NOTABLE ALUMNI

 for Criteria for Inclusion

(F/S) = also found at Notable Faculty and Staff

A

Antila, Heimo Ilmari

Heimo Ilmari Antila

Class of 1929  

Student #3213

 

Heimo Ilmari Antila was born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts on April 4, 1910. He was the son of Otto Michael Antila and Hannah N. Erickson.  He graduated from the American School for the Deaf in 1929 as the class valedictorian.  He was an excellent basketball player and was known as “the Hun.”

 

He attended Gallaudet College and played on the football, basketball and baseball teams.  He served as the football team and basketball team captain in 1934.  He graduated in 1934.

 

Heimo was a boys’ supervisor at the Kendall School for the Deaf (now Model Secondary School for the Deaf).  He retired in 1975 after working for 19 years as a linotypist for the U.S. Government Printing Office.

 

He married Lucille Jones, a Gallaudet College ’35 graduate, in Prince William, Virginia on December 12, 1936.  They had two daughters, Marian A. Altman and Joyce Antila Phipps.

 

Heimo was an active member of St. Barnabas mission to the Deaf, an outreach ministry of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, and he was a volunteer for the Gallaudet’s alumni office.  He was also a member of the D.C. metro league bowling team.

 

John S. Schuchman interviewed with Heimo as a part of the Deaf Video Oral Deaf History Project at Gallaudet University about his life.

 

He was an inductee in the 1989 ASD Athletic Hall of Fame.

 

He lived in Plainfield, NJ since 1994, and died of pneumonia on November 7, 1998, at the age of 88.  He preceded his wife, Lucille who died in 1988.

 

Allen Family (3 Siblings)

Allen Family  1840 – 1858

 

James Monroe Allen,  Class of 1846,  Student #646

Mary Mehitable Allen (m. Weeks),  Class of 1846, Student #647

Margaret Allen,  Class of 1858,  Student #1036

 

Margaret, Mary Mehitable, and James Monroe were all born deaf in East Windsor, Connecticut, to Luke Allen and Mehitable Dwight.  James Monroe was born on December 22, 1826, Mary Mehitable, on November 17, 1829, and Margaret on January 2, 1839.  James and Mary entered the American Asylum in 1840, and Margaret, in 1850. 

 

Mary married a deaf ASD teacher, William Henry Weeks, on November 24, 1858, and they had a hearing son, Harry.  Mary died on March 13, 1893.

 

Margaret was an assistant matron of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, Kendall Green, Washington, D.C., for eighteen years (1875-1893).

 

Margaret died in 1895. She is buried at the Melrose Cemetery, East Windsor, Connecticut, next to her deaf brother, James.

Allen, James Monroe

James Monroe Allen

See Allen Family

Allen, Margaret

Margaret Allen

See  Allen Family

Allen, Mary Mehitable (m. Weeks)

Mary Mehitable Allen (m. Weeks)

See  Allen Family

Atkinson, Mary Emma (F/S)

Mary Emma Atkinson

Class of 1883

Student #2026

Longtime ASD Teacher

 

Mary Emma Atkinson was born in New Britain, Connecticut, on May 22, 1866, to John E. Atkinson and Elizabeth Seymour. She became deaf from meningitis at the age of six.

 

She was educated in private and public schools, and then attended the American Asylum for the Deaf (ASD) “Old Hartford” in Hartford, Connecticut in 1875, graduating in 1883. She was also a graduate of Chatauqua Institution, Chatauqua, New York.

 

Mary was the first sewing and dressmaking teacher at the American Asylum in 1898.  Then she started teaching second through sixth grades.  She taught for 39 years at both the Hartford and West Hartford campuses and retired in 1937.  She became the oldest teacher with the longest service at ASD along with two other teachers in 1936.  She was highly regarded as an outstanding teacher.

 

Mary was a member of the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf-mutes, American Instructors of the Deaf and National Association of the Deaf (NAD).  She was also a member of the League for Better Hearing for many years.

 

She served as a secretary of the the Centennial celebration of ASD, and she helped to give a reception for the four French delegates in July, 1917.

 

She was the first female vice-president (1914-1917) and president (1918-1919) of the American School for the Deaf Alumni Association (ASDAA).

 

Mary died in West Hartford, Connecticut on December 25, 1952 at the age of 86.  She is buried at the Fairview Cemetery, New Britain, Connecticut.

 

Atwood, Ralph Hinman

Ralph Hinman Atwood

Class of 1857

Student #957 

 

Ralph Hinman Atwood was born in Watertown, Connecticut, on April 8, 1838. He was the oldest son of Hinman and Anna Eliza (DeForest) Atwood. He lost his hearing from scarlet fever at the age of 4 years and 9 months.

 

He was sent to the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1848 and graduated in 1857.  His other notable classmates were James Denison, Melville Ballard, Thomas Lewis Brown, Jr. and George Wing. 

 

Ralph taught at the Ohio Institution School for the Deaf, Columbus, Ohio, from 1864 to 1870, and Arkansas Institution for the Deaf and Dumb at Little Rock, Arkansas from 1870 to 1875.

 

“The five years, Mr. Atwood spent in Arkansas were marked by a series of exciting events, which, though not effecting the educational prosperity, had something to do with the fall term of that year, 1875.  Mr. Atwood at one time led a “charmed” life. That was during the State civil war caused by a bitter contest for Governorship between the two noted men – Baxter and Brooks. It resulted in U.S. President Grant sending a detachment of  United States troops there to preserve the peace between the contending parties.  One day riding on horseback after the Institution mail, Mr. Atwood was ordered to halt by a sentinel. Being Deaf, Mr. Atwood did not hear the word “halt,” and was pursuing the even tenor of his way, when the stern military uniformed citizen knowing no other duty than this brought to his shoulder his death-dealing instrument to shoot. General Churchill, being near, and  recognizing Mr. Atwood, order the sentinel not to fire.” 

 

Ralph was the first deaf principal at the New England Industrial School for Deaf-Mutes (now, Beverly School for the Deaf) in 1879-1880 and then took up his old job at the Ohio School for the Deaf for over 18 years.

 

He married an ASD graduate, Mary Ann Perkins on November 24, 1863 in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and they had two children, Ralph Gomez Atwood, Jr. and Lois Elmore Atwood. Their son died at age 2. Their daughter, Lois was an oral teacher in the Ohio Institution for the Deaf and Alabama Institution for the Deaf.

 

He passed away in Columbus, Ohio on May 11, 1927. He and his wife are buried at the Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.

B

Babbitt, Harry Everett

Harry Everett Babbitt

Class of 1880

Student #2112

 

Harry (Henry) Everett Babbitt was born in North Dighton, Massachusetts, on November 27, 1862, and became deaf at age five and a half. He was the son of William Crocker Babbitt and Mary Frances Thorn.

 

He enrolled at the Clarke Institution for the Deaf, Northampton, Massachusetts, for a year and then attended the Boston School for the Deaf-Mutes (now Horace Mann School for the Deaf) from 1870 to 1877.  He then enrolled at the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1877 and graduated in 1880.  He attended Gallaudet College in 1880 and graduated in 1886.

 

In 1893, he discussed “Oralism from the Standpoint of Practical Experience” in the World’s Congress of Representative Deaf-Mutes in Chicago, Illinois, with another American delegate.  He was a strong advocate of oralism. 

 

He worked as a druggist and an electrotyper.

 

He married Stella E. Pickel in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 24, 1909.

 

He served as a secretary (1894-1900) and a member of the New England Gallaudet Association of Deaf-Mutes.

 

He died in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 8, 1917.

Babbitt, Lewis Hall

Lewis Hall Babbitt

Left ASD in 1919

Student #2962

Scientist

Lewis Hall Babbitt was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on October 29, 1902. He lost his hearing at age two and a half when he contracted malaria that caused him to suffer total deafness.  He was the son of Frank Cole Babbitt1 and Ethel Hunt Hall. His father, Frank earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1895 and was a professor of Greek Language and Literature at the Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut (1900-1935).

 

Lewis attended the American School for the Deaf (1910-1919), the Clarke School for the Deaf, Northampton, Massachusetts (1919-1920), and the Hartford Public High School.

He studied zoology and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in 1930.  He was the author of dozens of bulletins and other works on herpetology, and appeared in a film produced for educational television.

Lewis was a well known herpetologist. He and his wife, Corinne J. Howe from Minnesota, traveled annually to collect and display specimens of reptiles and amphibians, and gave lectures at schools across the nation.  He and his wife always stopped to visit their friends at ASD and put on science programs for the students.  Children often sat enthralled as specimens were taken out of jars.

Lewis was an honorary member of the New England museum of Science, former curator for the Worchester Natural History Society and for several years was a collector for the New England Museum of Natural History.  He also was a member of the American Society of Herpetology and Icthyology, the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the the National Geographic Society and the Florida Audubon Society.

He died in North Bennington, Vermont on September 28, 1972. He is buried at the Petersham Cemetery, Petersham, Worcester County, Massachusetts beside his wife, Corinne.

Backus, Levi Strong

Levi Strong Backus

Class of 1824

Student #9

First American Born Male Deaf Teacher & First Deaf Editor of America
Levi Strong Backus was born in Hebron, Connecticut, on June 23, 1803. He was the eldest son of Jabez Backus and Octa Strong. He was born deaf, as was his younger sister, Lucy Ann, who died in 1808 at age five months. Levi was named for his grandfather, Levi Strong.

Levi became the ninth student to attend the Connecticut Asylum for the Education of Deaf and Dumb Persons on April 27, 1817, twelve days after the asylum opened for the first time, at age thirteen. After graduation in 1824, he became the first Deaf teacher at the Central Asylum School for the Deaf and Dumb in Buel, New York, a year after the school was established. Levi was hired to teach sign language.

He married his former student, Ann Raymond Ormsby, in the same year the village of Canajoharie, where he and his wife lived, was incorporated in 1829. They had two hearing children, but their son, Jabez, died at age fourteen, and their daughter died in infancy. Levi’s wife, Ann, was a classmate of Mary E. Wayland’s, who married John Carlin, a well-known deaf artist.

The New York State Legislature decided to close the school in 1836, and Levi’s thirty-three students transferred to the New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb in New York City because the state couldn’t afford two schools for deaf students at the same time.

In 1837, Levi established a newspaper devoted to the deaf community and was widely considered the first deaf publisher in America. The publication’s masthead had fingerspelling inserted next to the newspaper’s title. His success led other deaf institutions to start publishing their papers, and collectively, they became known as the Little Paper Family. In later years, he became a book publisher, printing a book on grammar (1858) and another on poetry (1861).

He died in Cherry Valley, New York, on March 17, 1869; the site of his grave is unknown.

1 Mary E. Wayland was the niece of William H. Seward, Governor of New York, later U.S. Senator and Secretary of State under 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

Bailey, Peter Leroy (F/S)

Peter Leroy Bailey

Class of 1983

Student #5092

 

PSD Superintendent

Peter Leroy Bailey was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, to deaf parents, Allan LeRoy Bailey and Lorraine Lumbra. He has two deaf brothers, Jesse and Jeff, and three deaf sisters, Barbara, Carol, and Pamela. His mother, two deaf uncles, and a deaf aunt graduated from the Austine School for the Deaf. His five siblings graduated from the American School for the Deaf.

 

Peter graduated in 1983. He excelled in soccer, basketball, and track & field.

 

After graduation, Peter went to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester, New York, and then he transferred to Gallaudet College, where he studied for three years.

 

He returned to Holyoke, Massachusetts, and worked as a PACES Residential Advisor (1988-1991), assistant coach of boys soccer (1988), varsity basketball coach (1988-1989), and track & field (1992) at ASD. He graduated from Springfield College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services and earned a Master of Science degree in Organizational Management and Leadership.

 

After working at three deaf schools, Maryland School for the Deaf; Delaware School for the Deaf and Texas School for the Deaf, he decided to work in the human services field at the Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) in South Dakota, and in Texas as the state director for a couple of years.

 

He served as a Director of Student Life (2007-2010) and became the Associate Executive Director/Chief Operations Officer at the Learning Center for the Deaf, Framingham, Massachusetts (2010-2016).  He was head coach of the TLC Galloping Ghosts girls’ basketball team who had their best records those years.

 

He was a former board member for the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) from 2010 to 2016, and the American Society for Deaf Children (ASDC) from 2011 to 2013.

 

He was inducted in the 2017 National Softball Association of the Deaf (NSAD) Hall of Fame.

 

Peter is currently the Superintendent at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, since 2016.

 

Peter said that ASD had made a significant impact on his personal and professional life.

 

Deaf Life magazine honored him as the Deaf Person of the Month in July 2016.

Ball, Danforth Ewers

Danforth Ewers Ball

Class of 1830

Student #133

 

Danforth Ewers Ball was born in Wendell, Massachusetts, on April 23, 1809. He was the third son of Benjamin Ball and Charlotte Ewers. He was a descendant of Col. John Armstrong, who served in the Revolutionary War and was a delegate to the Continental Congress for Pennsylvania. Danforth lost his hearing at age seven due to an illness, and his parents sent him to the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb on November 23, 1824, at age fifteen. He remained there until he graduated in 1830. He had an older deaf brother, Benjamin Woodbury Ball, who also attended the asylum in 1825.

 

Danforth, through the recommendation of Thomas H. Gallaudet, got a job at Schooley’s in Mountain, New Jersey, as a private tutor to Mr. Haun’s deaf son. He continued there until he got an offer from Rev. Horatio N. Hubbell, the first superintendent of the Ohio Institution for Education of the Deaf and Dumb, in Columbus, Ohio, to teach at the institution in 1830. Rev. Hubbell had received his training in sign language and methods of instruction for the deaf under Laurent Clerc and Thomas H. Gallaudet at the American Asylum. Danforth was appointed as an assistant to Rev. Hubbell and remained in that capacity until 1857. 

 

Rev. Hubbell also hired two deaf assistant teachers, William Willard and Clarissa Morse, who were former American Asylum students.

 

Danforth married a hearing teacher, Maria A. Morten, who was a sister to one of the first pupils of the Ohio Institution, on August 13, 1834. They had five children, but three of their children died in infancy.

 

He died on April 7, 1857, at the age of forty-seven after a two-week-long illness. At his funeral, Rev. Collins Stone, the third superintendent of Ohio Institution, addressed numerous deaf pupils of the Ohio Institutional at the church in Columbus, Ohio. He is buried along with his wife and his son, George William Ball and his wife at the Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.

Ball, Frank Olen

Frank Olen Ball

Class of 1881

Student #2028

 

Prosperous Business Owner

Frank Olen Ball was born in Presque Island, Maine, on July 7, 1864, the son of Franklin and Caroline Eliza Ball.  He became deaf from an inflammation of the brain at age two.

 

He attended American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1875 and graduated In 1881.

 

Frank had an independent and prosperous business as a carriage maker in Spragrue’s Mills, Maine.  He also worked as a foreman in the polishing department of a large furniture factory in Lawrence, Massachusetts for many years.  Many of his workers were foreign-born and could not write.  Thus the use of sign language to communicate proved beneficial.

 

He married a hearing woman in 1892, and they had three hearing children.

Ballard, Meville

Melville Ballard

Class of 1859

 Student #1038

 

Editor of the First Literary Magazine for the Deaf

Melville Ballard was born in Fryeburgh, Maine, on July 31, 1839.  He was the son of George and Susanna Frye Andrews. He was believed to have become deaf from a fall during infancy.

 

He entered the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1850 at age eleven and graduated in 1859.  He taught at the school for three years (1957-1860).

 

Melville’s two deaf cousins, Samuel Thomas Greene and Sarah Greene were also graduates of the American Asylum.

 

The U.S. Postmaster General Amos Kendall had just hired twenty-year-old Edward M. Gallaudet to be the first superintendent of the Columbia Institution for the Education for the Deaf and Blind in 1857 before the Civil War started in 1861.  E. M. Gallaudet invited Melville to move to Washington, D.C., to teach at the Primary Department (Kendall School for the Deaf) with James Denison (an American Asylum graduate) and Sarah Harvey Porter (a hearing woman) in 1860.

 

Melville and John Carlin urged Edward M. Gallaudet to establish a new college for the deaf. E. M. Gallaudet was able to convince the 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln of the need for such an institute, and the president signed into law a bill to create the new college on April 8, 1864.  One year and seven days later, President Lincoln was assassinated by John W. Booth.  Melville was the first deaf person to apply for admission to the new college, the National Deaf-Mute College in 1864.

 

Melville was the first deaf person to graduate from the National Deaf-Mute College (now Gallaudet University) on June 27, 1866, with a Bachelor of Science degree.  He also earned a Master of Arts degree in 1870 from National Deaf-Mute College.

 

He taught at the Columbia Institution for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind and later at the Kendall School for the Deaf (with a couple of breaks to attend the National Deaf-Mute College 1864-1866).  He returned to teaching at the Kendall School, where he remained until his death.  He taught at Kendall for 52 years.

 

Melville became the first president of the Gallaudet College Alumni Association (GUAA) when GUAA was established in 1871.

 

He edited the first literary magazine for Deaf people, “The Silent World,” with the American Asylum graduates, John B. Hotchkiss, James Denison, and Joseph G. Parkinson in 1871-1876.

 

Melville was fluent in English, Latin, and French, and Congressman General James Garfield, who became the U.S. president in 1881, often asked him to translate documents from the French emperor, Napoleon III.

 

He also taught sign language to hearing students at the Normal School at the National Deaf-Mute College.  He was an animated storyteller and enthralled audiences at his frequent lectures in the Chapel Hall.

 

Being an acute and accurate observer, of tenacious memory, and possessed of considerable histrionic talent and a graceful sign delivery, Mr. Ballard was, when the spirit moved him, an entertaining and instructive speaker. His powers of mimicry, in the higher sense, were such that his reproductions of incidents of which he had been a witness or of persons whom he had seen perform, were literally ‘as good as a play.

(1915 obit in CAID, pg. 201)

 

He married Grace Ann Freeman in 1874, and they had six children.  He died on December 15, 1912, and is buried in the Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C., next to his wife, Grace.

 

Barnard, Alberto

Albert Folger Barnard

Class of 1839

Student #390

 

Seaman & Mechanic

Albert F. Barnard was born deaf in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on May 8, 1823.  He was the son of Benjamin Barnard and Anna Folger.  He had two deaf sisters, Lucritia and Anna.

 

His mother was a descendant of Peter Folger* and Benjamin Franklin.

 

He attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1832 and graduated in 1839.  He was a seaman and mechanic in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

                

Albert married Rhoda A. M. Edson in Amherst, Massachusetts, on May 1, 1851.  They had four hearing children and a deaf child, Lucritia K. Barnard.  Rhoda graduated from the American Asylum in 1845, and her deaf sister, Prudence  A. J. Edson graduated in 1843. Prudence and Rhoda’s father, Calvin Edson, was known as the emaciated “Living Skeleton” who toured and was displayed at museums and circus freak shows. 

 

Albert died in Quincy, Massachusetts, on October 27, 1875. He is buried at the Mount Wollaston Cemetery in Quincy, Massachusetts.

 

*Peter Folger was a school teacher, surveyor, missionary, miller, and interpreter of the American Indian Language.  He was the maternal grandfather of Benjamin Franklin.

 

Barrett, Charles A., III

Charles A. Barrett III

Class of 1823

Student #13

Successful Book Dealer

Charles A. Barrett III, was born in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, on January 11, 1807, the second eldest son of Charles Barrett, Jr. and Martha Minott or Minot.  His grandfather, Charles, Sr., was a wealthy mill owner, farmer, and land speculator.

He lost his hearing at age five when he was reportedly given the wrong medicine during a severe illness.

Charles enrolled at the Connecticut Asylum for the Education of Deaf and Dumb on May 5, 1817, at age ten.  He graduated in 1823 and moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he pursued a successful career as a book dealer.

On May 31, 1830, he married Abigail Beals Hartt, the hearing daughter of Edmund Hartt, who was a master carpenter of the U.S.S. Constitution “Ironside” ship at his shipyard in 1794.  Hartt also built “U.S.S. Boston” in 1799; “U.S.S. Argus” in 1893 and U.S.S. Independence” in 1814. Charles and Abigail had three hearing children, Julia, Mary, and Charles IV. His daughter Julia married Charles Marsh, whose brother Benjamin L. Marsh and his partner Eben Dyer Jordan were the co-founders of the Jordan & Marsh Department stores in 1841.

Charles served as a treasurer of the New England Gallaudet Association of Deaf-Mutes in 1852 until he died at the United States Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, on February 9, 1862.

He is buried at the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the second Asylum student, George H. Loring, is also buried.

When Charles died, he left a British sign language mug in his bedroom, and it is on display at the beautiful Barrett House* in New Ipswich, NH.

In 1908, His daughter Julia Marsh bequeathed to the school above named the magnificent sum of fifty thousand dollars, to be known as the “Charles Barrett Fund.” The income came from the will be a godsend to the New England Institution for the Deaf-Mutes (now Beverly School for the Deaf), ending its days of struggle, placing it on a firm basis.

Becker, Nancy Virginia

Nancy V. Becker

Class of 1966

Student #4719

 

Community Leader

Nancy Virgina Becker was born in New York City on September 15, 1948, the daughter of James Becker and Barbara Blasser.  She lost her hearing from a fever at age two.

 

Nancy first attended the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York City.  It wasn’t until she was in high school that her parents decided she needed vocational training for her future and sent send her to the American School for the Deaf.  Ironically, when she arrived, she was tested and placed in the academic track for those students who would go on to college.  It was at ASD that Nancy learned and quickly picked up ASL and became a student leader. She was voted President of her class and held other leadership roles.

 

After graduating from ASD in 1966, she went on to attend and graduate from Gallaudet University.  She was equally involved in various activities at Gallaudet.  She received a master’s in deaf education from Western Maryland College.  Upon graduation in 1971, she married and moved to Massachusetts.  Her first job was working in a group home where she was the house parent.  It was there that she met Jack Levesque, a deaf community leader.  Jack quickly got Nancy involved in the Massachusetts Association of the Deaf (MSAD) and the New England Athletic Association of the Deaf.  She was soon recognized as a community leader by the hearing professor and author, Harlan Lane, at Northeastern University (NU).  In 1976 Nancy went to work at NU as the ASL Program Coordinator, where she ran the ASL program for seventeen years.

 

Unfortunately, she became ill with multiple sclerosis (MS) at that time and had to stop working at NU.  However, she continued to volunteer and lend her wisdom and expertise to a variety of organizations in support of the Deaf community.  She wrote her last article for MSAD’s Deaf Community News (DCN) just two weeks before she passed away.

 

She died peacefully at her home in Winchester, Massachusetts, on February 14, 2008, surrounded by her life partner, Alma Bournazian, and friends.  She donated her body to the Harvard Medical School, and after two years, her ashes were given to her family and life partner. 

 

Nancy was a firm believer in volunteering and always encouraged everyone around her to become involved in helping others.

 

Betts, Wayne Jr.

Wayne Betts, Jr.

