by Harvey Heagy
(Author's Note: Many thanks to Donna Siren, Charlotte Himel, Patsy Harlan and Bernie and Brenda Dufour for their contributions to this article.)
Long-time ACB member Lola Siren, 86, passed away on Oct. 8 of leukemia. She was preceded in death by her husband, Walter E. Siren, Jr.
Lola was born March 19, 1925, in Bastrop, La. She moved to New Orleans in 1951 and married Walter in 1953. Their daughter, Donna, was born in 1955 on Walter's birthday. We all used to say that was Lola's birthday present to him that year.
I was a lifelong friend of all the Sirens, including her late husband Walter and their daughter Donna. I shared many social outings with them, including meals both in and out of their home.
She held several jobs, including singing on the radio. She was also active in the Westside Church of Christ; after marriage, she dedicated her life mainly to being a homemaker and mother.
Lola was quite a good cook. There are quite a few blind people who credit her with teaching them cooking techniques. Some even affectionately considered Lola and Walter their adopted parents.
While she lived in New Orleans, she also participated in a program known as the People Program. She sang in its chorus for many years. This chorus would go to nursing homes and sing to the patients.
They joined ACB in the early 1970s, and attended their first national convention in Milwaukee in 1971. Many parents of blind children, including my own mother, credit her with teaching them braille.
The Sirens moved to Texarkana, Tex. following Hurricane Katrina, where she spent the last five and a half years of her life.
At her visitation, some members of the family put together a slide show of the family in their younger days. Survivors include one daughter, Donna Siren of Texarkana, Tex.; one brother, Thomas Clyde Hern of Manchester, Tenn.; two sisters, Christine Wise of Bastrop, La. and Jean Motherspaugh of Monroe, La.; and a number of nieces and nephews.
If you would like to remember Lola, the family has asked that donations be made in her name to Helping Hands Braille Ministries, 1011 Mission Road, Madison, GA 30650. This organization among its many outreach ministries puts religious material in braille for those who need it.
Rest well, Lola. You will be missed.