A major voice in Australia’s disability industry and harbinger of change — Robert De Pasquale

Posted 4 months ago by David McManus
The man who inspired DPS Publishing’s Disability Support Guide has passed
away at the age of 46. [Source: Robert De Pasquale via LinkedIn]
The man who inspired DPS Publishing’s Disability Support Guide has passed away at the age of 46. [Source: Robert De Pasquale via LinkedIn]

Robert De Pasquale was a cherished member of DPS Publishing and he will be deeply missed.

Key points:

● Robert De Pasquale lived with spina bifida, but it never stopped him from achieving big things according to those who knew him closely
● As an advocate, a voice for change and an avid Dylan Alcott fan, Robert wanted to enact change for those who experienced the same frustrations that he did with systemic injustice and accessibility
● Mr De Pasquale passed away this week at the age of 46, leaving a legacy that has inspired many through his endurance, ambition and tenacity

We don’t have to do what we love to love what we do, but for Robert De Pasquale, his passionate advocacy carried through his life, career and personal journey to create a better world for others.

At the age of 46, Mr De Pasquale passed away in November of 2023, leaving behind a trailblazing roadmap for those he inspired to continue his passionate support for Australians with disability.

Since starting at DPS Publishing in 2011 and in his role as a national advertising and sales
executive, Robert pioneered the launch of Disability Support Guide, both print and online, leading to a new source of information and news that would resonate with people who faced similar obstacles and systems.

The news of his passing was announced through LinkedIn by Robert’s support coordinator,
Bonnie Mechan, who described Mr De Pasquale as an ‘infectious’ social presence and a cult-of-personality with incredible charisma.

“It is with the most heartfelt shock, sadness and heartbreak that I wish to inform those who knew Rob that he has sadly passed,” Ms Mechan stated in the post to social media.

“With permission from his family, we would like to allow others to grieve as we are at this tragic loss of this beautiful human who fought so hard for others, for himself and his family to shine a light on disability from a raw and usually unfiltered perspective.”

Ms Mechan told Talking Disability journalist David McManus Jr that Robert was someone who never gave up, frustrated by inaccessible venues and complicated systemic channels of support — he fought for others and did so through a personable and charming attitude.

“He didn’t hold back — he fought for what he believed in,” Bonnie said.

“He was integral […] in terms of fighting for the rights of, not just himself, but for the people
he was working with or around and I think that will stick with me for a while, just that passion
and drive to see change, even if it’s something that people say you can’t do.

“He would not back down from that for anyone, for any reason, if he thought that someone was [facing] injustice.”

Tributes from colleagues and those close to Robert had captured the impact of his time in the
disability industry, with DPS Publishing Chief Executive Officer Michelle Beech stating that Robert was a “[…] wonderful man — always willing to help out and lend a hand.”

“An amazing employee — I was very fortunate to have known him and worked with him,” the CEO said.

As the owner of Wheelie Good Cruises, Robert took his passion for travel and turned it into an
avenue for others with disability to experience accessible leisure through tailored holiday
consultancy.

Similarly, Mr De Pasquale carried his professional and personal pursuits to Be Able Australia as a National Disability Insurance Scheme support coordinator, channelling his know-how to help people with disability navigate the NDIS.

As those close to him mourn his passing, none will forget his legacy and magnetic talent that swept the disability industry. In independence, support and in social circles, Robert will be dearly missed.

“He wasn’t afraid to speak his truth, which was probably other peoples’ truth, in that he gave strength and a voice to others to who had not yet found their voice,” Ms Mechan summarised.