Class of 1999

Student #5947

 

Founder of Deaf-Owned Relay Service

Wayne Betts, Jr. is the son of deaf parents, Wayne Betts, Sr. and Kathy Potter.  His mother and uncle, William (Billy) Potter, graduated from the American School for the Deaf, in 1975 and 1976, respectively.

 

In 1983, at age two, he became enthralled with the movie, “E.T.” and felt the call to become a movie director, so powerful was the impact that the movie had on him.

 

He first attended ASD, transferred to the North Carolina School for the Deaf, and then to the Austine School for the Deaf (Vermont) before returning to ASD and graduating in 1999. 

 

Wayne studied Television, Film, and Photography for a year at Gallaudet University and transferred to the Rochester Institution of Technology’s (RIT) School of Film and Animation. 

 

He worked as a cinematographer and film editor on several full-length films and short film projects, among them, “Gallaudet: The Film” and “Vital Signs,” which aired as part of the PBS documentary, “Through Deaf Eyes.”

 

He and Chad W. Taylor, an RIT alum, were the founders of “Mosdeux,” a film studio that produced several features and short films targeting the deaf and hard of hearing communities in 2005. 

 

Wayne was a Media Specialist for HOVRS (Hands On Services Video Relay Services), and his responsibilities involved most things related to video and graphic design.

 

He co-founded Convo, the only deaf-owned video relay system (VRS) provider in the industry, in 2009, and is currently their Chief Strategic Officer.  Through Convo, he hopes to shape the world with new technology and create a movement that reflects Convo’s passion for the Deaf Ecosystem connecting with and supporting other Deaf-owned businesses, organizations, schools, and services. 

  

As busy as he is with his work, he still manages to find time to watch “E.T.” on DVD.

 

Bierce, Mary Curtis

Mary Curtis Bierce

Class of 1864

Student #1513

 

First Female Deaf Teacher at Ohio Institution

Mary Curtis Bierce was born on March 23, 1844, in Circleville, Ohio, and became deaf from scarlet fever at age two.  She was the daughter of William Frank Wallace Bierce and Elizabeth Ann Darst.  Her father, Judge Bierce, was a trustee of the Ohio School for the Deaf, Columbus, Ohio.

 

She entered the Ohio Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in 1853 at age nine. Upon graduation, she attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb for two years and graduated again in 1864.

 

In 1868, upon the opening of the Ohio Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, Mary was appointed as a teacher of the Ohio Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, and taught there for twenty years under the 5th superintendent, Gilbert Otis Fay, from 1868 to 1888.  Gilbert O. Fay was a former teacher of the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb from 1880 to 1910.  It was reported that Mary “had pleasant and gracious ways which endeared her to many, both deaf and hearing.”

 

She died in Chicago, Illinois, on March 30, 1919, at the home of her sister and is buried at the Forest Cemetery in Circleville, Ohio.

Bigelow, Frank Wilson

Frank Wilson Bigelow

Class of 1875

Student #1782

 

Frank Wilson Bigelow was born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont on January, 1856 and became deaf from scarlet fever at the age of two and half. He was the son of Harrison Bigelow and Amelia C. Babcock.

 

He attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1868 and graduated from the Gallaudet High Class in ASD in 1875.  He attended Gallaudet College for three years (1877-1880).

 

Frank was employed as a picture-frame maker and photo mounter in a factory in Boston, MA.  He married Flora Betsey Ladd, who graduated from the asylum in 1875, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont on August 17, 1880.  They had two children, Ethel and Earl.

 

He served as president (1910-1914), vice president (1886-1888; 1890-1892; 1989-1900 and 1902-1904), secretary (1900-1902) and treasurer (1906-1910) of the New England Gallaudet Association of Deaf Mutes.

 

Frank died in Boston, MA on January, 1931.

Bird, William Libbeas (F/S)

William Libbeas Bird

Class of 1866

Student #1367

 

Teacher,  18721878

William Libbeas Bird was born in Prospect, Connecticut, on November 18, 1849, the second son and fourth of eleven children of John Lamphere Bird and Julia A. Sandford.  He lost his hearing at age six from scarlet fever.  A few months after his birth, the family moved to Naugatuck, Connecticut.

 

He entered the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1858 at age nine.  He attended the National Deaf-Mute College, Washington, D.C. in 1866 and graduated in 1870 with highest honors along with three other former American Asylum graduates, Louis C. Tuck, Louis A. Houghton, and Samuel T. Greene.  He was a valedictory orator in the second commencement in the First Congregational Church.  The opportunity to shake hands with the 18th U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant was inspiring for William.

 

William was employed as a clerk for a few months in the Census Bureau and resigned in January 1871.  He became a high school teacher at the Virginia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in Staunton, Virginia, for a year, and moved to Hartford, Connecticut, to take a position as an instructor at the American Asylum. William taught high school for five years. He was a successful teacher and poet.

 

He married Gertrude A. Emerson on July 7, 1875, and four years and five months later, he passed away. His wife, Gertrude of Danby, Vermont, was a graduate of the Asylum in 1873, and her deaf brother, William Emerson, also graduated from the Asylum in 1859.

 

He died of a fatal disease on January 11, 1879, at age twenty-nine.  He is buried at the Forestville Cemetery in Forestville, Connecticut.

Blanchard, Leverett Oxley (F/S)

Leverett Oxley Blanchard

Class of 1929

Student #3149

 

Dean of Boys

Leverett Oxley Blanchard was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on August 27,1909.He was the son of deaf parents, Louis O. and Annie E. Blanchard.

 

He attended the American School for the Deaf in 1915 and graduated in 1929. He attended Gallaudet College for two years.

 

Leverett was the dean of boys at ASD for over 45 years. He was also the circulation manager of the American Era.

 

He was a member of the American Council of Organizations Serving the Blind, The National Fraternal Society for the Deaf, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Mission for the Deaf. He was a treasurer of the Connecticut Chapter of the Alumni Association for four years.

 

He married Elizabeth “Betty” A. Larson in Stamford, Connecticut, on June 20, 1953.Betty was a beloved girl’s dormitory counselor for many years at ASD and was well known for her love of teddy bears and decorating for the holidays in the children’s dining room at the school.

 

Leverett died at the Hartford Hospital on March 15, 1971.He is buried at the Pine Grove Cemetery in Northbridge, Massachusetts.

Boardman, Eliza Crocker (m. Clerc)

Eliza Crocker Boardman (m. Clerc)

Left Asylum in 1819

Student #18

 

Married Laurent Clerc

Eliza Crocker Boardman was born in Whitesborough, New York, on August 22, 1792, the daughter of Col. Elijah Boardman and Sabrina Kingsbury. She became deaf from an illness at age two and a half.  Eliza had a deaf brother, but he died at a young age.

 

She attended the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons in 1817 for two years.  Sophia Fowler, who later married Thomas H. Gallaudet, was one of her classmates.

 

Eliza married Laurent Clerc at Cohoes Falls, New York, on May 3, 1819, and Clerc’s best man was Lewis Weld at their wedding.  They had six children, but their son, John, and daughter, Helen, each died at the age of two. Their remaining four children were two daughters, Elizabeth Victoria (Clerc) Beers1 and Mrs. Sarah (Clerc) Deming2 and two sons, Rev. Francis Joseph Clerc3 and Charles Michael Clerc.  Rev. Thomas H. Gallaudet initially argued that deaf marriages should not be allowed, but Eliza and Laurent became the first deaf couple to marry in America.  They were married for 50 years and were well-known in the Hartford community. 

 

Charles Willson Peale, an artist in Revolutionary America, painted a portrait of Eliza with her daughter.  In the portrait, Eliza is fingerspelling the letter “E” for her and her daughter’s first name.  It is on exhibit at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut.

 

Eliza died in Hartford on May 17, 1880.  She is buried at the Springs Grove Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut, next to her husband, Laurent Clerc.

 

Footnotes:

 

1 Elizabeth Beers ‘s son Henry Augustin Beers was an author, historian, poet, and professor at Yale University. He was a professor at Yale University for over 40 years.

 

2 Sarah Clerc’s husband, Henry Champion Deming was a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives (1849, 1850, 1859 and 1860) and was a mayor of Hartford, CT (1854 to 1858 and 1860 to 1862), In 1868, he wrote an “A Life of Ulysses S. Grant” book. Mr. Deming also sat at the Court for the Amistad Trial.

 

3 Rev. Francis Joseph Clerc was a pastor of St. Paul’s Church in Philadelphia, PA, for nearly thirty years.

 

Booth, Edmund

Edmund Booth

Class of 1832

Student #257

 

Explorer, Writer & Co-Founder of Iowa School for the Deaf

Edmund Booth was born on a farm in Chicopee, Massachusetts, on August 24, 1810.  He was the son of Peter Booth and  Martha Erye.  His illness (meningitis) left him partially blind and deaf at age five.  He attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb at age seventeen in 1828.

 

After graduating in 1832, he taught at the American Asylum for six years (1832-1839).  He followed his wife-to-be, an American Asylum graduate, Mary Ann Walworth, to Iowa, and they settled in Anamosa, Iowa, a town he helped to establish.  He also built the area’s first frame house.  Edmund and Mary had three hearing children, but one child died at the age of five months and eight days old.

 

Edmund left Iowa in 1849 for an adventurous life in the California gold fields for five years and returned home to be with his family in 1854.

 

Edmund bought “The Anamosa Eureka” newspaper.  He was an editor and writer for the paper, along with his son, for 37 years until he retired.  He was a prolific writer and wrote numerous articles on the pioneer history of his times, as seen through the lens of a deaf man. 

 

Edmund Booth and William E. Ijams helped to found the Iowa Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in 1855.  

 

He was the general chairperson of the first annual National Association of the Deaf (NAD) convention in Cincinnati, Ohio.  One of the delegates of the NAD nominated him to be the first president of NAD, and he declined because of his age.  He was one of the three co-founders of NAD in 1880, and the same year, the National Deaf-Mute College (now Gallaudet University) granted an honorary Master of Arts degree to him.

 

Edmund and four other men founded the Iowa Association of the Deaf (IAD) in 1881.  He was widely regarded as a senior statesman of the American Deaf community.

 

He died in Anamosa, Iowa, on March 29, 1905, at age ninety-five. He is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Anamosa, Iowa, along with his wife.

 

*An Interesting Fact: Edmund’s hearing aunt, Independence Booth was born on July 4, 1776.

 

Anamosa Eureka printing office (Photo: Courtesy of Wilma Spice)

 

 

 

 

Bouchard, Joseph William (F/S)

Joseph William Bouchard

Class of 1915

Student #2794

 

Teacher & Athletic Director

Joseph William Bouchard was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on October 31, 1896.  He was the son of James W. and Alphonsine E. Bouchard.

 

He enrolled at the American School for the Deaf (Old Hartford) in October 1902.  He graduated in 1915 as the class valedictorian.  As legend had it, he always respected Walter C. Rockwell’s athletic abilities and excelled in football and basketball at ASD.

 

He attended Gallaudet College, and during his years there, he played football, basketball and participated in track & field.  He was the captain of both the football and basketball teams.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree on June 7, 1921.

 

He married Eunice Webster, and both he and his wife worked as teachers at ASD.  He was coach of the boys’ basketball team, and his team won the first championship in the second annual Eastern Schools for the Deaf Tournament in 1929.  Joseph was also instrumental in building ASD’s first match-sized gym.

 

Joseph and his wife, Eunice, were members of the American Instructors of the Deaf, and Joseph was appointed as a member of the Necrology Committee in 1937.  He remained a member of the organization for the rest of his life.

 

He was the athletic director, coach and science teacher at ASD from 1921 to 1965. His wife Eunice taught at ASD for over 40 years.  ASD named a new recreation room, Bouchard Hall, in honor of Joseph W. Bouchard.

 

They resided in West Hartford, Connecticut, into the 1960s, and he died in Simsbury, Connecticut, on Oct. 19, 1966.  His wife, Eunice Bouchard, died in Palm Beach, Florida, on October 7, 1986.

 

He was inducted to the ASDAA Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989.

 

Washington, D.C., 1920. “Gallaudet football — Bouchard.” Joseph W. Bouchard. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. SHORPY Historical Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints (Copyright)

 

Bowden, John W. Jr.

John W. Bowden

Class of 1866

Student #1462

 

John W. Bowden, Jr. was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, on May 8, 1846. He was the son of John H. Bowden, Sr. and Rebecca Goodwin.

 

He attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1861 and graduated in 1866. He worked as a shoe cutter at a shoe factory.

 

John married Persis Harriet Swett in Marblehead, Massachusetts, on June 11, 1874.  He was the son-in-law of William B. Swett, one of the founders of the New England Industrial School for the Education and Instruction of Deaf-Mutes in Beverly, Massachusetts, in 1876.  He took a position as a foreman of the industrial department at the school, working under his father-in-law.  John and Persis had two hearing sons, Harry G. Bowden (died at age 6) and Walter Harrington Bowden (died at age 3).

 

In 1892, John was killed by a train while riding with his horse and buggy on his way back home from town.  He was forty-six years old.  He is buried at the Central Cemetery in Beverly, Massachusetts, next to his wife, Persis.

Bowden, Peris Harriett Swett

Peris Harriett Swett (m. Bowden)

See  Swett, Peris Harriett (m. Bowden)

Brace, Julia

Julia Brace

Class of 1841

Student #146

 

DeafBlind Student 

Julia Brace was born into a family of limited means in Newington, Connecticut, on June 13, 1807.  She was the daughter of John and Rachel Brace.  She was seized with typhus fever, while on a visit to Glastonbury, a few miles from Hartford, and became deafblind at age four.

 

After attending a boarding school with hearing sighted children where she learned to sew and knit, she was offered a place at the American Asylum, possibly through the intervention of Lydia Sigourney and around the time of her father’s death.  She enrolled two days before her 18th birthday on June 11, 1825, and became the first deafblind student in America to receive instruction.  She stayed at the Asylum for 16 years.

 

At the Asylum, she was described as “passionate and violent, impatient of control.” Still, over time, she was able to orient herself to her new surroundings and develop tactile fingerspelling and signing skills to communicate with the students and staff there.  She was able to perform daily household duties, spending much time on needlework, and learned to form friendships.  She took pleasure in boat trips, carriage rides, and social events.

 

In the mid-1830s, Julia’s fame spread throughout New England and attracted the attention of educators and humanitarians.  Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe met Julia while visiting Hartford and was inspired to continue his efforts to educate the blind and deafblind.  One of Howe’s notable students was Laura Bridgman, and he was persuaded to take Julia on as a student at age thirty-four.  However, progress was slow, and after a year, Julia returned to the American Asylum to live as a paying boarder for many years.

 

Although Julia Brace faded into obscurity, and Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller emerged as widely recognized and celebrated, Julia’s life opened up opportunities for other deafblind people. 

 

Julia left the school in 1860 to live with her sister in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and died on August 12, 1884, at age seventy-seven. She was buried in an unmarked grave in the West Hill Cemetery in Bloomfield.

Brackett, Basil Owens

Basil Owen Brackett

Class of 1960

Student #4351

 

Basil Owens Brackett was born in Newport, Maine.  He entered the American School for the Deaf in 1957 and graduated in 1960.

 

He enrolled at Gallaudet University and graduated in 1965.  He married Cecelia Marie “Sally.”Podsiadlo, who graduated from ASD in 1964, and worked at Pratt & Whitney Co.

 

Basil served as president (1977-1979) and secretary/treasurer (1980-1989) of the New England Deaf Bowler Association and is a member of the Eastern Deaf Bowler Association.

 

He received Golden Hand Award in the 30th Biennial Connecticut Association of the Deaf (CAD) in 2015.

 

He was the chairperson of the 7th Biennial Conference New England Deaf Senior Citizens on May 18-20, 2018.  He is a member/representative of the Connecticut Retirement Community, Inc (CRC).  He was the chairperson of the 7th Biennial Conference New England Deaf Senior Citizens in 2018.

 

He is the president of the Connecticut Deaf Senior Citizens (CDSC), affiliated with the Connecticut Council of Organizations Serving the Deaf (CCOSD) from 2019 to present.  He is also a member of the New England Deaf Senior Citizens.

 

He is the Treasurer Director of the Greater Hartford Club of the Deaf, Inc. and the Connecticut Association for the Deaf.

 

He served as chairman and treasurer of some of the most significant events in New England, National Deaf Bowler Association, AAAD Softball Tournament, & New England Bowlers Association Tournament.

 

Brewster, John Jr.

John Brewster, Jr.

Left Asylum in 1820

Student #6

 

Portrait Artist

John Brewster, Jr. was born in Hampton, Connecticut, on May 31, 1766. He was one of the earliest Deaf artists in America who produced beautiful portraits of well-off New England families.  He was born deaf and one of eight children of Dr. John Brewster, Sr. and Mary Durkee Brewster of Hampton.

 

At age fifty-one, John put his career on hold to attend the newly opened Connecticut Asylum to learn sign language and get a more formal education.  He was the oldest student of the first class to enter the Asylum, and he spent three years there.

 

John was a seventh-generation descendant of William Brewster (1568-1644), who was a passenger on the Mayflower voyage that arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620.  The Elder Brewster was regarded as a religious leader and patriarch of the Pilgrims.

 

John’s work showed the influence of Ralph Earl, another well-known itinerant painter who painted a portrait of young Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell in 1791.  Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell’s daughter, Alice, became one of his future classmates. 

 

Among John’s, most notable works are Boy with Book, Francis O. Watts, and Mother with Son.  His portraits are displayed in various museums throughout New England.

 

He died in Buxton, Maine, at age eighty-eight, leaving behind a legacy of more than 200 paintings.

 

John Brewster, Jr. is buried at the South Buxton Cemetery in Buxton, Maine.

 

Mr. & Mrs. John Brewster, Sr. (Parents of John Jr.)

Oil Painting by John Brewster, Jr.

Brooks, Catharine Phebe

Catharine Phebe Brooks

Class of 1823

Student #50

 

First Deaf Female Teacher at the American Asylum, 1850-1855

Catharine Brooks was born in East Bloomfield, New York, on January 14, 1808, the daughter of Major General (Honorable) Micah William Brooks1 and Mary Hall.  She became deaf at the age of five from scarlet fever.

 

She attended the Connecticut Asylum in 1818 and left after the school became the American Asylum in 1823.

 

She was the first deaf female teacher at the American Asylum and taught there for five years (1850-1855).

 

She was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the state of New York and served as a treasurer of the Rhode Island Home for Jewish Orphans.

 

She died in Mt. Morris, New York, on May 19, 1872.

 

1Micah Brooks was a pioneer and one of the earliest surveyors of Western New York. He was a Justice of the Peace in 1806, a member of the State of New York assembly in 1808 and 1809. Micah was a colonel on the frontier and at Fort Erie from 1812 to 1814. He was a major general of the New York State Infantry from 1828 to1830. He was elected as a Republican to the fourteenth U.S. Congress (1815-1817). He also engaged in agricultural pursuits and a Presidential Elector on the John Quincy Adams ticket in 1824.

Brown, Mary Smith

Mary Smith (m. Brown)

See  Smith, Mary (m. Brown)

Brown, Prudence Lambert

Prudence Dawes Lambert (m. Brown)

See  Lambert, Prudence Dawes (m. Brown)

Brown, Thomas (F/S)

Thomas Brown

Class of 1827

Student #102

 

Founder of the first Deaf Organization in America

Thomas Brown was born deaf in Henniker, New Hampshire, on February 25, 1804.  He was the son of a deaf father, Nahum Brown, and a hearing mother, Abiah (Eastman) Brown.  His father never learned how to read or write, but his mother used sign language (possibly Martha Vineyard Sign Language) to communicate with her husband.  He also had a deaf sister, Persis Brown1, and numerous deaf relatives.

 

His father decided to send him to the American Asylum.  He was educated under Laurent Clerc, Rev. Thomas H. Gallaudet, and Harvey Peet at the school from 1822 to 1827.

 

Thomas was a carpentry instructor at the American Asylum from 1827 to 1829.  He turned to farming when he returned home and worked with his father.  He was also a skilled horseman.

 

After gathering at his father’s house, Thomas and his friends from the school formed the first Deaf organization in America called the New England Gallaudet Association of Deaf-Mutes (NEGAD), now known as the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).  He was the chairperson of the first Deaf convention (NEGAD) in Montpelier, Vermont, in 1853. He encouraged deaf people to seek positions as officers of NEGAD at the conference.  Since many of the members and officers were graduates from the American Asylum, he urged them to consider raising funds to erect a monument in honor of Thomas H. Gallaudet.

 

Laurent Clerc was in charge of the Gallaudet Monument project.  Thomas was widely regarded as a great leader and orator in the Deaf Community.  He served as President of the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf for twelve years.

 

He met Mary Smith of Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard (Cape Cod)  at the American Asylum, and married her in Chilmark, Massachusetts, on April 1, 1832.  They had two children, a deaf son, Thomas Lewis Brown, and a hearing daughter who died young.  His deaf son, Thomas L. Brown, was a teacher at the Michigan Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in Flint, Michigan.

 

After Thomas’ wife, Mary, died, he remarried a hearing woman, Sophia Curtis, in Leeds, Maine, in 1864.  She had four deaf brothers.

 

He was regarded as the first great American Deaf leader.  He died in 1886 and is buried in Old Cemetery in Henniker, Merrimack County, New Hampshire.

 

1Persis Brown was born in Henniker, New Hampshire, in 1800. She married a hearing man, Bela Swett. They had two deaf sons, Thomas B. (Nahum) Swett and William Benjamin Swett, and a hearing son, Nahum George Swett.

Brown, Thomas Lewis

Thomas Lewis Brown

Class of 1857

Student #1097

 

MSD Teacher

Thomas Lewis Brown was born in Henniker, New Hampshire, on July 8, 1839, the son of deaf parents, Thomas Brown and Mary (Smith) Brown.  He attended the American Asylum in 1851 and graduated in 1857 with high honors.

 

Two years later, determined to follow Greeley’s advice and go west, Thomas got a highly paid position as a teacher at the Michigan School for the Deaf, Flint, Michigan (MSD).  He taught English for over 46 years.

 

He married a hearing woman, Sarah Hoagland, of Scipio, New York, in 1876.  After his wife died in 1885, he married Grace E. Judd in 1888.  Grace was an Assistant Matron at the Michigan School.

 

Thomas passed away in Flint, Michigan, on February 14, 1909, at age sixty-nine.  Michigan School for the Deaf lost one of its most faithful and highly successful teachers.

 

Thomas Lewis Brown was a teacher in an advanced manual class at the Michigan School for the Deaf.

 

Buell, Edward Samuel

Edward Samuel Buelle

Left ASD in 1942

Student #3367

 

NEAAD Founder

Edward Samuel Buell was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and attended the Mystic Oral School for the Deaf for seven years.  He was the son of Charles S. and Ada Buell.  He transferred to ASD in 1935 and left in 1942 to work.

