web page, A Barrel of Genealogy links, which also includes a large selection of Civil War Links. John was guest speaker on #genealogy-help chat and inspired us all! He spoke of how he worked for the government twenty-eight years.

I kept the transcript of his visit, which I will share with you here (remember this man is paralyzed from the neck down, but you'd never know it in the chat room):

"I am from the Washington, D.C. area and recently retired from the Bureau of Labor. When I was in the government, they started getting rid of secretaries which meant that professionals had to do their own typing. You cannot imagine, unless you too are paralyzed, what it was like using a stick with a rubber tip on a keyboard -- I started feeling like a chicken pecking away."

"Lately, I've been using a software tool called DragonDictate, which it allows me to use whole words in a dictation mode. If a conflict arises, a popup menu allows you to choose the proper word or correct it."

"After my retirement, I took a couple of short (4 hour) HTML classes, fell in love with it and even became quite an HTML addict. I've managed to recover from that, however!"

"When it comes to genealogy, I've got a family-oriented page on which I'll include a link to any genealogy page that people wish me to add. I started it off by searching for useful (what I believed would be useful) links for everyone and now I add links after looking at them upon submission."

"In addition, I'd recommend that you try to go through George Archer's tremendous NetGuide to get an idea of what's out there to use."

- John Lacombe

John Joseph Lacombe, Sr. Since John lost his father on October 22nd, 1997, he and his buddy have been remodelling their home -- new carpeting and sofa, coffee and end tables from Ethan Allen, painting, redoing the porch into a sunroom. The sun porch is just about finished, plus he's going to put a small waterfall and pool at the bottom in a corner. His little buddy Geronimo will get a kick out of watching the goldfish.

Make sure you read John's story. It's simply amazing!

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