Gregory T. Winterbottom, the longest serving member of the Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors, has died at age 73, the authority announced Thursday.
Winterbottom died Friday at his home in Villa Park. He had served on the board since 1993 and was it chairman in 2004 and 2013. The authority was created in 1991 under state law, combining the seven separate Orange County agencies that managed transportation planning.
“Greg was a tremendous public servant who brought extensive experience in transportation and government to the OCTA board,” OCTA Chairman Steve Jones said.
“His contributions and legacy of progress for people, especially those with transportation challenges, has left a lasting impact on Orange County.”
Winterbottom was a wheelchair user for more than 50 years and known for his disabled rights activism.
Winterbottom pioneered the Dial-A-Ride program to provide door-to-door transportation for wheelchair users and the elderly and managed the Consolidated Transportation Service Agency to provide cost-effective transportation services for individuals with disabilities.
The programs paved the way for OCTA’s ACCESS paratransit service, which records nearly 1.4 million boardings by eligible Orange County residents each year.
“The next time you see a bus with a lift, a curb cut for someone pushing a stroller or a wheelchair, or a ramp providing an alternative to stairs in a public building, think of Greg. He worked on those issues for half a century,” said Stan Oftelie, OCTA’s first CEO.
Winterbottom, who rarely missed an OCTA meeting, will be “sorely missed, not only for his contributions, but as a friend,” said OCTA CEO Darrell E. Johnson.
Winterbottom was born in Philadelphia and his family moved to California when he was 1 year old. He attended North Torrance High School and played football there all four years. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 17.
In 1977, Winterbottom served as the founding chairman of the non-profit Dayle McIntosh Center which provides services to people with disabilities.
Winterbottom is survived by his son Steven and his daughter-in-law, Michelle; sister, JoAnne Roby; niece, Jamy Hathcoat. He was predeceased by a nephew, U.S. Air Force Capt. Randy Roby.
In lieu of flowers, Winterbottom’s family requested donations be sent to the Dayle McIntosh Center at 501 N. Brookhurst St., Suite 102, Anaheim, California 92801.
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