 

After leaving ASD, Edward was very active in numerous organizations: Greater Bridgeport Association of the Deaf; New England Athletic Association of the Deaf (NEAAD); Eastern Athletic Association of the Deaf (EAAD); American Athletic Association of the Deaf (AAAD); Connecticut Deaf Senior Citizen, Connecticut Council Organization; Connecticut Association of the Deaf and New England Deaf Bowling.  Then he continued his involvement with organizations in Arizona with Phoenix Association of the Deaf, Greater Phoenix Deaf Senior Citizen, and Farwest Athletic Association of the Deaf (FAAD).

 

He was known as the father of the New England Athletic Association of the Deaf (NEAAD), along with five other fellows who founded NEAAD.  Edward has never missed attending NEAAD basketball tournaments since 1945.  Edward also founded the Greater Bridgeport Association of the Deaf with the other four people.

 

Edward held many offices with different organizations.  He served as President of NEAAD nine times, Vice-President four times, and as Secretary-Treasurer twice; as President and Treasurer of the Greater Bridgeport Association of the Deaf (GBAD) numerous times and as Vice-President of EAAD.

 

He served as a delegate to EAAD, NEAAD, and AAAD for more than three decades.

 

Further, Edward served as chairperson for different events:  NEAAD basketball and softball tournaments, EAAD basketball and softball tournaments, AAAD basketball tournament, Connecticut Deaf Senior Citizen, Connecticut Association of the Deaf Conference, Eastern Deaf Bowling tournament, New England Deaf Bowling tournament, Farwest Athletic Association of the Deaf basketball tournament in Arizona, and the EAAD Hall of Fame.

 

 He also received the Leadership Hall of Fame award from NEAAD, EAAD, and AAAD. GBAD honored him for his leadership.

 

Most importantly, Edward was very influential in obtaining a 75% discount on the TTY bill by testifying at the Public Utilities Commission Hearing for the Deaf community in Connecticut.

 

He married Josephine Dragonette, a former Lexington School for the Deaf graduate in 1952, and they had two Deaf children, Thomas, ASD ’74, and Deborah Buell (m. Stone), ASD ’77. 

 

Edward passed away in Arizona on July 9, 2021. His wife preceded him in death on November 14, 2001.

Burgess, Megan

Megan Burgess

Class of 2008

Student #6518

 

Artist & Art Teacher

Megan Burgess was born on Thanksgiving Day in Bermuda – November 22, 1990.  She became deaf from spinal meningitis at age two.

 

She attended public schools, Northlands Primary and Dellwood Middle School in Bermuda for ten years with an ASL interpreter. She enrolled at the Cedar Bridge Academy for two years.  She transferred to the American School for the Deaf and graduated two years later in 2008.  She received three college scholarships from ASD.

 

Megan enrolled at the National Technical Institute of the Deaf (NTID) and studied sculpture, printmaking, and painting.  She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in 2013 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).  Megan became one of RIT’s first Deaf students to receive a Masters of Arts degree in Visual Arts in 2014.  She earned a Master’s of Science degree in Secondary Education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in 2016.

 

Her artwork has been displayed and sold in Bermuda.  She worked as a Child Development and Art teacher at Texas School for the Deaf.  She is currently a Visual Art teacher at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD).

 

C

Carlisle, Albert Lincoln

Albert Lincoln Carlisle

Class of 1877

Student #1798

 

Community Leader & Lay Preacher

Albert Lincoln Carlisle was born in Surry, Maine, on September 19, 1860. He became deaf from an illness, which records showed were head sores at five months. He was the son of Alexander Carlisle and Cordelia J. Trundy.

 

He attended the American Asylum in 1869 and graduated in 1877.

 

Albert married Clara M. Gray, who was an 1884 graduate of the American Asylum, in Woodstock, Maine, on October 26, 1881. They had a son, Frank Clayton.

 

He and his wife Clara established their home in Bangor, Maine, where he was employed at the upholstery department of a large casket company.

 

He served as president (1906-1908 & 1914-1916) and vice president (1908-1914) of the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf-Mutes. He was a president, secretary, and treasurer of the Maine Mission for the Deaf for over 30 years.  He was also a member of the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf.

 

Albert was a lay preacher in the Episcopalian denomination for many years and conducted services at St. Andrew’s Mission for the Deaf in Boston, MA.

 

He died at his home in Rochester, New Hampshire, on August 3, 1940.He is buried at the Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor, Maine.

Casale, Francis Joseph

Francis Joseph Casale

Class of 1965

Student #4098

 

First Deaf and Blind Minister

Francis Joseph Casale was born on January 14, 1947, in West Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Joseph Lawrence Casale and Elizabeth “Betty” Frances Torza Casale. His parents bought a house on North Main Street right across from the American School for the Deaf so that he could commute daily. While attending the school, Francis was a manager of the football team and a scorer of the wrestling team. In 1965, during his senior year, he was Editor-in-Chief of the ASD 1965 yearbook.

 

He graduated from Gallaudet College in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics and received a Masters of Arts degree from the California State University in Northridge, CA (CSUN).  Further continuing his education, he earned an Associate of Arts in Practical Theology degree from Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, in 1984.  He received his Doctor of Theology degree in 1989, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the International Bible Institute and Seminary in 1990.  In 1989, he was ordained to the Ministry International Ministerial Association.

 

His career as the first deaf and blind minister spanned across the country from California to Connecticut.  From 1983-84, he was an Evangelist teacher in the Christ for Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, as well as an independent missionary-teacher in various organizations from 1984-1987.  While in Downey, California, he was an evangelist and teacher at the Christian Deaf Fellowship Mission from 1987-1990.  In Downey, he was a spiritual counselor and assistant director at the Immanuel Deaf Bible College and the Immanuel Church 1986-89.  Since 1990, he has been a teacher of the Bible and spiritual counselor at the Indiana-International Ministerial Association. He taught at the California State University in Northridge from 1976-79.  He has been on the Junior Board of Directors of the Immanuel Church of the Deaf in Downey since 1985. He has been on the Advisory County Board of the Christian Deaf Fellowship [Mission Organization] at Downey since 1986.  In various locations from California and Connecticut, he has been a ministerial counselor.

 

On April 25, 1982, he married Kimie Frances Hiasa, and they have two daughters, Grace and Naomi.  He is now the pastor of the Deaf congregation at the Inter-Community Church of God in Covina, California, where he is an exceptional preacher and teacher. The Silent Blessings-Deaf Ministries was honored to have him chair their Visioning Board.  His wife, Kimie, is the Workshop leader of the Inter-Community Church of God in Covina, CA.  In addition to Frank’s busy career, he is an active member of the deaf ministry of the National Christian Counselors Association, International Ministerial Association, and Deaf Evangelical Association of North America, where he has been treasurer since 1988.

 

Cassin, Barbara Jean

Barbara Jean Cassin

Class of 1975

Student #4433

 

Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor & Community Leader

Barbara Jean Cassin was born on October 1, 1955, in Bristol, Connecticut, to Donald and Rosemarie Cassin. She began her relationship with the American School for the Deaf at age three. Her parents immersed themselves and their daughter in everything ASD had to offer. From their involvement in the parent organization and her participation in ASD’s sports, organizations, and her academic achievements, Barbara learned at a very young age that dedication, perseverance, and hard work were the foundations for success.

 

These lessons have guided Barbara throughout her adult life.  As the Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the State of Connecticut, Barbara had a reputation for being a leader and a valuable team player. She collaborated with many other state agencies and resource providers to improve access to services for Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.

 

Barbara has been an active member of ASDAA, holding various offices since her graduation from ASD. She has also been involved with the Connecticut  Association of the Deaf since returning to Connecticut in 1986, having served as president and vice-president, in addition to other roles.

 

One of Barbara’s more notable achievements was collaborating with the Office of Protection and Advocacy and the U.S. Department of Justice to negotiate a settlement with the Connecticut Hospital Association.  It resulted in the establishment of a statewide on-call system to provide interpreters in emergencies. 

 

She also developed a partnership with the American School for the Deaf and Disability Network of Eastern Connecticut, applying for and receiving two-year innovation and expansion grant serving those in the currently underserved disability community. It resulted in DNEC services expanded to provide intervention and independent living supports to Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers. The project then became self-supporting and a model for other programs. 

 

Barbara convened an Ad Hoc Committee to review and assess the need for determining the qualifications and skills of interpreters for those  Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Connecticut. It resulted in a proposed and successful passing of legislation requiring that interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, working in Connecticut, register annually with the state of Commission on the Deaf and Hearing Impaired. She contracted with the National Association of the Deaf to provide national interpreting certification evaluations in Connecticut. The result was an increase in the number of interpreters who obtained national certification and, therefore, compliance with the state’s statute.

 

She served on the ASD Board of Directors for many years and is currently the first Vice-President. She was selected as the recipient of the Gallaudet University Alumni Association Pauline “Polly” Peikoff Service to Others’ Award in 2020.

 

In 2017 Barbara served as the Chairperson of ASD’s Bicentennial Celebration, planning 18 months of events commemorating the 200th year at ASD.

 

Barbara’s dedication and commitment are not just in her work. Since her return to Connecticut, Barbara has played in the annual ASD vs. ASD Alumni basketball game and the CAD’s Volleyball Tourney fundraiser. You will rarely find Barbara sitting. She loves anything that keeps her moving, such as kayaking, biking, ziplining, whitewater rafting, and racquetball. Every year she can be found cutting and splitting wood at home to heat her house and at the Maine or Eastern Deaf Timberfests. Barbara has also volunteered at the Habitat of Humanity of Eastern Connecticut since 2015. And Isola Bella continues to be one of her favorite places.

 

Chamberlain, William Martin Jr.

William Martin Chamberlain, Jr.

Class of 1848

Student #784

 

Editor of the First Newspaper for the Deaf

William Martin Chamberlain, Jr. was born in South Reading, Massachusetts, on July 13, 1832, the son of William, Sr. and Cynthia Chamberlain of St. George, New Brunswick.  He lost his hearing from measles at age eight.  William attended the American Asylum in 1844 and was a student of high intelligence and a great writer. He remained there for four years.

 

He spent some years as a fisherman in Marblehead, and then at various times a fisherman, shoemaker, carpenter, newspaper editor, and teacher.

 

He married Eleanor (Nellie) J. Keltie in Somerville, Massachusetts, on December 13, 1858, after Eleanor graduated from the American Asylum in 1858.   They had a daughter, Eva, and three sons, William II, Thomas, and John.

 

He became a soldier during the Civil War.  He was able to pass his examination due to his skills in lipreading. He managed to fake hearing and talked his way into the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War, but was dismissed when he failed to answer a sentry.

 

He became the editor of the Marblehead Messenger at one time. He was managing editor of a comic magazine, the Boston Owl, in the 1860s. 

 

In 1867, he became the editor of the first newspaper published for the deaf, the Gallaudet Guide, in Boston.  In 1875, he came to Rome, New York, to take a position as instructor in the Central New York Institution.  He organized the carpentry, shoe, and printing shops. He devoted his time to the management of the printing shop and editing the Deaf-Mutes’ The Register.  He also served as secretary of the New England Gallaudet Association of Deaf-Mutes.

 

He died of the grippe (an old fashioned term for influenza) on February 4, 1875, at the age of sixty-two.

Chamberlayne, Hartwell Mason

Hartwell Mason Chamberlayne

Class of 1851

Student #1059

 

Deaf Confederate Army Soldier

Hartwell Mason Chamberlayne was born deaf in Richmond, Virginia, on February 5, 1835.  He was the son of Dr. Lewis Webb Chamberlayne, M.D., and Martha Burwell Dabney. His father, Lewis, was a founder of the Medical College of Virginia. He had an older deaf brother, Edward Pye Chamberlayne, who graduated from the American Asylum in 1834, and a sister, Lucy Parke Chamberlayne. 

 

He attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb at age fourteen in 1850 and left ASD in 1851.  He entered the Central New York Institution for Instruction for the Deaf and Dumb for several years. His notable classmates of the New York Institution were Thomas Jefferson Trist, Mary Toles, P. Edgar Morehouse, H. C. Rider, among others.

         

Hartwell taught at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind during the outbreak of the Civil War, and the school had to close. He served without injury in the Confederate Army in the infantry, cavalry, and artillery, and took part in the battles around Richmond, Virginia.  He met a deaf soldier at the Battle of New Market, James Jennings, when James was captured.

 

After the Civil War, he settled on a farm in Appomattox County.

 

He married Elmina Anthony McDearmon of Lynchburg, Virginia, on March 16, 1869. They had six hearing children, but one child died in infancy.  His wife, Elmina, was a graduate of the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind.

 

In 1877, his brother, Edward, was killed in Virginia by a train.

 

He taught at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind in 1890 and continued until his death.  He died in Staunton, Virginia, on March 29, 1905, and is buried at the Old Concord Presbyterian Church Cemetery.

Clark, Rhoda Sargent

Rhoda Sargent Clark

Class of 1834

Student #3304

 

Rhoda S. Clark was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on September 24, 1916, to deaf parents, Horace Dryden Lee Clark and Ida White.  Her maternal grandparents were also deaf, and so were her two brothers, all graduates of the American School for the Deaf.

 

She graduated from ASD as the valedictorian of the Class of 1934 and attended Gallaudet College, graduating in 1939.  She was among the first students at Gallaudet to own an automobile.

 

After graduation from college, Rhoda taught at the Virginia School for the Deaf and South Dakota School for the Deaf.  During World War II she was a plant layout draftsman at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft.  Then Rhoda moved to Los Angeles and worked at Douglas Aircraft again as a draftsman.  She worked as a counselor at the Texas School for the Deaf before becoming a map draftsman at the University of Texas.  In 1963, she accepted an offer to work as a counselor, first at the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley and then in Riverside. 

 

Upon retirement, she worked with Deaf seniors at the San Francisco Senior Center and then moved to Oakland to work with the Deaf Counseling Advocacy and Referral Agency (DCARA).  While at DCARA, she was instrumental in starting programs for the Deaf seniors in Hayward, Fremont and Walnut Creek, all in Northern California.

 

Rhoda was a member of numerous organizations, among them:  the Episcopal Conference of the Deaf, the American School for the Deaf Alumni Association, the Deaf Seniors of America, the California Association of the Deaf and the National Association of the Deaf.

 

She loved traveling, crossing the country fifteen times since 1940, and touring Europe four times.  She was said to have an excellent and sharp memory for people’s names and places.

 

Rhoda died in El Sobrante, California, on May 21, 2011, and is buried at the West Suffield Cemetery in Suffield, Connecticut.

Clarke, Ruth Jeanette Fish

Ruth Jeanette Fish (m. Clarke)

See  Fish, Ruth Jeanette (m. Clarke)

 

Clerc, Eliza Crocker Boardman

Eliza Crocker Boardman (m. Clerc)

See  Boardman, Eliza Crocker (m. Clerc)

Cogswell, Alice

Alice Cogswell

Left in 1824

Student #1

 

The Inspiration

Alice Cogswell was born on August 31, 1805, in Hartford, Connecticut, on 8 Prospect Street to Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell, a well-known physician specializing in surgical ophthalmology, and his wife, Mary Ledyard.  Alice was the third in a family of five children.  At age two, she took ill with cerebral spinal meningitis, otherwise known as “spotted fever,” and became deaf as a result.  Her parents were distressed and sent her to a doctor who attempted various methods such as pouring saltwater and oil into her ears and leeching.  Eventually, her parents accepted Alice’s condition and the family developed a system of home signs to communicate with her.

 

Alice grew up a happy child, the “darling” of her family.  She had a naturally quick mind and was anxious to learn.  Her family would watch her “inquiring glances” and communicate by “graceful signs of passing conversations.”  Family friends described Alice as being observant, lively and possessing an ability to amuse others by mimicking the actions of their friends.  Like her father, she enjoyed dancing and was fascinated by music, leaning over the piano to feel its vibrations.  She also enjoyed handiwork and did a piece of knit lace that was passed along in the family for several generations.  She was close to her sisters, but her brother Mason was her more frequent playmate.

 

The relationship between Alice and her father, Dr. Cogswell, was exceptionally close and he sought to find educational opportunities for his daughter.  Daniel Wadsworth had just established a private girls’ school in Hartford, in 1814, with Lydia Huntley (who would later become a famous poet and marry, taking on the name Sigourney) as a teacher.  Fifteen girls, including Alice and her three sisters, from the Hartford’s elite families, were selected as pupils.  Alice’s mother was believed to have taught her the British two-handed finger alphabet as well as the basics of reading before Alice started school.  Miss Huntley’s notes of Alice’s signed utterances indicated that the Cogswell family used home signs that were “sophisticated enough for detailed narratives” and exhibited a grammar likely similar to that of a “genuine sign language.”  Alice was making progress at the school but Dr. Cogswell believed that other deaf people would benefit from such education and he wanted to help them.

 

Thomas H. Gallaudet came to play a pivotal role in Alice’s life.  His family and the Cogswell family were neighbors.  Gallaudet met Alice when he returned home from Andover Theological Seminary during the winter of ’14 – ’15 as indicated in his notes.  However, it is now disputed whether or not the story of Gallaudet teaching Alice to write the word “hat” did occur as there are insufficient records to support that.  Gallaudet met Alice while she was attending Miss Huntley’s school.  At the time, at age nine, Alice possessed a rudimentary knowledge of words and used home-based signs.  Therefore, it was unlikely that Alice was “wholly uneducated” and in “deplorable condition” when Gallaudet met her, as depicted by Gallaudet’s son, Edward Miner Gallaudet in his biography of his father.  However, Gallaudet recognized Alice’s potential to learn and, along with Miss Huntley, encouraged Dr. Cogswell to seek ways to establish a school for the deaf in America. 

 

While Gallaudet undertook the long journey to Europe to learn more about educating the deaf, Alice wrote him several letters.  A draft of such a letter was:

 

Hartford, Thursday, July 6, 1815

         My dear Sir;

I am very glad.  few days.   I you go long, ship to wave.  God keep away.  must.  Forgot.  I was not, Morning and Evening Pray is God keeps Alice  yes. Hartford.

Alice Cogswell

 

After determining Alice’s meaning through sign language, Miss Huntley helped her revise the following letter before sending to Gallaudet:

 

My dear Sir;

I am very glad you write to me.  You stay long on the ship on the waves.  God loves and keeps you.  I pray morning and evening, God to keep Alice and all men.  He is sorry that we are wicked – I do not know so much as Mary and Elizabeth.  But I am glad that, I understand.  I hope.  I shall learn to read well before you come back – I love my arithmetic and my school, Miss Huntley…says, “Yes, you are very good, Alice”…

Alice Cogswell

 

In another letter a year later responding to Gallaudet’s questions about God, the Bible and praying, Alice expressed concern about her salvation and a desire to be able to read the Bible:

 

Hartford, April 1816

My dear Sir;

I am very much afraid God thinks me very wicked, and bad heart.  I am not good heart, I wish good heart so very want not I am feeling bad very sorry.  I sometimes day little prayed morning…I think so very wicked…God made me deaf and dumb…perhaps me very bad…perhaps blind and deaf and dumb.

I hope not.  God, Jesus Christ know best…  God made me deaf and dumb.  I was a little Child 2 year old Spotted fever…

I dont know reading Holy Bible.  I am very sorry.  I wih and very want read I know and did not.

Mrs. Terry has got a very little baby name Eleanor Terry very sweet and very beautiful week old face very handsome, I see many.  Mrs. Hudson has got a very little baby name Henry W. Hudson I see not.  I write letter to Mr. Dwight he has grown a man very good live in New Haven…

Your affectionately friend

Alice Cogswell

 

It is clear from Alice’s letters that while Miss Huntley provided guidance, she did not attempt to overcorrect Alice’s writing, allowing her to express herself in unfettered form.

 

Gallaudet returned to America a year later in 1816, with Laurent Clerc, a Deaf teacher from Paris, France, and they arrived at the Cogswell residence on a sunny day on August 22.  Alice was summoned to the house from Miss Huntley’s school.  When they met, with “all eyes on them and ours on each other,” Clerc signed, “HELLO,” and Alice, with “merriment dancing in her eyes,” signed, “DEAF YOU-ME-SAME.” She asked Clerc if he would teach her signs and what signs he would teach her.  Clerc responded by signing, “I will teach you the sign for ‘love’.”  Clerc developed an abiding interest in Alice’s education and well-being.  He wrote in her journal before she left the asylum, encouraging her to expand her world by walking outside often, visiting her friends and reading at home.

 

On Tuesday, April 15, 1817, the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons opened in the City Hotel on the corner of Main and Gold Streets in Hartford.  Alice Cogswell, aged eleven, was the first student and the second youngest in a class of seven.  And by June 1st, fourteen more students enrolled at the school and by the end of the year, there were thirty-one.  The average age of students who came to school for the first time was nearly eighteen.  A typical school day would start early with worship before breakfast and classes all day until evening.  Students brought their home signs and, along with Laurent Clerc’s French Sign Language, American Sign Language began to take its form over the years.  Students with a more developed sign language from Martha’s Vineyard did not attend the asylum until the year 1825.  Several of Alice’s classmates went on to become teachers at the asylum and elsewhere.  During Alice’s years at the asylum, the school expanded and moved to a new and bigger location on Asylum Street.  Alice remained at the school until 1824 when she was eighteen years old. 

 

Alice’s father, Dr. Cogswell, became ill with pneumonia and died on December 17, 1830, at the age of sixty-nine.  His death left Alice stricken with grief and she fell into “a state of almost constant delirium.”  She was unable to attend her father’s funeral.  Thirteen days after her father’s death, Alice died at the age of twenty-five. 

 

Alice’s father had been a large presence in her life and she was devoted to him.  He did not allow Alice to live at the school as Gallaudet and Clerc urged, and when her classmates married or left Hartford to seek jobs, she may have felt left behind.  Little is known of her social contacts after she left the asylum which leads some to believe that she may have become a recluse.  Since most of her writing after she left school was lost or possibly destroyed, there is very little record of her reflections about life before her death.

 

Lydia Huntley Sigourney, by then a noted poet, penned two poems about her former student, titled “Teacher’s Excuse” and “Lines on the Death of Alice Cogswell.”  She admired Alice’s determination and dedication to learning.   Sigourney wrote that Alice had a “thirst for knowledge, a loving heart and a fine intellect” and noted that she carried her little slate with her so she could converse with the people around her.  In 1889, Daniel Chester French created a bronze statue representing Gallaudet teaching Alice the letter “A”.  The original statue is at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and the replica is at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford.  In 1953, Frances L. Wadsworth sculpted The Founder’s Memorial Statue located in Hartford which portrays Alice being lifted by two large hands representing the ten benefactors of the American School for the Deaf. 

 

Alice Cogswell served as the inspiration that led to the establishment of the first school for the deaf in America and changed the world for Deaf people.

 

Coltart, Jean "Jennie" Adele Sullivan

Jean “Jennie” Adele Sullivan (m. Coltart)

See  Sullivan, Jean “Jennie” Adele (m. Coltart)

 

Compton, John W.

John W. Compton

Class of 1838

Student #370

 

U.S. Treasury Dept. Clerk

John W. Compton was born deaf in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., in 1823.  At age nine, he enrolled at the American Asylum along with his deaf sister, Eleanor A. Compton.  He graduated in 1838. 

