In Memoriam

Remembering Ahmad Abdur Rahman, 1942 2007

* Born July 15, 1942, the 5th of 7 children born to William and Katie Lloyd in Indianola, MS

* Graduated 1960 from John Muir High School in Pasadena, CA

* Joined the army in 1964 where he became a sharp shooter and was honorably discharged in 1970.

* Attended the University of California at Los Angeles receiving a BA in Sociology, 1973.

* Spent one year studying abroad at the University of Accra in Ghana, Africa where he acquired a love for African culture.

* Attended the University of San Francisco, School of Law, and earned his Juris Doctorate in 1976.

* June 1976, he married Patricia Barker in San Francisco. They had two sons, Akbar and Rashad.

* Served on the Board of Directors for CCB, as Federal Legislative Representative, as President of the Pyramid Chapter as well as a founding member of the Association for Multicultural Concerns.

* Employed as a trainer by the HIV AIDS Consortium of which CCB was a part, sensitizing local County Health Officials to the needs of people with blindness and other disabilities in HIV/AIDS education.

* Created access in the Compton and Carson areas by advocating for the installation of Accessible Pedestrian Signals and establishing a subsidized taxi service.

* Was an outstanding recruiter and trainer of volunteers for CCB conventions, and notably, for the Los Angeles National Convention of the American Council of the Blind in 1999.


It's hard to talk about Eugene Willis in just a few words. Eugene never met a stranger. He always had a positive outlook on life and helped others have one as well.

Eugene worked at Kentucky Industries for the Blind (now LC Industries) for many years. You could hear him in the plant talking to workers and you could tell he loved his job.

When Eugene retired from KIB in 1994, he wanted to keep working. He started New Life Computers, a program that allowed many low-income people to own a computer.

Eugene was President of the Kentucky Council of the Blind from 1996 to 2000. He loved helping KCB and the Kentucky School for the Blind Alumni Association in any way he could.

Eugene always supported what was good for blind people. When the State Legislature decided to withdraw support from the Kentucky Industries for the Blind in 1994, Eugene fought for the Industries to go private to save people's jobs. When the Governor tried to do away with the Kentucky Department for the Blind in 1996, Eugene stood on the Capitol steps and fought for blind people. When the Kentucky Department of Education attacked the Kentucky School for the Blind in 2002, Eugene stood on the Capitol steps and fought for the blind.

Eugene will be missed in many ways. It will be hard not having him around, but he is smiling down on us and making sure everything in the blind community will continue to be a success. He made a difference in the world and now we have to continue that dream.

Thank you, Eugene, for being such a wonderful friend.

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the American Printing House for the Blind, the American Council of Blind Lions is proud to remember Lion Finis E. Davis, who served as President of APH for 30 of its 150 years (1947-76).

Finis Davis was born in Lead Hill, Arkansas. He chaired the committee that established the well-known Lions World Services for the Blind in Little Rock.

After moving to Louisville, Kentucky, to become president of APH, Finis Davis joined the Louisville Downtown Lions Club. He chaired committees to create the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation (KLEF) as part of the University of Louisville, the KLEF Eye Research Funded Chair of Ophthalmology, and the $5 million KLEF building expansion. As the 43rd president of Lions Clubs International (1960-61), Finis Davis significantly raised the international stature of the Printing House.

The "pride" of ACB Lions gives a loud roar of appreciation for Finis E. Davis, and for congratulations to the American Printing House for its 150 years of outstanding service to the blind of the world.

AAVIA fondly remembers and here bids a sad farewell to its past board member and long time friend and supporter Gerald Andrew Spinner Esq., June 22, 1949 to April 6, 2008. Not one to lose during his impressive and stellar legal career, Gerald passed away near his retirement home in Chandler, Arizona, after a difficult and extremely hard fought 18 month battle against cancer.

Gerald attended the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired in Jacksonville and graduated from Sandoval High School. He married Nancy Hughes on July 7, 1978, in Springfield. He attended the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana where he earned an undergraduate degree in European History and the University Of Illinois College Of Law for a Juris Doctor Degree. Gerald practiced law in Springfield where he served first as Corporation Counsel for the City of Springfield, and as Director of Legal Services for the State of Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services. AAVIA members best remember Gerald’s conversations and discussions about his longest and most prestigious legal job where from 1979 to 2003, Gerald was Assistant Legal Advisor for the Illinois State Board of Education specializing in government finance, contracts and Special Education.

Harrah’s, Laughlin, and Las Vegas managed to attract Gerald while he relieved stress and tension and used his skill, good fortune, and, in some instances his brain power to beat the odds and work on increasing his net worth, and at the same time practice the art of relaxation and enjoying life. He loved baseball – especially the St. Louis Cardinals and he enjoyed music, reading and his friends. Gerald had to be one of the most remarkable reciter of facts and deliverer of knowledge and trivia that those who knew him will ever meet. When he was an undergrad student at the University of Illinois, he participated in the college bowl program. A friend confirmed that he answered somewhere between 1/3 and ½ of all the questions during one of the competitions. Gerald was just that way, always wanting to do his part to help.

