by Bashir Masoodi
Cleo B. Dolan, former director of the Cleveland Sight Center, passed away on Aug. 27 at his home in Naples, Fla. He was 98.
Born near Cortland, Ohio, he graduated from Cleveland State University and worked for the Ohio Department of Health before being appointed as the executive director of the Ohio Commission for the Blind. Mrs. Eleanor Smith, a well-known philanthropist, was president of both the board of the Ohio Commission for the Blind and the Cleveland Society for the Blind board. She encouraged him to take a similar position with the Cleveland Society for the Blind when it opened in 1958.
Under Dolan’s leadership, the Cleveland Society for the Blind (later renamed the Cleveland Sight Center) became the third largest multi-service organization serving the blind and visually impaired in the U.S. The society operates a camp serving young blind children and their parents, youth, young adults and seniors in separate sessions. It was unique in providing vending stand operations by a private agency.
Dolan started low vision services, children’s services, a regional center for deaf-blind students, the first in the U.S. independent living residence center, and started a computer and technical training center. During his 25-year tenure he built the Sight Center’s main headquarter building, Palda and Sears Halls at Camp Highbrook Lodge, the 55th Street food services facility, and Residence Hall for Rehabilitation. After his retirement, he continued as development director for the Sight Center and for the local Salvation Army, establishing programs for planned giving and endowment building.
His professional, civic, and volunteer memberships and affiliations included: life member of the National Rehabilitation Association; life member of AAWB; board member of NIB, National Accreditation Council, and AFB. He was active in the World Council for Welfare of Blind (now known as the World Blind Union; he represented the U.S. at international conventions in Russia and Brazil). He was also a recipient of the National Association of Rehabilitation Facilities NARF Award. Dolan was admitted to APH’s Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field in 2002. You can read a more in-depth biography atwww.aph.org/hall/inductees/dolan/.