 

John worked as a clerk in the Sixth Auditor’s office of the United States Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., for 35 years and was well known for being efficient and faithful in government service. 

 

He married Annie M. Wayland, an 1850 graduate of the New York Institution for the Deaf and Dumb of New York on October 2, 1850.  They had two sons, Charles W. Compton & Wilbeforce Compton and a daughter, Julia Compton.

 

John died of heart disease at the age of fifty-seven on November 4, 1878.  There was a large attendance of friends including officers and students of the National Deaf-Mute College, many of his fellow clerks, and a large number of older citizens at his funeral which Dr. E. M. Gallaudet interpreted.

 

John is buried at the Congressional Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

Cossette Family

Cossette Family  1884 – 1914

Eight American Asylum Students

 

Joseph-Telesphore Cossette, Jr.Class of 1893,  Student #2355

Marie-Rilla Cossette,  Class of 1898, Student #2442

Marie-Henrietta Cossette (m. Grady),  Class of 1892, Student #2520

Marie-Nancy Cossette (m. Paradise), Class of 1903, Student #2543

Joseph-Philip Cossette, Class of 1908, Student #2714

Joseph-Ernest Cossette, Class of 1909, Student #2713

Joseph-Frank Cossette, Class of 1913, Student #2762

Marie-Bertha Cossette, Class of 1914, Student #2815

 

The Cossette family lived in Meriden, Connecticut, with a family of fourteen children, and eight of them were born deaf.  These eight children attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb from 1884 to 1914, thirty years of a continuous flow of Cossette siblings in the school. One can imagine the reactions of the staff every time a “new” Cossette was admitted to the school year after year.

 

The parents of the eight deaf children were Telesphore Cossette, Sr. and Elmire [Gervais] Cossette of Meriden, both of French-Canadian descent.  They were married in a double wedding ceremony with Augustin F. Belanger and Exzire Grandbois in St. Rose’s Church in Meriden on December 30, 1873.   The brides were cousins on one side of the family.

 

Their second and first deaf child was Joseph-Telesphore, Jr., born on October 21, 1876.  He entered the school in 1887 as student #2335 and graduated in June 1893.  He worked at the Rogers Silver Company for many years and the New Haven Clock shop.  He was married twice and died in West Haven, CT, in 1934.

 

The fifth child and second deaf was Marie-Rilla, born on July 5, 1881.  She attended the school in 1889 as student #2442 and graduated in June 1898. She died in 1919 and was interred in the Cossette family plot in St. Laurent’s Cemetery, Meriden.

 

The sixth child and third deaf was Marie-Henrietta born May 21, 1884.  Her nickname was “Hattie,” and she was enrolled in the school as student #2519 in September 1892. She graduated in June 1901 and later married Joseph J. Grady of Waterbury on November 30, 1916.  He was also a graduate of the “Old School” in 1905. 

 

The seventh child and fourth deaf was Marie-Nancy, born in July 1885.  She entered the school as student #2543 in September 1893 and graduated in June 1903.  In the 1923 City Directory of Meriden, she was employed by MB Co. and resided at Carter Avenue. She later married John J. Paradise and lived in East Hartford. 

 

The tenth child and fifth deaf was Joseph-Philip, born on October 10, 1891.  He was admitted as a student #2714 in September 1899. While in school, he made a name for himself on the sports pages in football.  He graduated in April 1908.  He eventually married Mary Cinimera of Waterbury, and they had six children. He died on December 13, 1943, of tuberculosis in Waterbury.

 

The eleventh child and sixth deaf was Joseph-Ernest, born on May 17, 1893.  He entered the school as student #2713 in September 1899 and graduated in June 1909. He died in 1918, possibly during the Spanish Flu epidemic.

 

The twelfth child and seventh deaf was Joseph-Frank, born on December 17, 1894.  He entered the school as student #2762 in September 1901 and graduated in June 1913. He worked at the Bradley and Hubbard Mfg. Co. of Meriden as an electric light lamp assembler. He married Anna Martin of Troy, NY and had four children. He died on November 21, 1953, in Meriden and was interred in St. Laurent’s Cemetery.  His widow Anna survived him until 1973.

 

The thirteenth child and last deaf was Marie-Bertha, born on January 4, 1897.  She entered the school as student #2815 in September 1903 and graduated on June 19, 1914.

 

Upon leaving the “Old School” as the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb was later called, all the Cossettes became industrious, thrifty, and respected citizens who held responsible positions in various companies in their home towns and did quite well for themselves.  Those were the days of easy and secure employment with a good economy.

 

Note of Interest:   Jonathan P. Twiss, ASD Class of 1963 and a member of the ASD Pioneers Website team is related to the Deaf members of the Cossette Family.  Augustin F. and Exzire [Grandbois] Belanger are his great-grandparents. The Cossettes and Belangers, together had 27 children.

Crane, John Emery (F/S)

John Emery Crane

Class of 1872

Student #1740

 

Teacher, 1878-1922

John Emery Crane was born in Whiting, Maine, on January 2, 1850, the son of Samuel and Caroline Crane.  He became deaf from scarlet fever at the age of ten.  His father, Samuel, was a descendant of Col. John Crane, who was a soldier in the American Revolutionary movement.  Col. Crane was active in the Sons of Liberty, an organization that played a significant role in colonies battling the Stamp Act in 1765,  and also participated in the Boston Tea Party in Boston Harbor in 1773.

 

At age eighteen, he entered the American Asylum in 1868 and graduated in 1872.  He enrolled at Gallaudet College in 1872, and graduated in 1877, as the valedictorian of his senior class.  He received his Master of Arts degree in 1899.

 

John worked as a clerk in the publishing house of E. C. Allen & Company in Augusta, Maine, for two years.  In 1879, ASD Principal Dr. Job Williams hired him to teach at the American Asylum.  John taught at the asylum for 44 years.

 

He married Lizzie Waters Torrey of Deer Island, Maine, on May 11, 1875.  His wife graduated from the American Asylum in 1879.  They had four children, Arthur J. Crane, Herbert W. Crane, Flora Ellan Crane, and Grace E. Crane.

 

In 1890, John compiled “Bits of History,” a book of stories gathered from American history and written in a language adapted for young deaf children.  It was 332 pages long and published by the American Asylum.  He also served as president of the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf-Mutes for eight years.

 

It was largely through his influence that the obnoxious word “Asylum” was dropped from the corporate title of the Hartford School. There  is one of the principal cities in Hartford bearing the name of “Asylum.” He twice wrote the Board of Street Commissioners, asking them to change the name of Asylum Street to that of Gallaudet Avenue, in honor of the Father of Deaf-Mute Education in the United States.  But the Board, while commending his setting forth the points for the necessary change did not wish to make it, because “Asylum Street” is well known all over the world, as it exists in only one city – Hartford, Mr. Crane should deserve our thanks for his energetic action in both matters.

 

John was active in alumni events, serving as chairperson of the 75th Celebration of the American School for the Deaf in 1892, the second vice president of the American School for the Deaf Alumni Association from 1915 to 1916 and as chairperson of the Conventions for the Centennial Celebration of the American School for the Deaf in 1917.

 

He died on July 16, 1924, at the age of seventy-four and is buried at the beautiful heights of the Fairview Cemetery in West Hartford, Connecticut.

 

John E. Crane teaching mathematics at the American Asylum

Currie, Colleen Cecila (m. Turner)

Colleen Cecila Currie (m. Turner)

Class of 1990

Student #5893

 

Illustrator & Muralist

Colleen Currie was born deaf from maternal rubella in Fredericton, New Brunswick, in 1970.  She was educated at several public schools before attending ASD in 1987 and graduating in 1990.

 

She attended Bow Valley College Calgary in Alberta, Canada.  She also studied jewelry design and pencil sketching at a New Brunswick community college.

 

Colleen is currently working at Seacret Direct, a skincare retail business that combines Dead Sea minerals and other nutrients with new technologies and scientific breakthroughs.

 

She is also a freelance illustrator and muralist, especially with horses and other animals as subjects.

 

She is an illustrator of “The Smart Princess and Other Deaf Tales – A Project of the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf” book.

D

Darby, Albert William (F/S)

Albert William Darby

Class of 1955

Student #3858

 

Teacher & Administrator

Albert William Darby was born in Norwalk, Connecticut, on June 16, 1936.  He was the son of deaf parents who graduated from the Mystic Oral School for the Deaf.  Al graduated from the American School for the Deaf in 1955, and from Gallaudet College in 1960, with a B.S. degree.  He also earned a Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from California State University, Northridge.

 

After graduating, Al, as he was commonly known as, returned to ASD to pursue a career as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, and principal of the H.S. Upper School.  He also taught driver’s education and coached the basketball and football teams.  For two years, from 1974 – 1976, he directed the Camp Isola Bella summer program.

 

As a teacher and administrator over the years, Al inspired love and respect from both students and peers alike.  Not content to rest on his laurels upon retirement, he taught courses in ASL/Deaf Culture at Northwestern Connecticut Community College, Northern Mariana Community College in Saipan, MP, and the AARP Driver Safety Program.

 

He served a leadership role in several organizations, including the president of the Connecticut Association of the Deaf from 1997 – 1998.  He was honored with the ASD Community Service Award in 2002 and inducted in the ASDAA Hall of Fame in 2005. 

 

Al was elected to the ASD Board of Corporators in 2002 and the Board of Directors in 2006. 

 

He and his wife, Katherine (Miller), also an ASD alumnus, had two sons and seven grandchildren.  For years they kept warm in a second home in Florida.  Al passed away at the Tidewell Hospice in Palmetto, Florida, on January 13, 2017. 

 

 

Darby, Katherine "Kathy" Louise Miller

Katherine “Kathy” Louise Miller (m. Darby)

See  Miller, Katherine “Kathy” Louise (m. Darby)

David, John Oliver (F/S)

John Oliver David

Class of 1831

Student #124

Teacher, 18381841

John Oliver David was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 13, 1813, the son of John David, Sr., and Lucy Hollis. He became deaf from a fever at age one and a half.

When he was six years old, he moved to Amherst, New Hampshire, and was raised on a farm. In 1824, John entered the American Asylum at the age of 12, where he remained for several years. He was known as an intelligent scholar and a favorite of Rev. Gallaudet. He graduated with honors in 1831.

After graduation, John worked in the shoe business in Amherst, New Hampshire, for seven years. He taught at the American Asylum for eight years. He married Philena Emerson of Croyden, New Hampshire, an 1840 American Asylum graduate, on November 12, 1840. They had four children, Ann Sharp David (who died at age eighteen), Lucy Emma (David) Clark, John Gallaudet David, and Ida Frances David (who died at age one).

The Deaf community was shocked by the death of John on February 26, 1887, when he was knocked down by an express horse and wagon, fracturing his skull and the bones of his ankles. He was seventy-three years old and had been prominent in the affairs of the deaf, both in Boston and elsewhere. He was an agent of the Boston Deaf-Mute Society for many years and a member and state manager (NH, 1854-1862) of the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf-Mutes. He was regarded as an excellent Christian man who took much interest in the religious welfare of the deaf and often preached to them in Boston.

He is buried at the Meadow View Cemetery in Amherst, New Hampshire.

 

 

DeMayo, Robert Kenneth

Robert Kenneth DeMayo

Class of 1984 

Student #5189

 

Actor and Educator

Robert Kenneth DeMayo was born in Connecticut and graduated from the American School for the Deaf in 1984. Inspired by actors such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, and classic black and white films at a very young age, he always wanted to be an actor, getting his first start as a clown in a troupe, The Silent Alley at ASD. He attended the National Technical Institute of the Deaf in Rochester, New York, majoring in graphic design. While at NTID, he became involved with their productions, The Adding Machine, and An Italian Straw Hat. This led to joining a professional touring company, Sunshine Too – Theatre on Tour for two seasons and later the Cleveland’s Fairmount Theatre of the Deaf, now the Cleveland Sign Stage Theatre.

 

He then toured with the Tony Award-winning National Theatre of the Deaf for six seasons starring in many noteworthy productions including One More Spring, Treasure Island, Ophelia, In A Grove, Under Milkwood, Spinning Man: Life of Dylan Thomas, An Italian
Straw Hat, Profile of a Deaf Peddler, and Shakespeare Unmasked.

 

Robert was an actor and the Artistic Director for the New York Deaf Theatre, Inc. While there, he played Hamlet in a production called, What If Hamlet Was Deaf? He helped to found the Deaf community theater, Sound Off Theatre. With this theater, he directed and
acted in a murder mystery dinner theater, Paged by Murder, Who Sent It?

 

He worked with a team of ASL translators to transliterate Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night which led to further collaboration with the Amaryllis Theatre Company. Robert was the ASL consultant and actor in the feature film Universal Signs and appeared in No Ordinary Hero.  Robert was one of the lead subjects in Hilari Scarl’s multi-award winning documentary, See What I’m Saying.  He performed live for the closing ceremonies at the Perspektiva Film Festival in Moscow and appeared in dozens of Q&A’s with the film around the world.  He taught ASL classes & Theatre Interpreted at Juilliard School.  He also wrote and performs an autobiographical one-man show, Me Hear None. Recently he created an educational sign language series, “Sign with Robert”.

 

Robert is continuing to make inroads as a talented and successful actor, entertainer, educator and ASL consultant.

 

 

Denison, Elizabeth C. Lindsey

Elizabeth C. Lindsey (m. Denison)

See  Lindsey, Elizabeth C. (m. Denison)

Dension, James

James Denison

Class of 1853 

Student #898

 

Kendall School Teacher & Principal

James Denison was born in Royalton, Vermont, on January 9, 1837. He was the fourth son of eleven children of Dr. Joseph Adam Denison, Jr. and Eliza (Skinner) Denison. He became deaf from scarlet fever at the age of four.

 

He was educated at the American Asylum from 1846 – 1853. After graduation, he taught at the Michigan Institution for the Deaf for a year. His brother-in-law, Edward Miner Gallaudet, who married one of his hearing sisters, hired him to become the first deaf teacher at the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind where he continued until his death. He was also the first principal of the Kendall School for the Deaf, Washington, D.C. (1869-1909). He served at the Kendall School for the Deaf for fifty-three years and received an honorary Master of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1869, and awarded an honorary Ph.B from George Washington University in 1860. 

 

James was the inventor of the Denison Fraction Scale, a contrivance for teaching fractions and wrote poetry. He was also the editor of “The Silent World” for a year. He felt that his best field was in teaching children and he was successful in encouraging them to do their best.

 

He and Edward Miner Gallaudet were close friends. After visiting James’s family home in Vermont in the summer of 1864, Edward made the acquaintance of James’ hearing sister, Susan Skinner whom he married four years later. Susan was Edward’s second wife.


Edward and Susan had four children, Denison, Edson, Eliza, Herbert, and Marion.

 

James married Elizabeth L. Lindsay, an American Asylum 1857 graduate, in Salem, Massachusetts, on December 26, 1859, in Washington, D.C. They had six hearing children but four children died in infancy.

 

In 1880, James was the only Deaf delegate representing America at the first International Congress of Deaf Educators in Milan, Italy, along with his brother in law, Edward M. Gallaudet, and a few other American hearing delegates. The Milan Conference declared that oral education was superior to manual education and passed a resolution banning the use of sign language in the education of the deaf.

 

He died on March 20, 1910, in Washington, D.C., and is buried at the North Royalton Cemetery in Vermont with his wife Elizabeth “Lizzie.”

 

 

 

 

The Denison House named in honor of James Denison is located on Faculty Row at Gallaudet University.

Derby, Ira Homer

Ira Homer Derby

Class of 1868

Student #460

 

Ira Homer Derby was born in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, on November 9, 1849, the son of deaf parents, Wilson Derby and Eliza Ann (Stubbs) Derby. His parents, sister Olive, Uncle Ira Derby, and two aunts, Elvira and Almeda, all of who were deaf, had attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in Hartford, Connecticut. They all were descendants of John Whitman, one of the earliest settlers of Weymouth, Massachusetts. At the age of eleven, Ira attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1861 and graduated in 1868. 

 

On September 29, 1886, he married Mary Louise Bosworth, who was also deaf, in New York City, in a ceremony performed by Thomas H. Gallaudet. She graduated from the American Asylum in 1878. She also attended Mystic Oral School and the Clarke School for the Deaf for two years. Ira was employed as a shoemaker and canvasser in his father’s boot shop. 

 

He was a publisher and proprietor of the book, “The History of the First School for Deaf-Mutes of America, How They Are Educated, And How The Alphabets Are Invented, And Introduced Into Use.” in 1885. 

 

He died in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, on February 5, 1929, and was interred in Highland Cemetery, Weymouth. His wife, Mary Louise, died in 1939. 

de Rose, Raphaelina "Rae" Martino

Raphaelina “Rae” Martino (m. de Rose)

See  Martino, Raphaelina “Rae” Martino (m. de Rose)

Desmarais, Camille Lionel (F/S)

Camille Lionel Desmarais

Class of 1948 

Student #3950

Ordained Reverend

Camille Lionel Desmarais was born on August 28, 1931, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont to Onile and Yvonne Desmarais, French Canadians who settled in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts. He was the fourth child of seven in his French-speaking family. Cam, as he was commonly known, became deaf at age eleven from spinal meningitis. 

He attended the American School for the Deaf in 1941 and graduated in 1948. He entered Gallaudet College, and as a Gallaudet student, he was a standout wrestler on the team during the “Golden Wrestling Era of the Fifties.” He was named the Outstanding Wrestler at a District of Columbia AAU wrestling tournament.

Cam married his college sweetheart, Marjorie Crosby, in 1950, and they moved to her hometown in Mobile, Alabama. They had three children, Marianne, David, and Cathy, all who attended St. Mark’s Deaf Church led by the Rev. Dr. Robert Fletcher (father of Oscar-winning actress, Louise Fletcher). During that time, Cam felt the call to the ministry and returned to Gallaudet College to complete his degree and enter the Virginia Theological Seminary.

He became the 40th Deaf person ordained to the priesthood in 1966.  During that year, Cam returned to Connecticut with his family to begin his ministry following the work of the Rev. Stanley Light. Cam was one of the prime movers in establishing the Connecticut Council of Organizations Serving the Deaf (C.C.O.S.D.). He started teaching at his alma mater in 1969, joining his wife, Marjorie, who had been teaching Junior High reading. He was also the head coach of the ASD wrestling team (1969 – 1970) which had a winning record of 5 wins and 2 losses.

In 1972, Cam and his family moved to Alabama, and he became the Archdeacon for Deaf Work in the Diocese of Alabama, following the long ministry of the Rev. Fletcher.  There Cam was instrumental in building a new church building designed for the Deaf.  He was also active in developing Mental Health services for the Deaf. He worked to gain the release of many Deaf persons from state hospitals and institutions, forcing the state to provide appropriate treatment and housing to those Deaf persons needing such support.

During Cam’s time in Connecticut and Alabama, he was a leader in the Episcopal Conference of the Deaf serving several terms as president and as a mentor and friend to many new priests entering the work of Deaf ministry in the Episcopal Church across the country. He was passionate about the ministry in the Deaf community, and he believed that it includes all aspects of our life situations.

Cam retired from St. John’s in 1994 and moved to Mobile, where he served as a priest in charge of St. Mark’s Deaf Church and led the construction of a new home for St. Mark’s. His service in the Deaf ministry spanned forty-five years.

Cam’s wife, Marjorie, passed away in 1979, and he remarried Julia Boland. His oldest daughter, Marianne, followed him into the ministry, becoming ordained as the Rev. Marianne Stuart.

Cam passed away on April 13, 2011, in Mobile, Alabama, following surgery. He is buried at the Forest Crest Cemetery in Birmingham, Alabama, next to his first wife, Marjorie.

Teaching at ASD, 1971 Rev. Camille Desmarais with his daughter, Rev. Marianne D. Stuart

Desrosier, Thomas "Tom" Russell (F/S)

Thomas “Tom” Russell Desrosier

Class of 1951

Student #4071 

Thomas Russell Desrosier was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, on November 10, 1930, Leo G. and Gladys K. Desrosier’s son. He has a deaf sister, Doreen A. Desrosier.

Tom attended elementary school at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1935 and graduated in 1949. He entered the American School for the Deaf in 1949 and graduated in 1951 as the class salutatorian. Tom participated in football, basketball, and baseball and was chosen a National All-American football player in 1949.

He entered Gallaudet College in 1951 and graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Upon graduation, he married Beatrice Smith, an ASD 1951 graduate, and they had four children. In 1956 he started his career at the American School for the Deaf, where he taught in the woodworking shop, machine shop, and print shop for 26 years. He retired in 1983. On November 25, 1967, he married Shirley Szpakowski, a 1962 ASD graduated, and they had two children.

Tom was a man of many interests and volunteered as a boys’ counselor and assistant coach in football, basketball, and baseball. He also served as a bus driver, assistant photographer, and scouting assistant.

However, his real love was football, and he was a Junior Varsity and Pony football coach. He developed a powerhouse team where his team won eight straight winning games in the ’60s. During the summer, Tom worked as a carpenter and cabinet maker. He was the only Deaf employee working part-time repairing and restoring the school buildings.

While he worked on many projects in his life, Tom was especially proud of four projects.

In 1972, he taught his ASD students how to build a press box with floor joists, wall studs, headers, roof rafters, door, window frames, wall sheeting, and roofing after the Southern New England Telephone donated old telephone poles.

Second, in 1977, Tom helped the Class of 1977 students build a tall wood Paris Eiffel tower for the “Evening in Paris” Junior Prom.

Third, in 1986, he was one of the volunteer workers, including ASD staff members, parents, and alumni members and the local Jaycees chapter who constructed the Gionfriddo playscape playground to honor a teacher’s memory, Kim Marie Gionfriddo, who was tragically killed in a car accident.

Fourth, in 1983 after his retirement, the Pastor for the United Pentecostal Church pastor selected him to be the head contractor to construct a new addition. He supervised ten carpenters, and the project took 1½ years.

He was a member of the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf. He spent a lot of time for the New England Athletic Association of the Deaf (NEAAD) as a softball and basketball player. He was a delegate for several years. He was president for 11 years (1965-1968 and 1978- 1986 and vice president of NEAAD for two terms (1964-1965 & 1978-1979). He was the emeritus leader in the Hall of Fame in 1988.

Well known for his big heart and humorous storytelling, Tom retired after a long and varied career at ASD in June 1983. He and Shirley lived for many years in Granby, Connecticut, and recently moved to Bolton, Massachusetts, to be with their daughter and son-in-law.

 

Dillingham, Abigil

Abigil Dillingham

Left in 1821                  

Student #4

 

First Deaf American-Born Female Teacher

Abigail Dillingham was born in Lee, Massachusetts, on February 25, 1786, the daughter of Major Nathan Dillingham and Rebecca Fessenden. Her father, Nathan, was a major in the War of 1812 and a farmer as well as a merchant. She was the fourth deaf pupil to enroll at the Connecticut Asylum on April 16, 1817, at the age of thirty-one and graduated in 1821.

