It has come to our attention that we are rapidly losing members of our community, friends and supporters of ACB. In order to honor these people whose lives have impacted us, in large and small ways, we are publishing this column. See below for the format in which to submit information.
Please include as much of the following information as possible when submitting material for this column. Submissions must involve dates no more than six months from intended date of publication.
Name (first, last, maiden if appropriate)
City of residence (upon passing)
State/province of residence (upon passing)
Other cities/states/countries of residence (places where other blind people may have known this person)
Date of death (day if known, month, year)
ACB affiliation (local/state/special-interest affiliates or national committees)
** EAMES, ED
Ed Eames, Ph.D., co-founder and president of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, passed away Oct. 25.
Ed had successful heart surgery two years ago. Recently a blood-borne infection sent him to the hospital. His chances for recovery looked very good, until he had several debilitating strokes that quickly claimed his life.
Ed was an extraordinary advocate. He forged relationships with corporations around the world and, with his easygoing "ask," brought untold benefits to the IAADP. Ed knew full well that most of us teamed with guide, hearing and service dogs were on the lower income scale. His advocacy to garner support for our canines was only matched by his tireless advocacy for our access rights. Among other things, Ed and Toni also traveled throughout the U.S. each year and to other countries with their guide dogs, lecturing at veterinary schools and veterinary conferences about the special role that veterinarians play in maintaining the team, to educate them about IAADP, raise disability awareness and to ask veterinarians to consider free or discounted veterinary services for assistance dog teams.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Ed's honor may be made to IAADP. We have set up a special memorial section with a few photo highlights to remember Ed by, as well as an opportunity to make a memorial donation, at www.iaadp.org. We also invite you to leave a personal message there.
** GENENSKY, DR. SAMUEL M.
(excerpted with permission from "Vision Access," fall 2009)
Dr. Samuel M. Genensky, founding president of the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International, died June 26, 2009. He was 81.
He strongly believed in using whatever vision he had. His eyes were burned shortly after birth when, by accident, the wrong eye drops were put in his eyes. No sight remained in his left eye, and he had only 20/1000 vision in his right eye.
Sam completed the first eight years of school in seven years. Then he went to the Perkins Institute for the Blind, where he refused to use Braille even though he knew it. He eventually left Perkins for a public high school. One day he took his father's binoculars to geometry class and discovered that he could see what the teacher was drawing on the board. With a doctor's help, he added another lens to one side of the binoculars, creating a bifocal system that allowed him to read the blackboard and the book on his desk.
After completing high school, Genensky attended Brown University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1949 with a bachelor's degree in physics. He earned a master's in pure mathematics from Harvard in 1951 and a doctorate in applied mathematics from Brown in 1958.
In the late 1950s, he joined the Rand Corporation. A colleague, Paul Baran, noticed how Genensky had to work slumped over his drawing board with his nose to the paper. Baran suggested that there had to be a way to improve Genensky's ability to see.
With Baran and others, Genensky hooked up a closed-circuit TV with a camera. It magnified the type on a page and had controls for brightness and contrast. When the device was publicized as "Sam Genensky's Marvelous Seeing Machine" in a 1971 issue of "Reader's Digest," Genensky was flooded with thousands of requests a week from people with partial sight who wanted to try it.
In 1978 he founded the Center for the Partially Sighted.
Genensky is survived by his second wife, Nancy Cronig, two daughters, three stepchildren, and four grandchildren. Memorial donations may be sent to the Center for the Partially Sighted, 12301 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025.
** PONCHILLIA, SUSAN
(courtesy of the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes)
Dr. Susan Ponchillia, a dedicated coach of blind athletes and distinguished professor at Western Michigan University (WMU), died Oct. 12, 2009 in Kalamazoo, Mich. She was 55.
Sue worked extensively with her husband Paul to create and develop annual sports camps for blind athletes held at WMU. The camps, co-sponsored by the Michigan Blind Athletic Association and the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes, impacted the lives of countless students with visual impairments from across Michigan, the Midwest and from the United States. Sue also had a direct impact on USABA goalball. She helped host one of the three long-standing regional tournaments and was also instrumental in developing local goalball athletes, some of whom competed at the international level, including the Paralympic Games.
"We have lost an incredible person who made a difference in this world by dedicating her life to improving lives, with her students and colleagues at WMU, with the natives of Tlicho in Canada and people who are blind and visually impaired,” said Mark Lucas, USABA Executive Director.
In lieu of flowers, you may send donations to any of the following:
Paul and Susan Ponchillia Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Student Scholarship Fund
Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies
1903 W. Michigan Ave.
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Kalamazoo Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired
P.O. Box 50603
Kalamazoo, MI 49005
Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County
P.O. Box 96
Three Rivers, MI 49093