Antonio C. Suazo, 76, who directed programs aimed at increasing employment opportunities for the disabled and worked on national initiatives on behalf of disabled people, died of cancer Aug. 23 at Inova Alexandria Hospital. He lived in Falls Church.
Mr. Suazo joined the staff of the Working for America Institute of the AFL-CIO 12 years ago, after serving as regional director of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. He also had worked for the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation and was executive director in Washington of the National Association of Sheltered Workshops and Homebound Programs.
Mr. Suazo was a native of Taos, N.M., and a graduate of the University of New Mexico. He received a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling from the College of William and Mary and did additional graduate work in counseling at the University of Missouri.
He served in the Army Air Forces in Europe and North Africa during World War II.
He began his career as a rehab counselor for the New Mexico State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency. He was later chief rehabilitation psychologist of a center in Binghamton, N.Y. He also worked for the Labor Department.
Mr. Suazo was instrumental in obtaining legislation in the 1970s that opened federal contracting to sheltered workshops. He also helped establish the Northern Virginia Training Center in Fairfax. His honors included awards from the Labor Department and the President's Committee.
He volunteered on behalf of the Northern Virginia Association for the Retarded, Central Fairfax Services, the National Council of La Raza, the Hispanic Policy Development Project and the League of United Latin American Citizens.
He was a member of St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Falls Church.
Survivors include his wife, Mary L. Suazo of Falls Church; four children, Karleen Suazo of New York, Steve Suazo of Fairfax, Gina Elliott of Norfolk and Philip Antonio Suazo of Boston; a sister; a brother; and three grandchildren.