 

When Laurent Clerc was hired to serve temporarily as principal at the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb (PIDD), the third deaf school in the country in 1821, he brought Abigail with him and thus, she became the first deaf American-born female teacher in America.  She taught at the Pennsylvania Institution for two years.  Her hearing brother, Charles Dillingham, who learned sign language from Laurent Clerc, also taught at PIDD and served as an interpreter.  At PIDD, Abigail and her brother taught two students, John Carlin and Albert Newsam, who became well-known artists.

 

In addition to her brother, Charles, Abigail had a deaf sister, Nancy Dillingham, also a Connecticut Asylum student who eventually became an assistant matron at the school.

 

Abigail died on September 17, 1824, at the age of thirty-eight. She is buried at the Pittsfield Cemetery in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

 

Note of Interest:  Abigail’s nephew, her brother Charles’ son, William H. Dillingham, married a former PIDD student, Martha Heston.  William was appointed superintendent of the Pennsylvania Institution of the Deaf and Dumb in 1823 and served as the Board Director from 1848 to 1855.

Dillingham, Nancy (F/S)

Nancy Dillingham

Left Asylum in 1825

Student #64

 

Assistant Matron, 1841-1874

Photo Faculty, 1869: Mary Mann, Mrs. Cierc, Mrs. White, Nancy Dillingham, Margaret Greenlaw. Second row: Mabel Bartlett, Mrs. Cady, Clara Seavrus, Sarah Storrs, Mary Haskell

 

Nancy Dillingham was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on April 26, 1802, the daughter of Major Nathan Dillingham and Rebecca Fessenden.  She had a deaf sister, Abigail Dillingham, and a hearing brother, Charles, who learned sign language at the American Asylum under Laurent Clerc.

 

She attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1819 and left in 1825.

 

Nancy served as an assistant matron at the American Asylum for 33 years.  She died on May 27, 1874, of pneumonia, after a brief illness, at the age of seventy-two.  Upon her death, the following obituary resolution was adopted:  “Her uniform, cheerful, assiduous, faithful and diligent discharge of her duties, together with her agreeable, social, Christian character had gained for her the abundant respect and affectionate, grateful remembrance of her associates.” 

 

She is buried at the Pittsfield Cemetery in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

 

Draper, Amos Galusha

Amos Galusha Draper

Left Asylum in 1862

Student #1418

 

Second Deaf Professor in the World

Amos Galusha Draper was born in Shaftsbury, Vermont, on October 24, 1845, the son of Jonathan Draper and Philena Galusha. He became deaf from severe fever exposure at the age of nine. He entered the American Asylum at age fourteen in 1860 and left two years later to move to Danville, Illinois, with his parents.

 

He worked as a printer in the town newspaper in Danville, Illinois, and later on began to write articles for that paper. In 1866, he and his parents moved to Aurora, Illinois. Amos continued printing work there until he learned from a friend, Henry Winter Syle, that Edward Miner Gallaudet had established a new school, the National Deaf-Mute College in Washington, D.C. He decided to enter the college in 1868. Amos was the secretary of his senior class and graduated in 1872 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He received a Master of Arts degree in 1877 and an Honorary Doctorate in 1904 at the National Deaf-Mute College.

 

After graduation, Amos toured Europe and then taught at the National-Deaf Mute College, becoming the second Deaf professor in the world. He taught Latin and mathematics at the college for over forty years.

 

He married a hearing woman, Luella Bartlett Bell Merrill, on June 16, 1879, in Washington, D.C. They had two children, Constance (Draper) Howard and Ernest G. Draper. His wife, Luella, was a direct descendant of Josiah Bartlett, the second signer of the Declaration of Independence after John Hancock.

 

Amos was the treasurer of the Gallaudet Memorial (statue) fund, President of the Gallaudet Alumni Association in 1893, and Secretary of the Faculty from 1888 to 1937. He wrote numerous articles published by the American Annals for the Deaf.

 

He passed away in Washington, D.C., on October 16, 1917, shortly after Dr. Edward Miner Gallaudet’s death in Hartford, Connecticut, on September 26, 1917. Amos is buried at the Grandview Cemetery in Bennington, Vermont. Draper Drive on the Gallaudet University campus is named after him.

 

 

E

Eastman, Gilbert "Gil" Charles

Gilbert “Gil” Charles Eastman

Class of 1952

Student #1576

 

Actor, Drama Professor & TV Co-Host

Gilbert Charles Eastman was born in Middletown, Connecticut, on September 12, 1934.  He entered the American School for the Deaf in 1937 and graduated in 1952.  Gil graduated from Gallaudet College in 1957 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He was the first deaf student to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in Drama from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., in 1963.  Gil founded the Department of Drama, later renamed Theatre Arts at Gallaudet University, and taught drama there from 1957 to 1992.  He was also one of the founders of the National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD) in 1967.

 

Gil was involved in the production of more than 50 plays as an actor, playwright, stage manager, translator, and director.  He wrote six plays and books, “From Mime to Sign,” “Just a Deaf Person’s Thoughts,” “Sign Me Alice,” and “Laurent Clerc A Profile.”  He was the co-author of “From Mime to Sign” with Martin Noretsky and Sharon Censoplano in 1989.

 

Along with Mary Lou Novitsky, Gil was the co-host and producer of “Deaf Mosaic,” an Emmy award-winning Gallaudet College television production that ran from 1985 to 1995.  An enormously popular TV series, it provided interesting and valuable insights into Deaf history and culture.

 

He also helped to develop the concept of Visual Gestural Communication (VGC) to explore visual communication and theatrics further.

 

Gil received an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his work on Deaf Mosaic and the Laurent Clerc Award from Gallaudet University in 1993.  He also received an honorary doctorate from Gallaudet University in 1993. He was inducted in the American School for the Deaf Hall of Fame in 2006 for excellence in leadership, success, and achievement.

 

He married June Russi, a 1956 ASD graduate and a professional actress with the NTD on June 17, 1961, in East Hartford, Connecticut.  They had two daughters, Alison and Ingrid.

 

Gil traveled to Hartford, Connecticut, in 1998, to speak at the dedication of the restored Laurent Clerc family gravestones.

 

He passed away in Bethany Beach, Delaware, on December 2, 2006, shortly after attending the ASDAA Hall of Fame Excellence induction ceremony on October 13, honoring him for his outstanding lifetime achievement.

 

Gallaudet University dedicated The Gilbert C. Eastman Studio Theatre, located in the Elstad Annex of the Elstad Auditorium in his honor in 2007.

 

 

Edwards, Josephus Berry

Josephus Berry Edwards

Class of 1840

Student #504

 

Teacher at Georgia & South Carolina Schools

Josephus Berry Edwards was born in Lexington, Georgia, on October 25, 1824, the son of William Edwards and Narcissa Weston Johnson.  He entered the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1835, at age thirteen, and graduated in 1840.

 

Josephus was one of the first teachers at the Georgia School for the Deaf in Cave Springs, Georgia, during 1849-1850 and 1858.  He was also one of the first two teachers at the South Carolina Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Blind from 1850 to 1852.

 

He married Harriet Newell Bruce, a former American Asylum student, on December 22, 1850.  They had four children, and one daughter, Emma Weston Edwards, became deaf from illness at eighteen months.

 

Josephus’s wife, Harriet, was sent to the Central State Hospital, Milledgevill, Georgia, in 1859, and she lived there for twenty-eight years until her death.

 

Josephus died on July 18, 1869, and is buried at the Edwards Place Burying Ground in Oglethorpe County, Georgia.

Emerson, John

John Emerson

Class of 1838

Student #289

 

Farmer and Nurseryman

John Emerson was born in Durham, New Hampshire, on April 12, 1815, the son of Jeremiah and Louisa Demeritt Emerson.  At age four, he became deaf by scarlet fever.  He attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb from 1829 to 1838, where he proved to be a brilliant student.

 

After graduation, he settled as a farmer at Howland near Bangor, Maine, where he became a nurseryman and seedman.  The 1850 Census of Howland, Penobscot County, Maine lists him in the household of Samuel and Emily Richardson as aged thirty-five and a farmer and nurseryman.  He mainly grew crops of corn and apples.

 

He represented the State of Maine as the manager of the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf-Mutes from 1854 to 1860.  He also wrote “A Story Essay on Progression” in the American Annals of the Deaf.

 

John recovered most of his hearing after being deaf for thirty years.  At age seventy-six, John Emerson died on February 8, 1892, at Howland and likely interred in the Emerson-Mushero Cemetery in Howland, where his brother Moses Emerson and two sisters, Lydia and Sarah, are also buried. His gravestone has not been found as he probably never had one. 

Erbe, Herman Robert

Herman Robert Erbe

Class of 1873

Student #1653

 

Herman Robert Erbe was born in Southington, Connecticut, on January 10, 1856, the son of William and Barbary M. Erbe, who came to America from Hesse-Kassel, Electorate of Hesse, Prussia.  At age five, he lost his hearing due to a fall.  In 1865 he was admitted to the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb.

 

While he was a student, he wrote a composition titled “How I lose my Hearing” in 1873. In this composition, he wrote the following:

But when anybody tells me that he is sorry because I am deaf and dumb boy, I am not so sorry because I think that I am as smart as a speaking boy.

 

He attended Gallaudet College, now Gallaudet University, from 1877-1779.  Upon completion of his studies, he settled in Waterbury, Connecticut, where he married Mary Annie Brooks on October 14, 1886.  She was partially deaf and known as “Polly.”  There he got a job as a mechanic in the Waterbury Clock Factory in 1890.

 

From 1890-1892, he was a state manager and member of the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf-Mutes.

 

Herman R. Erbe died on January 30, 1940, and was buried at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Southington, Connecticut, beside his wife, Mary.

F

Fancher, Harry T.

Harry T. Fancher

Class of 1897

Student #2521

 

Harry T. Fancher was born on October 7, 1881, the son of George E. and Eleanor E. Fancher. He became deaf from scarlet fever at the age of eleven. 

 

He entered the American School for the Deaf (Old Hartford) in 1892 and graduated at the head of his class in 1897. He could not afford to go to Gallaudet College, so instead went to night school.

 

During World War I, mainly due to his exemplary work at the New Departure factory in Bristol, Connecticut, Harry was able to bring in 70 Deaf people to replace employees who had been drafted and became the foreman for 125 workers.  After ten years, he began work as a tool and die maker for the New Britain Machine Co., staying for the next thirty years.

 

He was a member of the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf (NFSD) for 55 years and president of the Hartford division for several years.  The Grand President of NFSD recognized his efforts to save members from dropping out due to financial difficulties. He was also chairman of the board of trustees and took an active part in the division for many years.

 

Harry was also a charter member of the American School for the Deaf Alumni Association (ASDAA) and played an integral part in forming the Connecticut Association of the Deaf in 1939. He was also a member of the Hartford Club of the Deaf.

 

He was married to the former Elizabeth Weis, an ASD ’98 graduate, who passed away in 1945. They had a daughter, Elvira.

 

Before his death, Harry pledged his temporal bones to the research program on deafness and his body to the Yale Medical School for scientific purposes.

 

He died on January 6, 1965, after a long illness at his home. He was a person the Deaf community was proud to call their own, and someone who strove for the best for the Deaf.

Farquhar, Hugh David (F/S)

Hugh David Farquhar

Class of 1960

Student #4271

Hugh D. Farquhar was born in Montreal, Canada.  His parents sent him to the Mackey School for the Deaf in Montreal, Quebec, where he was the ice hockey goalie.

 

He attended the American School for the Deaf in 1955 and graduated in 1960. He participated in football, wrestling, basketball, and baseball. The football team’s record was 6-1-1 in 1959, and the basketball team won the championship at the Eastern States Deaf School Basketball tournament in 1960.

Hugh attended Gallaudet College for a short time and went back to Connecticut to work at ASD as a Machine Shop Instructor for many years and a Media Specialist.

He became the first certified deaf archery instructor and taught archery at Camp Isola Bella for many years. 

He also coached wrestling for 9 years, football for 9 years and girls’ softball in 1979. The girls’ softball team won all 8 games that year.

Hugh was also the Isola Bella bus driver and Camp Director from 1983 to 1985.  He served as a mentor, training many Isola Bella staff members and campers over the years.

He served as an official referee for volleyball tournaments at deaf schools.

He is married to Anita Pasek, who also taught at ASD. They have two daughters, Amie and Katrina. He also has a son, Scott, from a previous marriage and a grandson, Oynx.

Hugh is known and beloved by many students at ASD for his big heart.  He is always quick to assist and frequently volunteers for the deaf community utilizing his expertise in different areas, including media and archery.  During his free time, he enjoys golfing.  Hugh is a true gentleman with a warm and caring personality.

The ASD Executive Director, Jeff Bravin, presented the NAD Handwave Award to Hugh Farquhar in 2014.  





Fish, Ruth Jeannette (m. Clarke) (F/S)

Ruth Jeannette Fish (m. Clarke)

Class of 1928

Student #3311

 

Ruth Jeannette Fish was born in New York City, NY on November 3, 1907. She lost her hearing in infancy.  She attended the Lexington School for the Deaf and at age 14, her family moved to Connecticut.  She enrolled at the American School for the Deaf, graduating in 1928.

 

She attended Gallaudet College and graduated in 1933.  While pursuing post graduate work at Gallaudet, she taught sewing at the Kendall School for the Deaf (now Model Secondary School for the Deaf).  She returned to Connecticut and taught typing and business methods.  She also served as a Girl Scout leader and an advisor/director of plays for the Girls Athletic Association.

 

She was the first deaf woman to earn a driver’s license in Connecticut but because of her petite stature, her license specified that she could not drive a Dodge or any other heavy cars.

 

Ruth married her college sweetheart, Gordon Clarke of North Dakota in 1935, and they had a son, Gordon Clarke, Jr.  After a year in New York, they moved to Connecticut and Ruth devoted the next ten years to her family.  She returned to teaching sewing at ASD from 1943 to 1972.  She was also the first deaf librarian in ASD history.  Ruth was known for being innovative in her teaching, introducing the first sewing class for boys and typing.

 

Ruth was involved in numerous organizations and served a term as president of the Gallaudet College Alumni Association, Connecticut Chapter.  She was an active member of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Mission for the Deaf of Greater Hartford for many years.  She was a life member of the ASD Alumni Association (ASDAA) and a treasurer at one time.  She was also a life member of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the Golden Emblem Club of the National Council of Organizations Serving the Deaf, and the Connecticut Council of Organizations Serving the Deaf. 

 

One unique experience Ruth had during her lifetime was attending a girls’ camp in New Hampshire where she excelled in swimming and diving in competition with hearing girls.  While at camp she met Helen Keller who gave her an autographed photo.  Another unique experience was spotting a flicker of flame under the big top at a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and quickly walking out with her son.  The Hartford Circus Fire turned out to be one of the worst fire tragedies in U.S. History which killed over 160 people and injured more than 700. 

 

Ruth was always a gracious host and loved entertaining friends from all over the country at her home.  Among her many guests was Dr. Elizabeth Peet, beloved dean of women at Gallaudet College.  She and Gordon had been married for 66 years when he passed away at home on January 19, 2002.  Ruth died at the New England Home for the Deaf in Danvers, MA on November 22, 2003.

 

Class of 1926: Mary Levine, Margaret, Houlihan, Ruth Fish, Susanna Salick,  Back Row: Max Friedman, Frank Gulluzzo

 

 

 

 

 

Fisher, Ellen Goodwin Newcomb

Ellen Goodwin Newcomb (m. Fisher)

See  Newcomb, Ellen Goodwin (m. Fisher)

Fisher, James Jr.

James Fisher, Jr.

Class of 1832

Student #252

 

Teacher & Bladesmith  for the Confederate

James Fisher, Jr. was born in West Brunswick, England, on June 6, 1815, the son of James Fisher, Sr. and Mary Virginia Parish. While on a sea voyage, he took ill with a painful earache that was never adequately treated and became deaf.

 

James attended the American Asylum for the Deaf in 1828 and graduated in 1832.

 

James married Ellen Goodwin Newcomb of Sandwich, Massachusetts, on November 3, 1840. Ellen graduated from the American Asylum in 1837 and had two deaf sisters and two brothers who also attended the American Asylum. 

 

He was a teacher/librarian at the Tennessee School for the Deaf in Knoxville, Tennessee, from 1856 to 1861. When he and his wife were brought to Georgia by the fourth Superintendent of the Georgia School for the Deaf, who reopened the school at the end of the Civil War, James became a valued teacher in the Georgia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb for twenty years. During the Civil War, he forged swords for the Confederacy in Atlanta and Richmond. 

 

He died in Brunswick, Georgia, on February 10, 1890, at age seventy-four. 

Fowler, Sophia

Sophia Fowler (m. Gallaudet)

Left Asylum in 1821

Student #15

 

Married Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet

Sophia Fowler was born deaf near Guilford, Connecticut, on March 20, 1798, and grew up in Guilford.  She was the daughter of Miner* Fowler and Rachel Hall.  She had a deaf sister, four hearing brothers, and a deaf cousin, Ward Fowler.  Her grandfather, Noah Fowler, was a Minutemen captain who marched in the Lexington Alarm, the first battle of the Revolutionary War, to the relief of Boston, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1775. 

 

When Sophia was nineteen, her parents learned that a school for the deaf had been founded in Hartford, Connecticut.  They sent her and her twenty-nine-year-old sister Parnell to the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons on May 7,1817.  As a student, Sophia was considered charming and intelligent.

 

She stayed at the school for four years.  Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet fell in love with her and asked her to marry him.  On August 29,1821, after she left the Connecticut Asylum in the spring of 1821, they got married. They had eight children, all hearing.  Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet died in 1851, leaving her to care for their children who were still living at home.

 

In 1857, Sophia F. Gallaudet’s youngest son, Edward Miner Gallaudet, at age twenty, became the founding principal of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Blind in Washington, D.C.  In 1864, he became the first president of the National Deaf-Mutes College, now Gallaudet University, when the U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill to establish a college for the deaf.  Sophia F. Gallaudet shared her son’s dream of creating a college for the deaf and often met with members of Congress to gain support and obtain funds to establish the college.

 

Sophia served as matron of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf, now known as Kendall Demonstration School and Gallaudet University, for nine years.  She was also the head of the department that taught home maintenance skills such as cooking and sewing for two years.  She was beloved by the students and retired when her health began to fail. 

 

Her eldest son, The Rev. Thomas Gallaudet, devoted his life to religious work among the deaf.

 

Edward Miner Gallaudet named a building at Gallaudet College, which was initially a women’s dormitory, Fowler Hall, in his mother’s honor in 1862.

 

Sophia died of a stroke on May 13, 1877, at age seventy-eight.  She is buried along with the Gallaudet family in the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut.

 

*Her son, Edwin Miner Gallaudet got his middle name from her father’s first name.

 

On July 6, 1917, The Sophia Fowler Gallaudet Memorial Tablet was unveiled in Guilford, CT, during the convention of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). The tablet is in bronze and was executed by Elmir Eugene Hannan1, the enterprising Deaf Sculptor of Washington, D.C. The boulder was the gift of Wallace Gallaudet Fowler, a nephew of Mrs. Gallaudet, past eighty years of age, and the money for the bronze plate was raised mostly by the ladies of the United States.2

 

 

About twenty people made the fifty-mile trip from Hartford, CT, to the birthplace of Sophia Fowler Gallaudet, the wife of late Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, near Guilford, CT., on Friday, July 6, 1917, to attend and participate in the unveiling of the Sophia Fowler Gallaudet Memorial Tablet, erected by the Deaf women of the United States. Mrs. Susie Cornelia (Benedict) Bryant, who started the movement and did most of the work in connection with the making and placing of the tablet, came from Indian Neck, CT, with her daughter Beatrice and others, to attend the ceremony. They collected $400.00 and completed the work in 1917. The old house, in which Sophia Fowler was born and raised, was also the home of the late Wallace G. Fowler, formerly steward of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf.

 

 

On May 1, 1918, Gallaudet College named the new building “Sophia Fowler Hall” in honor of Sophia Fowler Gallaudet. She was the first deaf matron of Columbia Institution for the Deaf in 1857.

Friedman, Max (F/S)

Max Friedman

Class of 1926

Student #3212

 

A Life of Service

Max Friedman was born in Ovritch, Russia, on December 4, 1908.  He attended the American School for the Deaf and graduated in 1926 at age seventeen as the valedictorian.  He graduated from Gallaudet College in 1931 with a Bachelor of Science degree. 

 

Returning to his alma mater, he worked first as a dormitory supervisor and then a physical education teacher at the American School for the Deaf from 1931 to 1938.  He was also an assistant coach for one of ASD’s best football teams in 1937.

 

Max moved to New York and taught general science at the New York School for the Deaf (Fanwood) in White Plains, New York, from 1938 to 1948.  He taught Bernard Bragg, a renowned mime and co-founder of the National Theatre of the Deaf, who later in his career acknowledged Max as one of those teachers who helped to develop his skills.

 

During his ten years at Fanwood, he coached football and basketball and was named the “Coach of the Year” by Art Kruger for leading the 1940 football to a perfect winning record.

 

Max joined the printing staff of the New York Times and remained there until his retirement.  He served as a mark-up supervisor in the advertising department.

 

He married Frances D. Macon on December 16, 1939, in Bronx, New York City.  They had two children, one of whom worked at Fanwood as a library assistant.

 

Max was the co-editor of the Alumni Bulletin for the Gallaudet College Alumni Association and served also as a vice president.  He served as the Tour Director of the Ninth International Games for the Deaf in Helsinki, Finland in 1964.

 

He was the chairman of the National Congress of Jewish Deaf convention held in New York City in August 1964 and was one of the founders of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.  He was also on the Board of Directors for the Council of Organizations Serving the Deaf and served on several committees with the National Association of the Deaf.

 

Max was the editor of the Empire State News and edited the book, “The Law and the Deaf” written by Lowell Myers and wrote numerous articles for the American Annals of the Deaf and in various deaf publications.

 

He also participated in several conferences that preceded the establishment of the Captioned Films for the Deaf.

 

Max was appointed to serve on the Advisory Council of the New York State Psychiatric Institute to Literate Deaf and the State Temporary Commission to Study the Problems of the Deaf.  He was honored for distinguished and unselfish efforts for the welfare of the deaf, by the Civic Association of the Deaf of New York City in 1966.

 

He was well known as a sports writer and leader of the American Athletic Association of the Deaf (AAAD).  He served as the secretary and treasurer of the AAAD for four years and president for two terms.  He was inducted in the AAAD Hall of Fame in 1967, and also received the 1981 Eastern Athletic Association of the Deaf, Inc. (EAAD) Hall of Fame honor as a sportswriter and leader. 

 

Max died on January 23, 1991.

 

Class of 1926: Mary Levine, Margaret, Houlihan, Ruth Fish, Susanna Salick,  Back Row: Max Friedman, Frank Gulluzzo

 

 

Frisbee, Edwin Wellington

Edwin Wellington Frisbee

Class of 1873

Student #1671

 

Community Leader

Edwin Wellington Frisbee was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on February 26, 1856.  He was the son of John L. and Lucinda F. Frisbee.  His father, John, was a well known naval architect and instructor at the evening school for the City of Boston.  Edwin lost his hearing from a fall at the age of eleven months.