Gerald will best be remembered by those in AAVIA who worked closely with him as a Board member and later a member of the organization for his tremendous commitment to support and encourage those issues, causes, and people he believed in. He wanted others to learn from his experiences, successes, and battles, and always spoke plainly but eloquently, straight from his heart.

Gerald Spinner was a uniquely special individual, an accomplished and successful lawyer in the state of Illinois, an exemplary teacher and mentor, and a compassionate caring and giving friend and husband.

Gerald, we are proud to have known you, shared your time, words of wisdom, stories and energy, and we are forever grateful for the enthusiasm, commitment, and part of you that you so generously and unselfishly shared with us at AAVIA.

Thank you, Gerald. We will miss you but never forget you.

The Virginia Association of the Blind, Inc.

Nelson Leonard Malbone, declared legally blind at age 42 and let go from his employment because of inability to function in a dimly lit environment, no longer able to drive, sinks into depression. After spending a year in bed, he made up his mind to find other visually impaired people. After locating and assembling 12 other people, they formed a group and joined the NFB. The new group named Nelson as president and spent the next several months expressing differences of opinions and confrontations, Nelson and group of 12, resigned and parted ways.

Nelson and the group, , decided to form a new organization and, with the help of attorney Lydon Harrell, did so. They incorporated and filed for 501 C(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service. On August 5, 1981, The Virginia Association of the Blind, Inc. was a legal organization chartered with 18 members. Nelson L. Malbone served as president for the first 15 years, then became executive director and served in that position for six years before his untimely death during the ACB convention in Des Moines, Iowa on July 7, 2001.

VAB was affiliated with the Old Dominion Council of the Blind from 1984 through 1990. . In 1992 VAB filed with ACB for separate state affiliation. In July of 1995 the Virginia Association of the Blind was granted a separate charter. July 1999 Nelson led fifty members, providing transportation and lodging, to the ACB convention in Los Angeles, California.

The first satellite, The Peninsula Council of the Blind, was chartered in 1988. In April 1999 the second satellite, The Virginia Association of DeafBlind was chartered. September of 1999, the third satellite, The Virginia Association of the Blind, Shenandoah Valley began with 90 members. Kenneth G. Lovern, VABSV charter president, established the Nelson Malbone Award in honor of the many achievements and advocacy in providing help for persons with severe vision impairments. Each year at the annual meeting this prestigious award is presented to a deserving individual who expresses the same qualities of service to those who are blind. Nelson served with the Lions Clubs for 19 years and with the American Council of Blind Lions for 15 years, holding many positions, including president of both. VAB purchased an ACB Life Membership for Nelson at the 1990 convention in Jacksonville, Florida.

Alice Hepler Joined VAB in 1986 and she and Nelson were married a couple of years later. Alice Malbone received her llife Membership from ACB in July 2000 and has served as Executive Director since August 2001. March 2004 2 more satellites were chartered in Southwest Virginia. Alice is now married to Kenneth Lovern. VAB owns 3 15 passenger vans and has just purchased a house which will be our new office. We look forward to serving persons who are blind for many more years.


For almost a quarter of a century, many of us knew Dick as a good friend and a hard working, considerate, committed member of the Iowa Council of the United Blind (ICUB). For almost as many years, Dick served as the treasurer of the des Moines Chapter of ICUB, and for many years also served as the Treasurer of ACB’s Iowa state affiliate; the last few years serving as Treasurer for both organizations at the same time. Dick was always enthusiastic about the organization as demonstrated by his thinking outside the box, when it came to fund raising and getting the most out of dollars spent. Dick moved with his wife and two children from Ohio to West Des Moines, being transferred by the Greyhound company where he worked in their management division.

Dick attended the Iowa Department for the Blind’s Orientation center, after substantial vision loss due to adult onset diabetes and macular degeneration. He then attended a local community college, and moved on to obtain a degree from Drake University in Business Administration. Dick then went into the Iowa Business Enterprise Program, where he managed a cafeteria for a number of years, and generously trained other persons interested in becoming vendors; also, assisting at locations whenever needed after his retirement.

He served as Grand Knight in the Knights of Columbus and sang in the men’s choir at church. A most generous man, a super advocate for the blind in local, state and national issues, and readily volunteered when called upon with organizational projects.

It’s difficult to enumerate dick’s attributes, but suffice as to say, he will, indeed, be missed by ICUB members.

Julian A Siewierski
Born 6-21-1926
Deceased 5-19-1997

Julian Siewierski received his Masters degree in Guidance and Counseling from The U of PA. He also attended The Overbrook School for the Blind in which he obtained training for becoming a rehab counselor. Subsequently he was employed by the State Office for the Blind and visually impaired. In addition to him employment he attended Bryn Mawr College and received his Masters Degree in Social work. This led to his final employment with the Philadelphia Office of Mental Health and Mental Retardation as Supervisor. After his retirement he served as President of the associated Services for the Blind Board. Then he presided as President of The Philadelphia Council of the Blind and later volunteered as Executive Director. People may remember him as one of the Coordinators for the Philadelphia ACB convention of 1984. He was instrumental in having Braille numbers placed in elevators of public buildings in Philadelphia. Also he initiated the placement of audible traffic signals.