Frontline Initiative: The Diverse Voices of Direct Support Professionals

Remembering Our Friend, Dave Hingsburger (1952-2021)

Man who is sitting, with bald head with white hair on sides, navy blue polo with red and white polka dots.

Dave Hingsburger

The life and work of Dave Hingsburger is difficult to summarize as his contributions to the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) were profound. Dave was completely immersed in his life’s mission as an ally, advocate, and voice with and for people with IDD. He wrote, he lectured, and he provided clinical and administrative services within human service organizations. He held a torch for the celebration, support, and protection of those with disabilities. His work emphasized sexuality education, abuse prevention, and self-advocacy. Dave wrote books and articles, and he spoke to audiences around the world. He lived his mission every day.

Older Man, Dave, wearing blue, green and white polo shirt, holding the 2021 NADSP Gratitude Award, He is sitting in a wheelchair in his living room.

In 2021 NADSP honored Dave Hingsburger with their inaugural “Gratitude Award”. This award is given to an individual who has volunteered their time and energy, while showing strong commitment to the mission of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals.

The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) was fortunate to partner with Dave and his abundant offerings during the last ten years of his life. Most importantly, we broadcasted a monthly webinar series called, “Let’s Talk with Dave Hingsburger,” an exploration into the International Journal of Direct Support. This journal has been published for over a decade and together, we explored each article in thoughtful conversation with hundreds of authors every month for more than five years. These webinars reached thousands of people and are forever archived in the NADSP resource library. Dave was also a regular keynote presenter and exhibitor at NADSP events over the years. His overall contributions to the direct support workforce in North America are invaluable.

The loss we feel is still deep. Personally, and professionally, Dave was a trusted friend and colleague. The legacy he has left is enormous. Dave also had the endless support of his husband, Joe Jobes. It is impossible to consider Dave without acknowledging Joe. He was not only his husband and life partner for over half of a century, but Joe was also an indispensable part of Dave’s work through his support and management of Dave’s business.

Dave’s greatest passion was empowerment of people with IDD. He knew that without true self-determination, people with disabilities became more likely to be victims of exploitation, abuse, and discrimination. He would often say to audiences that our role, as direct support professionals, “is to be a person’s microphone…NOT their voice!” Among the hundreds of other insights and quotes, this one is a lasting message to all of us. Dave Hingsburger is still with us in many ways and for that we should all smile.