 

He entered the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1866 and graduated in 1873.  He attended Gallaudet College and graduated in 1879.  He worked as a boat builder, assisting his father at the Uncle Sam Model Shop, Navy Yard.

 

Edwin was a member of the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf (NEGA) for many years.  At age thirty-four, he became the youngest president of the NEGA in 1890 and a treasurer in 1910.

 

He also assisted the Deaf missionary, Rev. George H. Hefflon, in serving the Deaf people of the Boston and Northern New England vicinity.  He served the Episcopal mission as a deaf licensed lay reader for many years. He was also president of the Gallaudet Society for Deaf-Mutes and of the Bay State Christian Mission.

 

He married Jane Payson Leach of New York City.  Jane graduated from the New York Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in 1872.  He later remarried to a Deafblind woman, Cora Crocker.

 

Edwin was secretary of the jubilee in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rev. Thomas H. Gallaudet at the historic Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 9-10, 1887.  He was also a delegate at the International Congress of Deaf-Mutes in Paris, France, in July 1889.

 

He died in Wrentham, Massachusetts, on March 8, 1937.

Fronczek, Anna Marie Marino

Anna Marie Marino (m. Fronczek)

See  Marino, Anna Marie (m. Fronczek)

Fuller, Augustus

Augustus Fuller

Class of 1828

Student #131

 

Augustus Fuller was born in Brighton, Massachusetts, on December 9, 1812, the son of Aaron Fuller (1786-1859) and Elizabeth (Hill) Fuller (1786-1818), who became deaf at an early age. By 1820, Aaron Fuller remarried to Frances (“Fanny”) Negus (1799-1845), and the Fuller family moved to Deerfield, Massachusetts, where he spent his early childhood. Augustus had an older brother, Aaron Fuller, Jr. (born 1809), who was also deaf, and was sent to the American Asylum for the Deaf & Dumb in 1818, and remained there until 1820. In 1824, Augustus was sent to the same institution, and remained there until 1828.

 

As a talented and budding artist, he studied painting for a short time with the famed portrait artist, Chester Harding (1792-1866), in Boston, and he followed the profession of “itinerant” portrait painters all his life. He did most of his work, mainly in Massachusetts, western New York, New Hampshire and Vermont during the 1830-60’s and made a good living by charging $10.00 per painting. He was assisted by his younger half-brother, George Fuller (1822-1884), who was also a portrait, landscape, and figure painter. During this time frame (1840), Augustus did a pair of fine portraits of Edwards W. Denny (1810-1865) and his wife, Elizabeth (Stone) Denny (1811-1899), who were also deaf and had attended the American Asylum for the Deaf & Dumb. Their portraits are now in the Worcester Historical Museum, in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

 

 

Portraits of Edwards Denny and his wife, Elizabeth (Stone) Denny by Augustus Fuller (1840)

 

Drawing of August Fuller by George Fuller, 1841 

 

Watercolor on paper of Mary Ella Childs with a doll, c. 1863

 

The 1855 State Census of Massachusetts, in the town of Deerfield lists Augustus Fuller as aged 40, painter by occupation, and deaf & dumb, and living in his father’s household. Plagued with bouts of alcoholism, Augustus Fuller returned to the family farm in Deerfield, where he died of consumption (tuberculosis) on August 13, 1873, in his 61st year. He was buried in the Fuller plot in Laurel Hill Cemetery.  

 

His aunt Caroline Negus spoke of him as “I often think of him and dwell on those old days when he was as gay and graceful as a fawn and when he was admired by all to be the most fascinating of boys. I will never cease to regret his being deaf & dumb.”

 

Painting of Frances (“Fanny”) ( Negus) Fuller and her twin sons, Francis B. and John E. Fuller, c. 1839. She was the step-mother of Augustus Fuller. 

 

Fuller Family Monument in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Deerfield, Mass.

G

Gallaudet, Sophia Fowler

Sophia Fowler (m. Gallaudet)

See  Fowler, Sophia (m. Gallaudet)

Garcia, Lillian Marie (m. Peterkin)

Lillian Marie Garcia (m. Peterkin)

Class of 1981

Student #4802

Community Advocate & Leader

Lillian Marie Garcia was born in Puerto Rico on December 25, 1961. When she was four years old, her parents moved with her and her deaf sister, Nora, to New Haven, Connecticut.

She graduated from the American School for the Deaf in 1981. She was the president of her freshman and sophomore class and the Student Body Government.  She played varsity volleyball for four years and was the ASD football cheerleader for three years. She was an ASD Homecoming princess.

She earned a Bachelor’s degree in ASL/English Interpreting from Northeastern University in 2001. 

Lillian served as a coordinator of interpreting services in Massachusetts and Connecticut for over twenty years.  She was a strong advocate, community leader, Deaf Relay interpreter, and teacher for interpreters and consumers.  She presented numerous training to deaf community members and interpreters on topics such as medical interpreting, deaf interpreting, and consumers’ rights to interpreting services all over the United States. She served as the Communication & Outreach Coordinator of the National Interpreter Education Center (NIEC).

She pioneered the Deaf AIDS Project at D.E.A.F., Inc. Allston, Massachusetts, in 1992, and served as an AIDS Project Coordinator.  She had a significant influence upon the Boston community when AIDS was rampant, and she was instrumental in setting up a support group, Deaf AIDS Working Network (DAWN) and the Boston Latino Deaf Association.

She was the co-chairperson of the first National Hispanic Council of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Conference at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1994.

She married a hearing man, David V. Peterkin, and they had two daughters, Sonia and Kamala.

Lillian died at Connecticut Hospice after a long illness on March 20, 2016.

Gilbert, Mary

Mary Gilbert

Left Asylum in 1821

Student #12

Mary Gilbert was born deaf in Hebron, Connecticut, on May 14, 1796.  She was the daughter of Sylvester Gilbert and Patience Barber. She had three deaf brothers, Samuel, William and Lewis, and a deaf sister, Clarissa.

She attended the Connecticut Asylum in 1817 in its first year.  Her siblings were not able to attend school because they were overage.  She remained until 1821.

Her father, Hon. Sylvester Gilbert was a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives (1780-1812), Connecticut State attorney for Tolland County (1786-1807), a member of the Connecticut State Senate, (1815-16) and chief judge of the county court (1807-18).  He was a good friend of Dr. Mason F. Cogswell and together they worked to create a census of deaf people in Connecticut.

Mary died in Hebron, Connecticut, on April 5, 1867, and is buried at the Andover Road Cemetery in Hebron.

Gilliam, Judith "Judie" Eileen Ann Mezzanotte

Judith “Judie” Eileen Ann Mezzanotte (m. Gilliam)

See  Mezzanotte, Judith “Judie” Eileen Ann (m. Gilliam)

Goldsmith, William Humphrey

William Humphrey Goldsmith

Class of 1861

Student #1188

Book Binder

William Humphrey Goldsmith was born deaf in Chelsea, Massachusetts, on May 9, 1846. 

He was the son of Seth Goldsmith and Jane Maria Goldsmith. His deaf sister, Eliza M. Goldsmith was a graduate of ASD in 1859. He also had a deaf brother, Benjamin M. Goldsmith. 

He attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1854 and graduated in 1861. 

William worked as a bookbinder at the Houghton V. Mifflin Company and completed fifty years of good and faithful service. He received a gold Waltham watch from the firm, a gold chain, and locket from the male employees and a bouquet from the female employees

He married Anna Gilmore Callander in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 18, 1871. They had a hearing daughter, Emily. Anna was a graduate of the asylum in 1863. Anna’s deaf brother, Arthur E. Callander, was educated at ASD for two years (1869-1871).

William was a member of the Boston Deaf-Mute Christian Association in 1868. 

He wrote some letters to Alexander Graham Bell and his letter dated August 5, 1871, was kept among the Bell Family Papers at the Library of Congress.

William died on February 25, 1929, in Arlington, Massachusetts.  

Golebiewski, Patricia "Patty" Ann Walker

Patricia “Patty” Ann Walker (m. Golebiewski) 

See  Walker, Patricia  “Patty” Ann (m. Golebiewski)

Gower, Lois Jean (m. Morin)

Lois Jean Gower (m. Morin)

Class of 1961

Student #15

A Life of Achievement

Lois Jean Gower was born in Westbrook, Maine, and graduated from Governor Baxter School for the Deaf (GBSD – formerly Maine School for the Deaf) In Falmouth, Maine, in 1959. She then attended the American School for the Deaf and graduated in 1961. She graduated from Gallaudet University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1966, majoring in mathematics and minoring in education.

At Gallaudet, she served as assistant secretary of the Department of Drama at Gallaudet University from 1966 to 1969. She was a mathematics tutor for the Preparatory students from 1968 to 1969.

Returning to Maine, she was a high school math teacher in GBSD from1969 to 1994 and taught ASL at Falmouth High School for two years (1993-1994). While at GBSD, she was involved in the Math Bowl at ASD for several years and her team won the championship in 1986 and 1988.

Lois worked for Pine Tree Society Interpreting Services in Scarborough, Maine.  She was the referral specialist and Deaf Interpreter with Reverse Skills Certification from 1994 to 2008 and served as the Video Relay Interpreting (VRI) Coordinator for three years. She retired on June 20, 2008, and is currently a freelance Certified Deaf Interpreter.

Lois was an active member of the Maine Association of the Deaf and served as President, Secretary, and Treasurer. She was the chairperson of Maine Deaf Pageant in 1986, 1988, and 1990, and Chaperone for Miss Deaf America from 1988 to 1990.

She was the secretary of Maine Alumni Association of the Deaf and co-chairperson of 135th Anniversary of GBSD (2010-2011)

She was a member of the Maine Deaf Senior Citizens and Maine Recreation Association of the Deaf. She was also the chairperson of Maine Deaf Timberfest from 2009 to 2011.

Lois is active in the Maine Registry of Interpreters. She serves on advisory councils with the Division of Deafness in Maine and Telecommunications Relay Services.

Among her numerous activities, she worked on the annual Maine TTY directory for 15 years and taught language and culture to Peruvian Deaf/Hard of Hearing children in Lima, Peru, South America in January 2010.

Lois married Dominique Morin of Sanford, Maine, on August 30, 1969, and they have two sons, Gabriel and Danny.  Dominique Morin passed away on October 18, 1994, in Bridgton, Maine.

Her awards include:

Recognition of her dedicated service to GBSD for 22 years by students, staff, parents and community members of GBSD, special recognition for her work with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Citizens by Division of Deafness and Advisory Committee, Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation

An Honorary Lifetime Membership for her outstanding leadership and dedicated service interpreting for Deaf and Hearing Citizens in Maine by Maine RID, promoting the Empowerment of Deaf People by the Deaf Community of Maine

Appreciation for dedicated service to Greater Portland Club of the Deaf by GPCD; The Maine Telecommunications Relay Services Advisory Council for Association in making Universal Telecommunications Services a Reality for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Speech-Impaired Citizens in the state of Maine by AT&T

Recognition of her valuable support and collaboration for the benefit of the Deaf Community in Peru by Scripture Union of Peru and Senales Program for the Deaf 2013 Clifton F. Rodgers Award A Lifetime Achievement Award.

Greene, Samuel Thomas 

Samuel Thomas Greene

Class of 1862

Student #1227

Ontario, Canada’s First Deaf Teacher

Samuel Thomas Greene was born in North Waterford, Maine, on June 11, 1843, to Captain Jacob Holt Green and Sarah Walker Frye. He entered the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1855, at age twelve. Two years later he was expelled due to his penchant for mischief. His parents begged the new headmaster to take him back, and Samuel returned almost four years later graduating with top honors in 1866. His deaf sister, Sarah Abbott (Greene) Bailey, and deaf cousin, Melville Ballard, were also graduates of the Asylum.

While at the Asylum, Samuel and another student made a steward’s desk that to this day has never been refinished. It has the boys’ original label affixed inside and is on display in the Cogswell Heritage House.

After graduating from the Asylum, he enrolled at the National Deaf-Mute College, Washington, D.C., in 1866. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1870 with four other graduates and they were the second congregation to graduate from the college.  Samuel delivered a speech on his graduation day, “The Law of Limitation in National Life.”

Samuel worked at the American Asylum as an assistant teacher before he moved to Belleville, Ontario, to become the first Deaf teacher at the newly opened Sir James Whitney School of the Deaf in 1870.  He taught there for twenty years (1870 – 1890).  He believed strongly in the bilingual education philosophy and wrote a book, The Proper Mode of Teaching New Pupils.  He was highly regarded as a teacher.

He married Caroline Campbell Howard of Buffalo, New York, on April 9, 1871, and they had four children, all hearing. 

He was one of the founding fathers and first president of the Ontario Deaf-Mute Association (now known as the Ontario Association of the Deaf) in 1886.

Samuel was seriously injured in an ice-yachting accident and died two weeks later on February 17, 1890, at age forty-seven. He was an avid yachtsman who frequently took his students, staff members, and friends on sails. He was buried at the Belleville Cemetery in Ontario, Canada. A tombstone with his surname engraved in ASL fingerspelling was erected as a tribute to his work as a teacher of the deaf.  A street in Belleville’s west end is named Greene Street in his honor.

A street in Belleville’s west end is named Greene Street in his honor.

Samuel Thomas Greene’s burial monument in Belleville Cemetery

The fingerspelling of his surname, Greene, on the base of his burial monument.

Built by Samuel T. Greene as a Student at the Asylum

Photographed by Mark Hughey

Notes of Interest:

Samuel T. Greene’s relatives included pioneers in the New England wilderness and soldiers in the American

Revolution and the Civil War. His great-grandfather, Lieutenant Thomas Green was in active service for several years in the northern army under General Gates and General Washington. He was distinguished for gallantry at Saratoga.

Lt. Thomas Green and his former wife, Lydia Kilbourne lived in Rowley, Massachusetts. Lydia’s great uncle,

George Kilbourse had a Deaf son, Isaac Kilbourne. Isaac was the earliest Deaf person to receive an education in the Western Hemisphere when Rev. Philip Nelson, a hearing priest taught speech to Isaac in the church in Rowley, Massachusetts in 1679.

Grzybek, Alexandra "Sandra" (m. McGee)

Alexandra “Sandra” Maria Grzybek (m. McGee)

Class of 1973

Student #5201

Active Volunteer

Alexandra “Sandra” Maria Grzybek (m. McGee) was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on April 28, 1954, the daughter of Joseph and Adele Grzybek. She attended the Mystic Oral School for the Deaf, graduating from the 8th grade in 1970. She then enrolled at the American School for the Deaf and graduated in 1973. While a student at ASD, Sandra was a cheerleader for football and basketball games.

She attended the National Technical Institute of the Deaf in Rochester, New York, and graduated in 1977. Upon graduation, she married Peter McGee, a ’62 ASD alumnus. Sandra worked for a bank doing investor reporting in Bridgeport, Connecticut, for 5 1/2 years and for the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch in Hartford as a finance administrator for 28 1/2 years.

Sandra was a long-serving president of ASDAA for eighteen years (1995 – 2013) and president of the Connecticut Council of Organizations for the Deaf (CCSOD) for eight years. She is currently an ASDAA Board Member and the Director of Community Outreach for ASDAA. She also has been a treasurer for the Connecticut Association for the Deaf (CAD) since 2019.

She was on the ASD Board of Directors for eighteen years and then on the ASD Corporate Board for three years. She’s currently back on the ASD Board of Directors.

She was also a member of the United States Deaf Skiers Association of the Deaf and the Connecticut Ski Club of the Deaf.

Sandra is retired and stays active and involved in the Deaf community. She enjoys volunteering for various Deaf organizations. Recently she volunteered at Camp Isola Bella for 1 ½ month. She considers volunteering fun.

She was honored with the CAD Golden Hand award in 2017 and the CAD President’s Award in 2021. In her spare time, she plays pickleball and goes snowshoeing in the winter. Walking is also a favorite pastime. She resides in Berlin, Connecticut, with her husband, Peter.

Gutfran, Philip Edward

Philip Edward Gutfran

Class of 1960

Student #3904

First Deaf Person on the ASD Board of Directors

Philip Gutfran was born in Simsbury, Connecticut, on April 23, 1941, to Edward F. Gutfran and Berne (“Bessie”) Sodoski.  He graduated from the American School for the Deaf in 1960. After graduation, he went to Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University) in Washington, D.C. and received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting in 1965. His professional career began in Washington, D.C. with the Federal Trade Commission where he served as an auditor for seven years.

He moved to Hartford, Connecticut in 1973, when he accepted a position with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) branch in Hartford. He served as an auditor for the Defense Contract Audit Agency with Kaman Corporation in Bloomfield, Connecticut, since 1986.

Philip was a member of the Vocational Education Advisory Committee at the American School for the Deaf, the Board of Directors for the Commission on the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, and the ASD Alumni Endorsement Advisory Committee.

He became the first deaf person to serve on the ASD Board of Directors on November 2, 1988.

An avid ski enthusiast, he was a member of the United States Deaf Skiers Association and the Connecticut Ski Club of the Deaf.

He served as chairperson of a local television Captioned News Committee which was successful in lobbying WFSB-3 to caption its local evening news program.

Philip passed away in The Villages, Florida, on December 8, 2021. His remains will be interred in Simsbury, Connecticut.

H

Halberg, David Hilliard (F/S)

David Hilliard Halberg

Class of 1948

Student #3643

Teacher & Historian, 1953-2003

David Hilliard Halberg, known as Dave, was born in New Britain, Connecticut, on June 9, 1929, the son of Sven and Thelma Halberg, both of Swedish ancestry. He attended the American School for the Deaf (ASD), from 1934 to 1948 and graduated with honors. He excelled in academics and sports at ASD, and his fellow students described his most outstanding characteristic as “his cheerful willingness to help a friend.”

In 1948, he entered Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University), where he was a three-letter athlete. He was co-captain of the football team in his senior year for the Homecoming Day in 1952. In 1953, he graduated from Gallaudet College with a Bachelor of Arts degree and was elected to the National Honor Roll as an outstanding college student.

Later, he earned a Masters of Education degree from the University of Hartford.  His wife, Caroline, was also a graduate of the University of Hartford. She was a fellow teacher at ASD, and they were married on November 27, 1964, in Hartford, Connecticut. 

For 30 years, he was a math teacher and his school activities involved as an ASD Alumnus, leader, wrestling coach, counselor, scoutmaster, school photographer, and historian for over 50 years. He founded ASD’s first wrestling team in 1953 with his assistant coach, Paul Peterson, who was also a fellow teacher. His wrestling team won two national titles.

He did invaluable volunteer work in the Gallaudet-Clerc Historical Room in Gallaudet Hall, where he was the leading Historian/Archivist, as well as preserve the artifacts in the museum. He researched the history of “Amistad and ASD.”

He was co-author of “The Chain of Love” with co-author Annabelle Young in 1997.

For many years, he was a member of the American School for the Deaf Alumni Association (ASDAA), where he served as President (1962-1963, 1964-1966, and 1974-1975). Also, he served as 1st Vice President (1956-1958) and Executive Secretary (1986-1994). He received two awards of the ASDAA Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Excellence Hall of Fame in 2010.

(Left photo) David received the highest Scouter’s Award, the Silver Beaver, in 1982. (Right photo) David H. Halberg by Spencer Champlin, Chairman of District Scouters’ training committee, for his distinguished service with the youth.

He was awarded the Scoutmaster’s Key in 1959 and received the Nutmeg District Service to Scouting Award in 1961 and 1967. Also, he was a member-at-large of the Long Rivers Council, Boy Scouts of America. For over 30 years, he was involved with the scouting program at ASD and a scouter for 41 years.

Mr. Halberg was so highly regarded at ASD that October 8 in 1983 was proclaimed by the ASDAA as “David H. Halberg Day,” In 2018, he received the Golden Rose Award of National Association of the Deaf (NAD) for his distinguished service to the deaf community.

He passed away at his home on April 20, 2019, in his 90th year. He is buried at the Mount Saint Benedict Cemetery, Bloomfield, Connecticut. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Caroline Trasko Halberg, a sister Holly in Maine, and a deaf foster son, Robert Dube.

The perfect title for him would be “ASD Icon,” as he was an amazing man of many talents who was very involved in various organizations, activities, and projects. He was always cheerfully willing to help a friend or student, and always encouraging to all. The following quotation, which defines him well, by Robert Smith, is so accurate: “If there be any truer measure of a man by what he does, it must be by what he gives.”

 

Hall, Frederick "Fred" Joseph

Frederick “Fred” Joseph Hall

Class of 1979

Student #5204

The Rittenhouse Medal for Excellence Award : Excellence in Diversity, Inclusion, Employee Engagement (Individual)

Frederick Joseph Hall was born on April 18, 1958, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Frederick H. and Elizabeth M. Hall. He grew up in Burlington, Massachusetts, and as a young child, attended the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and the Boston School for the Deaf in Randolph, Massachusetts. In September 1970, Fred was admitted to the American School for the Deaf, graduating in June 1979. During his time at the American School, he learned American Sign Language (ASL). 

After graduation from high school at ASD, Frederick went to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute in Rochester, New York, in July 1979 to study Applied Arts. He received his Associate of Arts degree in May 1982.

Frederick’s first job after graduation was at Raytheon in Waltham, Massachusetts, for a few years as a graphic artist. He eventually went on to work for a small private company named The Outline, Inc. for two years before he went to Gallaudet University in 1987.

At Gallaudet University, Frederick was enrolled in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. While a student, he received two internships and graphic artist positions at the Pentagon and the U.S. Department of Transportation for a few years. He also received outstanding accomplishment awards before he transferred back to the Rochester Institute of Technology. He was named to the Dean’s List several times before obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in May 1993.

After graduating from RIT, Frederick has been employed at the U.S. Mint since July 1994 in Washington, DC, for 27 years. He received a promotion with a new title as Space Management Specialist (Computer-Aided Design) in December 2019 after receiving two Medal Awards. (See below).

Frederick has been a popular part-time ASL teacher at the Fairfax County Public School for Adult and Community Education since 1995.  

He resides in Odenton, Maryland, near Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Maryland.

The Rittenhouse Medal for Excellence Award: Excellence in Diversity, Inclusion, Employee Engagement (Individual)

Fred Hall has been fundamental in supporting the Mint’s commitment to workplace diversity and instrumental in promoting understanding and acceptance of the hearing impaired in the Mint workforce. In 2017, he taught a 13-week American Sign Language (ASL) course for all interested Mint headquarters employees. Fred’s enthusiasm fueled the class as he worked to achieve three goals for participants: to learn the history of ASL; to sign and fingerspell so they could engage in an ASL conversation; and to develop a basic understanding of Deaf Culture, which is essential for true inclusion and a key to working with the Deaf. Through Fred’s teaching, the participants understood the challenges of developing relationships in the workplace and how to communicate appropriately. Fred helped participants learn acceptance and appreciation of all individuals, no matter their differences, the true meaning of inclusion.

