Gordon H. Mansfield, a former Chairman of the U.S. Access Board, passed away during surgery on January 29 in Washington, D.C. Mansfield chaired the Access Board in 1992 during his tenure as Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Mansfield led a long and distinguished career in government and as an influential advocate for veterans with disabilities. He led the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) as executive director from 1993 to 2000. He first joined PVA’s staff in 1981 and served as its national advocacy director and later as associate executive director of its Government Relations Department. PVA is a congressionally chartered veterans service organization that promotes equality, independence, and services for veterans with spinal cord injuries through advocacy, research, and education.
Mansfield assumed government posts in housing and veterans affairs. In 1989, he was named HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity by President George H.W. Bush where he oversaw development of HUD’s accessibility guidelines under the Fair Housing Act. In 2001, after serving as PVA’s executive director, he returned to government service at the Department of Veterans Affairs as Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs and later as Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer until 2009. He was Acting U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs in 2007.
Mansfield earlier practiced law in Ocala, Florida. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1964 and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and the Presidential Unit Citation. Mansfield was inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame in 2007 and the U.S. Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame in 1997 at Ft. Benning, Ga. He also received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Robert Dole Service to Our Nation Award and Disabled American Veterans Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year Award and was inducted into the Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame.