by Susan Ponchillia and Sherry Gordon

Elizabeth "Libby" Lennon, longtime resident of Kalamazoo, Mich., and a member of the Kalamazoo Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, passed away at Bronson Methodist Hospital on May 11, 2007. Libby was 97 years young!

Born in Chicago on April 29, 1910, Libby lost sight in one eye around the age of eight due to an accident. Her determination to become an educator for people who are blind eventually led her to Western Michigan University in 1967, after previously having an impressive teaching and administrative career in programs for blind people in Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Montana. She also reached beyond U.S. borders and traveled and taught in England and Australia. Libby retired from WMU in 1978 as an assistant professor in the blind rehabilitation program.

Aside from her teaching and being a life-long learner, Libby was an active member of the American Council of the Blind for many years, being a contributing editor to "The Braille Forum," as well as the writer for the "Here and There" column. She enjoyed attending many national ACB conventions and traveling around the world. Libby was also an active member of the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Libby was active in many organizations, boards and committees, including being a founding member of the Kalamazoo Disability Resource Center and co-founder of the Shepherd's Center of Greater Kalamazoo, which offered ecumenical programs for homebound seniors. Libby served on the board of the Voluntary Action Center of Greater Kalamazoo, was an advisory member of the City of Kalamazoo's Advisory Committee for the Coover Recreational Center and had a longtime involvement with the Michigan Commission for the Blind. Libby was a member and former secretary for the Michigan Blind Athletic Association, always advocating that blind and visually impaired people be involved in sports and recreational activities.

In recognition of her work in her community, Libby was named the Handicapped Professional Woman of the Year in 1971, and in 2002 she received the prestigious Irving S. Gilmore Lifetime Achievement Award.

We dearly miss our friend, Libby. She was a very intelligent lady who had boundless energy and great ideas for making things happen. Libby's inspiration has influenced so many, many people who are blind or visually impaired over the years that we are not able to name every achievement Libby accomplished -- only to say her thoughts and dreams will live with us for a very long time!

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