Excellence in Customer Service (Team)                 

Frederick Hall receiving the Rittenhouse Medal for Excellence Award – August 2018
Frederick Hall at his desk at the U. S. Mint
Freed Hall as a student at ASD

 

Hall, Gillian (m. Ratcliffe)

Gillian Hall (m. Ratcliffe)

Class of 1957

Student #3879

Champion Synchronized Swimmer

Gillian Hall was born on September 27, 1938, in Bristol, Connecticut, the daughter of Dr. Marlin I. Hall and Eleanor Wierum. She attended the American School for the Deaf and graduated in 1957. 

She was a champion synchronized swimmer, taking top honors in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), local, state and national championships. Her coach credited her success to a remarkably developed sense of timing plus many hours of persistence practice as she could not hear the music while swimming. 

Gillian also won the Adirondack, New York, solo championship in 1956 and 1957, and the National Junior Solo Championship in 1957. In 1957, she successfully defended her title with a 17-point spread over her nearest rival at the meet held in Bridgeport.

She also studied ballet and modern dance, her second loves.

Gillian attended Gallaudet College for a year and married Lyndon Hanes Ratcliffe in 1961. They had three children, Bess, Paul, and Glenn.

She worked as an electronic business machine operator for a firm in Bristol, Connecticut, and for some time taught swimming to ASD students.

Gillian continues to be active, playing tennis regularly, and teaching ASL to hearing children.

Hatch, Harvey

Harvey Hatch

Class of 1830

Student #219 

Harvey Hatch was born in Washington, CT (Litchfield) on March 20, 1808, the son of Clark and Mary Hatch. He lost his hearing from ulcers at the age of one.

He attended American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1826 and graduated in 1830. He was a clock/watch repairer.

Harvey published and sold the manual alphabet chart for the Deaf and Dumb, which was created by the Abbe Charle-Michel de L’ Epee in France in 1760.

He married Rebecca Bartlett, an American Asylum 1840 graduate, on April 2, 1847. After her death, Harvey married Mary H. Holt, a New York Institution for the Deaf and Dumb 1832 graduate, in Galesburg, Illinois, on October 2, 1867.

Truly a “manual alphabet,” the symbols on the chart were invented by the Abbe of L’Epee in France in 1760. The hand signals allowed deaf people, who were often also unable to speak, to communicate with the hearing and with each other. Although referred to as an alphabet, the system contains many more than twenty-six symbols. The chart was published and sold by Harvey Hatch.

Heng, Lim Chin

Lim Chin Heng

aka Chin Heng Lim

Class of 1970

Student #4967

Leader & Educator in Singapore

Lim Chin Heng was born in Katong, Singapore, in 1951. His deafness was discovered when he did not awaken to the thunderous sound of a plane flying low over their house near the airport. His father brought Lim to the Singapore Chinese Sign School for the Deaf in 1955. The school was established in 1954 by a deaf couple, Mr. & Mrs. Peng Tsu Ying. Peng Tsu Ying was a pioneer in deaf education in Singapore.

In November 1965, he was the only graduate of the Sign Section of the Singapore Sign School for the Deaf. Public secondary schools in Singapore at the time did not admit deaf students due to a lack of services. Consequentially, his family decided to send Lim to America to continue his studies.

Before going to America, Lim received private tutoring at his home in English from Peng Tsu Ying for a year and seven months. He learned from Mr. Ying how to communicate with hearing people by using a pen and paper.

At the age of sixteen in September 1967, Chin left Singapore and flew to New York City. Meeting his cousin and his brother’s American business friend at the airport, they took a 3-hour drive up to the American School for the Deaf. 

His jaws dropped when he saw the large beautiful school building with the cupola. He met several international students that were already there and enrolled in the sophomore class. He did not know ASL and was the only Chinese student there. It took some time to adjust to the food and weather, and he was homesick.

Over the three years Lim spent at ASD, he was inspired by many Deaf role models and became active in sports and school organizations.  He excelled in track and served as officers for the Athletic Club, his class, and the Junior National Association of the Deaf.  He was also the photographer for his class yearbook. 

He made history by being the first international student to win the Top Student Award plus others at his graduation from ASD in 1970. Lim entered Gallaudet College as the first Singaporean student there and continued to be actively involved in various activities until his graduation in 1975 with a BS degree in Math and 1981 with a Master’s degree in Education of the Deaf.

Lim introduced ASL, Signing Exact English (SEE), and the Total Communication philosophy to educators of the deaf in Singapore. He taught math to over five hundred deaf students in secondary mainstream programs for more than four decades.  He is active in the Singapore Association of the Deaf, the Deaf Sports Association Singapore, and was the chairperson of the 2016 World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat for Asia (WFDRSA) events in Singapore. 

He was recently recognized by the Republic of Singapore with a Special Appreciation Award for his years of loyal and dedicated service as a Public Officer.

Lim is married to Poh.  He credited his years at ASD and Gallaudet College for nurturing an interest in leadership and desire to crusade for the Deaf in Singapore.  (His name was Chin Heng Lim at ASD).

Heron, Steven Robert

Steven Robert Heron

Class of 1969

Student #4881

Race Driver

Steven Robert Heron was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, on May 17, 1950. He attended the Mystic Oral School for the Deaf for seven years and transferred to the American School for the Deaf, graduating in 1969. He was on the football, basketball, baseball, and track teams.

He worked in the Old Greenwich Post Office for many years and was considered a dedicated employee who excelled in his work.

Steven’s passion is race driving, and for ten years, he participated in many race events such as the Daytona 500, Sebring Raceway, Mid Ohio Raceway, Lime Rock, and Pocono Raceway. He raced his ’74 Honda Civic with a self-built engine that ran up to 134 mph.  

A member of the U.S. Auto Club of America and the International Motor Sports Association, Inc., he holds both crew and competitor licenses with NASCAR and other car racing organizations.

Steven is also the founder, Executive Director, and News Reporter of the Connecticut American Sign Language (ASL) News. This non-profit organization provides monthly vlogs about news and events related to the Deaf community in Connecticut. He is also the founder of the New England Deaf Festival and the Deaf Expo, another non-profit organization that promotes awareness and celebration of deaf culture through exhibits and shows performed in ASL.

Steven has been active in numerous Deaf organizations such as ICDA, ASDAA, and CCOSD. He is president of the USA Deaf Karting (Go-Karts) Club and hosted the ASDAA Deaf Car Show for three years. He is married to Martha (Benke) Heron, a 1972 graduate of the New York School for the Deaf, and they have a daughter, Allison.

Hill, Wells Lovette

Willie Lovett Hill

Class of 1868

Student #1590

Local Newspaper Publisher & Editor

Wells Lovette Hill was born in Athol, Massachusetts (Worcester) on July 25, 1850, the son of John C. and Dolly H. Hill. He became deaf from a violent attack of scarlet fever at the age of twelve.

He attended the American Asylum School for the Deaf and Dumb in 1864 and graduated in 1868. He entered the National Deaf-Mute College in 1868. His classmates were Amos G. Draper and Robert P. McGregor. He played as a catcher on the Gallaudet College baseball team and graduated in 1872 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Wells bought a half interest in Athol Transcript, a newspaper established in 1871 and was the sole owner, editor, journalist, and publisher of the Athol Transcript newspaper until his death over fifty years later. He was highly regarded in his town and built his paper to rank among the best of local newspapers in Massachusetts.

He married a hearing woman, Abbie M. Earle, on May 11, 1875, and they had four children. They were married for fifty-three years. He was an active member of the Unitarian Church, Y.M.C.A., and the Board of Trade.

In 1889 in Paris, Wells was one of the delegates to the World’s Congress of the Deaf in Paris, France.

He died in Athol, Massachusetts, on February 17, 1929, and is buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Athol. (His name was Willie L. Hill at ASD).

Hiller, Charles

Charles Hiller

Class of 1829 

Student #191

First African American Student

Charles Hiller was born in Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, on January 3, 1810. The cause of his deafness is unknown. He was the son of George Hiller and Eliza Gardner.

He attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1825 at age fifteen as the first African American student there and graduated in 1829. Horace Crawford was the first African American male, and Sally Robinson, the first African American female, in the United States to attend a school for the deaf.  Both enrolled at the New York Institution for the Deaf in 1818.

Not much is known about Charles’ life before and after he left the Asylum. Unlike Martha’s Vineyard, which had a large population of deaf people, Nantucket only had a handful of deaf residents.

Hiller had a complex and tragic family life. According to local genealogical records, both Hiller’s mother and his older sister were born out of wedlock, and their fathers are not known. Hiller’s father died before he left for the Asylum, and although his mother remarried, he did not live with her. Instead, he lived at the poorhouse, and the town selectmen paid for his tuition.

Hiller’s ethnic background is known because his school registration on November 5, 1825, stated, “He had a mixture of African blood.” After graduating in 1829, the only record of him is his registration in the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf in 1856. His mother was widowed and married four times and lived out the rest of her life on Nantucket, Massachusetts. Hopefully, future research will reveal more about Hiller and his adult life.

Holmes, George Alfred

George Alfred Holmes

Class of 1855

Student #888

Proprietor & Publisher of The National Deaf-Mute Gazette

George Alfred Holmes was born deaf on October 29, 1837, in East Boston, Massachusetts. He was the first son of Jacob R. Holmes and Charlotte Mead. He had a deaf sister named Agnes E. Holmes.

He attended American Asylum for the Deaf in 1846 and graduated in 1855. His sister, Agnes, attended the Asylum in 1848. She married a deaf man, Amos Smith. 

George worked as a copyist in the Registry of Deeds. He was one of the two proprietors and publishers of The National Deaf-Mute Gazette, a monthly journal published in Boston. It was noted that his influence and activities helped to bring together the interest of the deaf of New England in religious and organized endeavors.

He was a member of the New England Gallaudet Association for the Deaf-Mutes (NEGA) for many years, and the Massachusetts state manager of the NEGA during the years (1862-1862), (1880-1884) and (1890-1892).

George married Elizabeth Gilbert, an 1861 Asylum graduate, in Derby, Connecticut, on June 2, 1874. They had two sons. Elizabeth died in 1879. He married Abby Louise Chaffin, an 1874 Asylum graduate, in Worcester, Massachusetts, on November 6, 1882. They had a daughter, Lottie Holmes.

George died on May 1, 1924 in Belmont, Massachusetts.

Homer, George

George Homer

Class of 1829

Student #123

Co-Founder of the Boston Deaf-Mute Christian Association

George Homer was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 7, 1811, the son of Joseph Warren Homer and Sarah Sally Rea. He attended American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1824 and graduated in 1829.

He worked as a letter carrier in the Boston Customs House and Post Office for forty years.

He was one of the founders of the Boston Deaf-Mute Christian Association.  He served as Vice President of the New England Gallaudet Association of Deaf-Mutes from 1854 to 1859.

George married Anna Maria Swift, a New York Institution for the Deaf graduate, in Roxbury, Massachusetts, on October 2, 1851. They had three hearing children, George, Georgiann, and Sidney. His son (1864-1953), was a successful classical composer, and his wife Louise Homer was an opera singer.

He died in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on October 17, 1888. He is buried at the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, beside his wife, Anna Swift Homer.

Hotchkiss, John Burton, Sr.

John Burton Hotchkiss, Sr.

Class of 1864

Student #1410

First Deaf Professor at Gallaudet College

John Burton Hotchkiss was born in Seymour, Connecticut, on August 22, 1845, the son of Miles Hotchkiss and Eliza Caldwell. He became deaf due to scarlet fever at the age of eleven.

He attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb (Old Hartford) in 1859 and graduated in 1864. He worked as a typesetter in New Haven, Connecticut, and entered the National Deaf-Mute College (now Gallaudet University) in 1865. He graduated as valedictorian in the first class from this college in 1869, the same year Laurent Clerc, whom he knew personally, died. He earned a Masters of Arts degree in 1874 and was bestowed an honorary doctoral degree in 1904.

He became Gallaudet College’s first deaf professor, teaching English, Philosophy, and History for fifty-three years. He was much beloved by his students and coached the college’s football team.   

He was the editor of the “Alumni Corner” of the Buff and Blue newspaper for Gallaudet College and the chairperson of the committee to commemorate a bust of President Garfield. He was also one of the founders and editors of the “Silent World,” a short-lived newspaper for the deaf.

He married a hearing woman, Marian Chadwick of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1888, and they had two daughters, one who died in infancy, and a son.

He was active in the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) as a sign interpreter/translator and served on various committees (Eugenics, Endowment Committee, the Gallaudet Monument, and others).

He embraced sign language, and students described his signing as clear, forceful, and expressive. As a result of his exceptional signing abilities, the National Association of the Deaf filmed him telling stories in 1913 about attending the American Asylum.

He was a speaker at the seventy-fifth celebration of the American Asylum in 1892 and Centennial Celebration of the American School for the Deaf in 1917.

He died on November 3, 1922, in Washington, D.C. His funeral service was held in the college chapel. After his death, Gallaudet College renamed the football field, Hotchkiss Field in his honor. He is buried at the Rock Creek Church Yard Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

Top: Gallaudet University Archives – This picture of the “Kendall” Football team in 1888. John B. Hotchkiss (second row; center) was the first deaf head coach of the Gallaudet College Kendall Football Team (1883-1892) – Garlic Field (1881-1923)

Bottom: HOTCHKISS FIELD named in his honor in 1924.  The 95th anniversary of the Hotchkiss field (1924-2019)

Photo from Gallaudet University website, and The Silent Worker (1919)

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Katz-Hernandez, Leah

Leah Katz-Hernandez

Left ASD in 1997

Student #5950

First Deaf Receptionist of the United States (ROTUS)

Leah Katz-Hernandez was born on July 7, 1987 in Hartford, Connecticut to Ricardo Hernandez (hearing) and Lizabeth Katz (Deaf). She attended the American School for the Deaf from 1990 to 1997 and transferred to Maryland School for the Deaf, graduating in 2005. She has a Deaf brother who also attended ASD and Gallaudet University.

While at Gallaudet University, student protests quickly surfaced after the selection of an unpopular choice for the next university president, and Leah became actively involved.  She saw firsthand the power, energy, and passion of the Deaf community rallying for what they believed was right, and ultimately the decision was reversed. That experience led to an involvement in Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, during which Leah wrote an award-winning political blog, The Deaf Perspective, which received international attention. She also participated in the Washington Center’s Presidential Academic Seminar, which gave her a better understanding of the political system. Leah graduated from Gallaudet University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in Government and earned a Master’s degree in Strategic Communication from American University in 2016.

After working as a volunteer in the Obama campaign and serving in First Lady Michele Obama’s communication office, Leah became the first Deaf Latino woman to be appointed as the Receptionist of the United States in the West Wing of the White House in 2015. She was the first to greet every visitor who had a meeting with the president or any of his top-level staff. With access to an ASL interpreter, she also assumed responsibility for the White House guest book and the Roosevelt Room, the West Wing’s central meeting place. One of her fondest memories was bringing Deaf children to the White House and seeing one of the children introduce First Lady Michele Obama at a “Let’s Move” event.

Leah served as a Manager of Special Projects at the Gallaudet University President’s Office after leaving the White House. In 2017, she joined as a Board Member to the American Association of People with Disabilities and Discovering Deaf Worlds.  She traveled the world as a public speaker via the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs. Throughout her career at the White House, in the non-profit sector, political campaigns, and on Capitol Hill, Leah consistently urged equal access for the Deaf, disability, and Latina communities.

Currently, Leah is the Manager, CEO Communications, for Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft in Seattle, Washington. She believes in the Deaf community’s potential to have significant political participation and impact, and her story sends “a good message about the abilities of people who are deaf and Latino to be successful anywhere.”

As a student at ASD

The First Deaf ROTUS

 

Kelly, Sean Edward

Sean Edward Kelly

Class of 1984

Student #5530

Shipwright

Sean Edward Kelly was born on January 4, 1965, in Norwich, Connecticut, the son of John and Agnes Kelly and the youngest of eight children. Sean attended the Mystic Oral School for the Deaf for ten years, but since the school did not use sign language, it was a frustrating experience and a struggle to communicate. His mother learned about the American School for the Deaf, and Sean enrolled there at age 12, graduating in 1984.

At ASD, Sean found his passion in working with his hands. Dave Woodward, the woodworking instructor, taught him the basics of woodworking. Sean’s final project before graduation was a cabinet. He loved “smelling the wood and forming from that wood a shape that becomes a piece of art.”

His first job after graduation was at a fiberglass boat company, where he learned about boat maintenance. He then worked for Foxwoods Casino on the maintenance crew for five years. When he was hired at the Mystic Seaport, he rediscovered his love for working on boats.

His first project was building a replica of the Amistad, a significant historical vessel in the fight against slavery. Learning about the role of the ASD founders in the Amistad story, Sean felt a sense of pride and connection to the project. His current projects involve renovating a historic whaling ship, rebuilding parts of the rotted wood, and repainting the hull.

Sean has worked at the Mystic Seaport for over 22 years and is highly regarded by his coworkers. One of them called Sean “a talented, dedicated, hardworking and fearless shipwright. From painting boats to chainsawing large trees for ship timbers to building boat hatches, Sean does it all! His work is done to a high standard, and he always maintains a sense of humor!”

He is married to Jennifer Carroll, a 1982 ASD alumna, and has two stepchildren. They live in Waterford, Connecticut.

 

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Lambert, Prudence Dawes (m. Brown)

Prudence Dawes Lambert (m. Brown)

Class of 1858

Student #1139

Prudence Dawes Lambert was born in Chilmark, Massachusetts, on Martha’s Vineyard in Cape Cod on September 24, 1837. She became deaf due to an “inflammation in the head” at seven months. Her parents were Thomas Hayden Lambert and Lydia A. West. She was a descendant of Jonathan Lambert (the first Deaf settler at Martha’s Vineyard in 1692 who bought a tract of land known as Lambert’s Cove).

She attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1852 at the age of fifteen and graduated in 1858. She learned tailoring at the American Asylum.

She married Benjamin Kelley Brown in July 1863, and they had six children. Benjamin was born in Oxford, Maine, on January 7, 1839, the son of Russell Brown and Susanna Tuttle. He became deaf at age three due to “sores in the head.” He attended the American Asylum in 1855 at the age of seventeen and continued until July 1860. He was a talented carpentry student who made cabinets and worked as a roofer upon graduation.

Prudence and Benjamin were members of the New England Gallaudet Association of Deaf-Mutes and attended the 1860 gathering of the Asylum alumni. They made their home in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Benjamin passed away in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 31, 1889, and Prudence died in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on December 16, 1894.                                          

Desk built by Benjamin Brown at the Asylum

Lapides, Michael

Michael Lapides

Class of 1907

Student #2656 

Michael Lapides was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on May 15, 1891. He lost his hearing from meningitis. He was the son of Helis and Sarah Lapides.

He enrolled at the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut, in September 1897, and graduated in 1907 at the age of fifteen.

Michael stayed at his parents’ home for over a year to study on his own to meet the entrance requirements for Gallaudet College. In the fall of 1909, he entered Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University). Despite his love for the football as well as baseball, Michael couldn’t make the team due to his lightweight, so he served as an eager water boy. He graduated from Gallaudet in 1913 with a Bachelor of Arts degree at the age of twenty-one.

He entered the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and studied mechanical engineering for two years.  He worked as a metallurgical chemist at his father’s chemical plant in New Haven, Connecticut.

Michael was actively involved with the National Association of the Deaf. At its 12th  convention at the banquet on July 5, 1917, he presented Monsieur Henri Gaillard and three other French delegates with a case containing a pure gold medal engraved with a likeness of Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet on the one side, and a statement on his life’s work on the other.

After his father’s plant was closed because of the Great Depression, he became a counselor of boys at the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley, California (CSDB). Later he taught English and Algebra, and shortly after was elevated to head teacher of the senior class, preparing many students for Gallaudet College. He was also the editor of The California News, the school paper for a few years. He left CSDB after twelve years in 1948.

At the prodding of his father who had rebuilt his business at the United Smelting and Aluminum Company, and Michael returned to the company as the head of the payroll department. Michael suffered from an ongoing sinus infection, which necessitated his moving to Arizona for a better climate. After some time, he returned to New Haven, Connecticut, to be near his family.  When his health declined, he moved to a convalescent home in West Haven until his death on June 1, 1969, after a long illness. 

He was a former President of the American School for the Deaf Alumni Association (ASDAA), and at one time, represented the association at a hearing before the state of Connecticut legislature to support the merger of the Mystic Oral School with the American School for the Deaf.

He made a number of donations to ASD and other institutions during his life and was highly regarded as a Deaf leader in Connecticut. The Deaf community in Connecticut lost a loyal friend in him when he passed away. He is buried at the Congregation B’nai Jacob Cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut.

LaRoche, Donald Andre

Donald Andre LaRoche

Class of 1961

Student #4445

Community Leader

Donald Andre LaRoche was born on August 14, 1941, in Biddeford, Maine, the son of Alexander LaRoche and Edwina Becotte. He lost his hearing at the age of two and began his education at the Maine School for the Deaf.  He later transferred to the American School for the Deaf, graduating in 1961.

After his graduation, he continued his studies at Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University).

He excelled professionally, working for Pratt & Whitney for 30 years, and serving as the Inspection Department supervisor for the last 15 years of his tenure. However, his fight for deaf civil rights has been a defining passion in his life. He brought a landmark case against his employer, citing the company’s refusal to provide interpreter services for deaf employees. The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities found in his favor and interpreting services then became available.

He is also a leader in the Deaf Community serving as a trustee and secretary (1977-1979) in the American School for the Deaf Alumni Association (ASDAA). He was the chairman and president of the Greater Hartford Club of the Deaf and president of the Connecticut Council Serving the Deaf. Additionally, he was appointed by Governor of Connecticut, Ella Grasso, to serve as a commissioner on the Connecticut Commission on the Deaf and Hearing Impaired (CDHI).

After moving to Phoenix, Arizona, he continued to serve the Deaf Community in various officer roles for the Phoenix Association for the Deaf, the Greater Phoenix Deaf Senior Citizens, and the Arizona Deaf Senior Citizens Coalition. He was the Regional Coordinator for the Deaf Senior Citizens Housing initiative.

He was inducted in the 2006 ASDAA Achievement Hall of Fame.

Lewis, Florence Waterman (m. May)

Florence Waterman Lewis (m. May)

Class of 1916

Student #2858

Assistant Museum Editor & Author of Volumes on Rugs and Textiles

Florence Waterman Lewis was born in Fairfield, Connecticut, on December 9, 1899, to Edward Everett Lewis and Annie May Lockwood. She became deaf from spinal meningitis at the age of five.

She attended American School for the Deaf, Hartford, in 1906 and graduated in 1916. She was the class valedictorian and signed her essay “Opportunity.”

Florence enrolled at Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University) in 1916 and graduated in 1921 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She was one of the editors of the college newspaper, Buff and Blue. She was active in dramatics and was president of the Jollity Club, the dramatic club of the young women of the college.

In the 1940’s she taught sign language to Helen Craig who played in the role of Belinda McDonald in the original Broadway cast of “Johnny Belinda” at the Belasco Theatre in New York City.  She also taught sign language to the entire cast.

She married William Francis May in Manhattan, New York, on May 22, 1931.

Florence was employed after graduating from college as an assistant editor of the museum catalog at the Hispanic Society of America in New York.  She was the curator of textiles there and retired in 1981 after sixty years of service.

She was the author of volumes on Spanish laces, embroideries, and textiles, as well as many articles and poetry. She was also a Spanish language translator. Her work Rugs of Spain & Morocco, was published in 1977. At the time of her death, she was at work on Volume II of Silk Textiles of Spain.

She was awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree from Gallaudet in 1945. She was an active member of the Gallaudet University Alumni Association and the XI Chapter of Phi Kappa Zeta.

She died at the Arnot Ogden Memorial Hospital in Elmira, New York, on September 6, 1988. She is buried at the Rural Home Cemetery in Big Flats, New York.

Lim, Chin Heng

Chin Heng Lim 

See  Heng, Lim Chin

 

 

Lindsey, Elizabeth "Lizzie" C. (m. Denison)

Elizabeth “Lizzie” C. Lindsey (m. Denison)

Class of 1857

Student #975

Elizabeth C. Lindsey was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on December 14, 1838. She was the daughter of Richard Lyndsey and Sophronia Fiske. For some reason, Lizzie spelled her last name differently, thus the confusion with the names Lyndsey and Lindsay.

She attended the American Asylum in 1848 and graduated in 1857.

Lizzie married another Asylum graduate, James Denison, in Salem, Massachusetts on December 26, 1859. They had six hearing children, George Stanton, Elizabeth Lindsay, Edward Thayer, Richard Lindsay, Lindsay, and Raymond Chase. Four of their children died young, and only two sons survived. Her husband, James, was a teacher (1856-1909) at the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind, and its first principal (1869-1909) of the institution, which is now the Kendall Demonstration School for the Deaf.

It is believed that Lizzie also taught, but currently, there are no documents of where she worked.

Lizzie was the sister-in-law of Susan Denison Gallaudet, who was the second wife of Edward Miner Gallaudet.

Her son, Lindsay Denison, was regarded as a star newspaper reporter in New York City.  Her other son, Raymond Chase Denison was a M.D. practicing in West Palm Beach, Florida.

She died in Washington, D.C., on October 26, 1902. She is buried at the North Royalton Cemetery in North Royalton, Vermont, next to her husband, James Denison.

See the biography of James Denison about his life.

Lippincott, Almon Miner

Almon Miner Lippincott

Class of 1924

Student #3222

First Deaf Connecticut Licensed Pilot

Photo courtesy of Madison Historical Society – New Haven Register; Madison Historical Society; CLEMA

Almon Miner Lippincott was born in Madison, Connecticut, on December 5, 1904, the son of Levi Lippincott and Grace Elizabeth Miner. He attended the Mystic Oral School for the Deaf, but an outbreak of illness in 1912 closed the school.  Almon transferred to the American School for the Deaf and graduated in 1924.

Almon worked as a house painter and sometime during his young adulthood, he discovered a love of mechanics and was among the first Deaf Americans to earn a private pilot’s license in 1941. He owned two Piper Cub aircraft and built his hanger and runway near Madison after the local public airfields refused to let him land and store his planes there because he was deaf. He continued flying until his early seventies. His hangar fell into disrepair, and the family gave the land to the Madison Land Conservation Trust.  The property was a prominent landmark for canoeists of the lower Neck River and Bailey Creek.  The concrete apron, which supported the hangar, remains and today serves as the foundation for a wildlife observation platform, erected by the Trust.

He was remembered by his family as an excellent mechanic who taught all his hearing relatives to sign. A movie about his flying ability was produced by ASD.

His mother, Grace Elizabeth Miner Lippincott, was a prolific poet with six published books and more than one thousand published poems and ten anthologies.  She was a descendant of Elder William Brewster and the Deaf artist, John Brewster, Jr., who was one of the original students at the Asylum for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb.

Almon died in Branford, Connecticut, on November 9, 1980.

Livingston, Robert Duncan

Robert Duncan Livingston

Class of 1865

Student #1283

Robert Duncan Livingston was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, on May 27, 1847, the son of Robert L. Livingston and Adeline Duncan. His ancestors from Antrim, Ireland escaped the Massacre of Glen Coe in Scotland and settled in Antrim, New Hampshire. He had two older deaf brothers, Hiram L. and Josiah Edwin, who graduated from the American Asylum in 1852.

He entered the American Asylum in 1856 and graduated in 1865. He learned the printer’s trade but accepted a position at the Boston & Albany Railroad as a clerk. Then he moved to Denver, Colorado, to work as a clerk for the Union Pacific Railroad. Two years later, he moved east to New Haven, Connecticut, to work as an electrician for eleven years. He was also a watchmaker.

His brother, Josiah, was a carpenter who invented a “nutmeg-grater of great convenience and value,” as well as a mitring machine.

Robert married Hattie Powell Ogden, who also attended the American Asylum. After they divorced, he moved to Los Angeles, California in 1893, and got a good-paying job as a clerk at the Cold Storage Company. He married Minnie May Strickler in Los Angeles on May 26, 1895, and had a daughter, Minnie, and a son, Robert.

Minnie, Robert’s wife, attended the Kansas Institution for the Deaf and the Illinois School for the Deaf for a year. She was a well-known writer and poet who wrote numerous articles for various publications such as the Waverly Magazine, Woman’s Companion, Mankind, and others. Her poems, “The Valley of Silence,” “The Cry of the Silent,” and “Slumber Song” were among her notable ones that were set to music.

Robert died on July 11, 1930, and is buried in the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

Loring, George Henry (F/S)

George Henry Loring

Class of 1825

Student #2

Teacher, 1825-1834

George Henry Loring was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 19, 1808, the son of Elijah Loring And Abigail Rand. He became deaf and blind in one eye from an illness at the age of two and a half. His father, Elijah, was a wealthy Boston merchant banker who worked at Long Wharf in Boston Harbor for many years.

He was the second student enrolled at the newly formed Connecticut Asylum for the Education of Deaf and Dumb Persons in 1817 (later, the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb). At age nine, he was the youngest student in the same class as notable students, Alice Cogswell and John Brewster, Jr.

Thomas H. Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc were George’s first teachers, and he was a brilliant scholar. He learned French from Clerc in his spare time and impressed him with his ability to master the language in nine months.

He became the second American-born Deaf teacher at the American Asylum for Deaf and Dumb and taught there for eight years (1825-1834). After his teaching stint, he entered the family business with his father in Boston and lived next door to the former 6th President of the United States, John Quincy Adams. George enjoyed a good friendship with the former President. His third brother, Elijah James Loring, was a Harvard College student who tragically died at sea during a passage to Italy in 1832 at the age of twenty-seven.

On September 13, 1849, he married an Asylum student, Ann Sharp, the daughter of Rev. David Sharp (clergyman) and Ann Cauldwell. Rev. Daniel Sharp was one of the Newton Theological Institutions (Andover Theological Seminary), where Rev. Thomas H. Gallaudet graduated in 1814. Rev. Sharp was the first pastor of the Baptist Church on Charles Street in Boston, Massachusetts, for 41 years (1812 to 1853).

In 1838, George taught Lydia Drew, a teacher at the Perkins School for the Blind in South Boston, sign language, and she, in turn, began to use it with her student, Laura Bridgman.  Laura was the first DeafBlind American child to receive a significant education fifty years before Helen Keller. George’s mother, Abigail Rand, and his sister, Abigail Matilda, who died within months of each other, bequeathed $2000 to establish the Loring Fund to provide financial support for Laura Bridgman.

On September 26, 1850, over four hundred American Asylum graduates gathered at the Center Congregational Church in Hartford, Connecticut, to express their admiration and gratitude for their teachers, Thomas H. Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc. George gave the address and presented them each with a custom engraved coin silver pitcher and salver.

George served as the “acknowledged” head of the Boston Deaf community and was also active in the Episcopal Church. He died unexpectedly from an illness on March 26, 1852, at the age of forty-four. George is buried in the famed Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Lounsbury, Theodore Irving
Theodore Irving Lounsbury
Class of 1880
Student #2008
Printing Company Owner Theodore I. Lounsbury was born in Stamford, Connecticut, on July 11, 1865, the son of Henry Irving Lounsbury and Susan Ophelia. He lost his hearing from a fever at the age of seven after he fell on the pavement.

He attended the American Asylum for Deaf and Dumb in 1874 at age nine. His distinguished instructors, graduates of Yale College, were John R. Keep, David E. Bartlett, Job Williams, and Gilbert O. Fay. He graduated from the Asylum in 1880 and transferred to the New York Institution for the Instruction of The Deaf and Dumb, graduating again in 1884 with high honors. 

Theo began a printing business, O’Brien & Lounsbury Co., in 1888 with his partner, John F. O’Brien. Theo was a foreman and assistant editor in his printing business. When John O’Brien retired, Theo became the sole owner of the Lounsbury Company for several years.

He became an instructor of printing at the Central New York School in Rome, New York, and published the Deaf-Mutes Register newspaper.

Theo had been a productive writer for years, beginning with the staff of the Illinois Advance in 1883 and, in 1884, the New York correspondent of the Deaf-Mutes Journal. Since then, several other papers published his news stories, notably the Register, the Advocate, and the Deaf-Mutes Journal. Under “Ted,” his writings became known “far and wide.”

He married Margaret Bothner in New York on June 28, 1890, and had one son, George Irving Lounsbury. He owned another printing business in New York City in 1895.

He died on December 23, 1915, and is buried at the Woodland Cemetery in Stamford, Connecticut.

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Mann, Chester Quincy

Chester Quincy Mann

Class of 1875

Student #1968 

Chester Quincy Mann was born in New York City, New York, on September 26, 1855, the son of Francis Fitts Mann and Adeline Taylor. At the age of twenty months, he became profoundly deaf from unknown causes. 

He attended the New York Institution for Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb for eleven years (1861-1872) and transferred to the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, in 1872, where he graduated in 1875.  After that, he attended the National Deaf-Mutes College (now Gallaudet University) for one and a half years and had to leave due to his father’s death. 

For fifteen years, he was a teacher at the New York Institution for Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (1880-1895).

On December 18, 1883, he married Isabelle Leghorn, in Newbury, New York. They had two hearing children, Adeline L. and Clarence E.  Isabelle was a graduate of the New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb in 1881.

He won a gold medal when he ran over thirty miles, at four hours’ duration, in the Madison Square Garden, in New York City, on an amateur foot race, and defeated a field of one hundred fifty competitors.

As a lay preacher in the Episcopal Church for the Deaf, he aroused much interest in the work of the Church Mission and at the Gallaudet Home for the Deaf.

He died in Yonkers, New York, on January 6, 1925, at the age of seventy-four, and is buried in the Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum in Manhattan, New York.

Mann, Edwin John

Edwin John Mann

Class of 1826

Student #91

Edwin John Mann was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1812, the son of Joseph Mann and Elizabeth Pitman. At the age of two and a half, he lost his hearing due to a high fever attack. 

In 1821, at age twelve, he was enrolled at the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb and graduated in 1826.

Besides being a mechanic, he also was an author and writer. He was the author of “The Deaf and Dumb: A Collection of Articles relating to the Condition Of Deaf Mutes: Their Education, and the  Principal Asylums devoted to their instruction.”, printed in 1836. He wrote “A Memory of Phebe Parsons Hammond” after her death in 1829 at the age of twelve. She was a deaf pupil at the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb. He also wrote “The Deaf, Dumb and Blind Girl,” a story about Julia Brace.

He died in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1891, at the age of seventy-nine. 

Marino, Anna Marie (m. Fronczek)

Anna Marie Marino (m. Fronczek)

Class of 1919

Student #2886 

Anna Marie Marino was born in Middletown, Connecticut, on May 4, 1900. She was the daughter of Antonio Marino and Giuseppina Bartolotta, who set sail in 1898, and were among the early immigrants to come from Melilli, Italy. She had eight siblings, two of whom were Deaf, her sister, Marie Constance Marino, and her brother, Joseph Marino.  She graduated from the American School for the Deaf in 1919, along with her sister, Marie.

At ASD, Anna was very active in sports beginning as a member of the girls’ basketball team and later on as a coach. Anna was a pioneer in organizing competitions for girls and was a member of the first school group to compete with hearing high school and Y.W.C.A. girls. She had to fight to prove to the school that girls could play sports as well as boys.

She married John Fronczek from New York.

Anna attended a business college and became the first deaf woman in 1923 to work at one of the well-known insurance companies in Hartford, Connecticut, the Hartford Fire Insurance Company, thus paving the career path for other deaf women.

After graduating from ASD, she devoted much of her time to Deaf organizations. She was active in establishing the Hartford Branch of the National Association of the Deaf in 1937, to make sure that Deaf people could keep their legal rights to drive autos.

In 1939, the Connecticut Association of the Deaf (CAD) was established so that Deaf people statewide can join and voice their concerns and rights. It caused the Hartford Branch of NAD to fold, but Anna actively promoted CAD’s mission. She was well-known for selling CAD raffle tickets so she could meet new and old friends. Her first book, where she kept notes as a secretary of CAD, was given to the Cogswell Heritage House to preserve some valuable history.

She also was involved in the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf, the insurance company of the Deaf established in 1901, to protect Deaf men who were unable to purchase insurance because they were considered high risk. Later in 1916, Deaf women were allowed to join NFSD. Anna was very active as the treasurer of the Hartford Chapter of NFSD.

In 1990, Anna was inducted into the ASD Hall of Fame for basketball.

Anna never shied away from most challenges, one example being she took “Iggy,” her husband’s brother with intellectual challenges, out of a state institution in New York. She firmly believed that he could learn, and she was proven right.

She was proud of her Italian heritage, of being short in stature, and possessing strong opinions. She cared for her Deaf community and fought many causes to improve their lives.

Anna died in Middletown, Connecticut, on January 17, 1991, at the age of ninety and is buried at the St. John’s Cemetery in Middletown, CT.

Class of 1919: Anna Marino Fronczek first left,  her sister Marie Marino Szopa second from left

Marino, Joseph “Jack” Dennis

Joseph “Jack” Dennis Marino

Class of 1936

Student #3284

“Father” of the Hartford Deaf Club

Joseph Dennis Marino was born on August 15, 1915, in Middletown, Connecticut.  He was the son of Antonio Marino and Giuseppina Bartolotta, who sailed to American from Italy a month after their wedding in 1898.  Jack had eight siblings, two of them were Deaf, his sisters, Marie Constance Szopa, and Anna Marie Fronczek.

He attended the American School for the Deaf, graduating in 1936. He was considered a school leader and excelled in football and baseball.

Jack worked as a plumbing contractor at the Marino Plumbing & Heating Co, and Colt Industries.

He married Melva N. Phelan, who was also a graduate of ASD.

Jack was affectionately considered by many to be the “Father of the Hartford Club for the Deaf.” He was one of the greatest supporters of the New England Athletic Association of the Deaf (NEAAD). His service to the NEAAD included the offices of Treasurer, 1948-1951, President 1972-1974, and Delegate at Large, 1974-1981. He was a thoughtful and committed person who often put others before himself. His leadership for the Hartford Club for the Deaf resulted in many achievements for the organization.

He was very active in the Hartford Club of the Deaf and the American School for the Deaf Alumni Association (ASDAA) for over 45 years. He served as President of the ASDAA for four years (1958-1962); Treasurer of ASDAA for two years (1946-1948).

He was inducted the 1973 American Athletic Association of the Deaf (AAAD) Hall of Fame for Sports Leader and in the 1981 NEAAD Hall of Fame for his coaching and leadership.

He died in a car accident in Middletown, Connecticut, on April 27, 1989, and is buried in the family plot at the St. John Cemetery in Middletown, CT.

Marino, Marie Constance (m. Szopa) (F/S)

Marie Constance Marino (m. Szopa)

Class of 1919 

Student #2905

Marie Constance Marino was born in Middletown, Connecticut, on January 5, 1902, the daughter of Antonio Marino and Giuseppina Bartolotta. Her parents sailed to America from Italy a month after their wedding in 1898. She had eight siblings, two of them who were Deaf, a brother, Joe Marino, and a sister, Anna Marie Fronczek.

Marie, along with her brother and sister enrolled at the American School for the Deaf, and she graduated in 1919. She graduated from the Gallaudet College (now, Gallaudet University) in June 1926 with a Bachelor of Science degree.

She married Edward Joseph Szopa of New Hampshire, who also graduated from ASD (1922) and Gallaudet College (1927) in 1935. Edward taught printing at the Alabama School for the Deaf for several years before moving back to Connecticut, and did linotype work for the Hartford Times before retiring.

Marie taught third through sixth grades, including students with learning disabilities and math at ASD for forty-four years, retiring in 1971. She was known for her enormous patience, and would refer to former students as “her kids,” taking pride in their successes. Marie considered herself a lifelong learner and believed that deaf children should always keep on reading and learning.

She was the 2nd Vice President of the American School for the Deaf Alumni Association (ASDAA) for two years (1950-1952) and the 1st Vice President for a year (1953-1954).

She and her husband, Edward, served the ASDAA and other organizations of the Deaf faithfully for many years. They received a plaque from the ASDAA honoring their long and active service to the Deaf in 1981.

After Edward passed away in 1987, Marie moved to Beaufort, South Carolina, in 1991. She died in Beaufort on December 22, 1995, and is buried at the Rose Hill Memorial Park in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, next to her husband.

Class of 1919: Marie Marino Szopa second from left next to her sister, Anna

Honored with a plaque from ASDAA for their years of service

 

Marsh, Jonathan Pitkin Sr.

Jonathan Pitkin Marsh, Sr.

Class of 1832

Student #234

Jonathan Pitkin Marsh, Sr. was born in Winsted, Connecticut, on April 26, 1814, the son of the Reverend Frederick Marsh, who graduated from Yale College in 1805. He became deaf from measles at the age of two. 

He enrolled at the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, in 1827, and graduated in 1832. Four years later, he married Paulina Bowdish, of Douglass, Massachusetts, who also graduated from the Asylum in 1836. They had two Deaf daughters, Catharine and Paulina, and one Deaf son, Jonathan, Jr. All of his Deaf children also attended the Asylum.

He was a cabinetmaker and used his skills to work with a variety of manufacturing jobs.

This took him and his family across Connecticut, and eventually to Boston and New York. After graduation from the Asylum, he began working in Willimantic as a cabinetmaker, then a piano maker in Boston, and finally a clock maker in the Seth Thomas Clock Factory in Thomaston, Connecticut.

He followed in his father’s footsteps and, according to their family genealogy, he became, “a public religious teacher of the deaf and dumb.” In the 1850s, he, George Homer, and Thomas Brown founded the New England Gallaudet Association for the Deaf.

As a minister, he was also the founder of the Sunday Bible Class in Boston, Massachusetts in 1852. For many years, he was the Treasurer and State Manager (Massachusetts) of the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf Mutes (NEGA) in 1853. He was the leader of the Boston Deaf-Mute Mission, and also the Director and Trustee of the Boston Deaf-Mute Library Association. He was President of the Boston Deaf Mute Christian Association since it was incorporated in 1866.

Tragically, their son Jonathan, Jr. died in 1864 from a sickness while attending the Asylum, when he was only 15 years old. As his family was from Connecticut, he was not buried in the Asylum plot in Hartford, Connecticut, but was interred with the rest of his family in the Marsh family plot in Winchester, Connecticut. Their deaf daughters married deaf classmates and moved to Chicago before returning to Boston. Catherine gave birth to six deaf children, and Paulina had four hearing children.

He died in Boston, Massachusetts on March 2, 1898, and was buried in the Winchester Cemetery in Winsted, Connecticut.

                                            Edwin Nathan Bowes

Paulina N. (Marsh) Bowes

Jonathan’s deaf daughter, Paulina N. (Marsh) Bowes of Roxbury, Massachusetts, married Edwin Nathan Bowes, who was a great-grandnephew of John Hancock, the first signer of the Declaration of Independence. Paulina’s Asylum classmates were notable persons, George Wing, John B. Hotchkiss, Amos G. Draper, and Humphrey H. Moore.

 

Martino, Raphaelina "Rae" (m. de Rose)

Raphaelina “Rae” Martino (m. de Rose)

Class of 1927

Student #3314 

Raphaelina “Rae” Martino was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, on June 18, 1910, the daughter of Italian immigrants, Carmine and Anna Martino.

She attended and graduated from the American School for the Deaf in 1927. She was the class valedictorian and excelled in athletics.

She graduated from Gallaudet College, Washington, D.C., in 1932.

Rae was employed at the Pratt & Whitney United Aircraft for sixteen months before moving to Flint, Michigan and securing a teaching position at the Michigan School for the Deaf. She married Pasquale de Rose and taught at three more schools, the New York State School for the Deaf in Rome, the West Virginia School for the Deaf, and the Arizona School for the Deaf. She was also the Dean of Girls and Athletic Director at the Arizona School for the Deaf for eight years.

She conducted Protestant religious classes at the American School for the Deaf for many years.

Rae was vice president of the Commission of the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, secretary of the Converse Communications Center, Inc., and secretary of the Connecticut Council of Societies Serving for Deaf, and was also an editor of their newsletter.

She was involved in Girl Scout activities and summer camps for the Deaf. She was a member of the Lutheran Church for the Deaf and the International Lutheran Deaf Association.  She was a member of the Connecticut Association of the Deaf (CAD), the Chapter of Gallaudet University Association Alumni (GUAA), and the ASD Alumni Association (ASDAA).

She died at the Waterbury Hospital on November 16, 1975.

She enjoyed traveling abroad and once visited fourteen schools for the deaf in Europe.

Martone, Mary Ellen (F/S)

Mary Ellen Martone

Class of 1969

Student #4386 

Mary Ellen Martone was born on November 4, 1953, in Waterbury, Connecticut, the daughter of Charles Martone and Anne Lynch. She lost her hearing at the age of two due to an undiagnosed illness.

She graduated from the American School for the Deaf in 1969, along with two other notable graduates, Marie Jean Philip and Dr. Susan (Mozzer) Mather.

Mary earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Psychology from Gallaudet University in 1973. She worked for the Federal Government for four years before returning to Gallaudet University to work toward a Master’s degree in Deaf Education with a specialization in Secondary English.

She taught high school English teacher at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) for nine years and was also the Summer Program Coordinator of the Gallaudet Honors Program.

She was a principal at the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf, Portland, Maine, since July 2001. At the time of her death, she was the high school principal at the New York School for the Deaf (Fanwood), White Plains, New York.

Mary was highly regarded in her profession and remembered fondly by her former students, teachers, and staff members as a hardworking teacher who was dedicated to her students. 

She adopted a daughter from India.

Mary died from SARS on March 23, 2010.

Mather, Susan A. Mozzer

Susan A.  Mozzer (m. Mather)

See  Mozzer, Susan A. (m. Mather)

May, Florence Waterman Lewis

Florence Waterman Lewis (m. May)

See  Lewis, Florence Waterman (m. May)

McGee, Alexandra "Sandra" Maria Grzybek

Alexandra “Sandra” Maria  Grzybek (m. McGee)

See  Grzybek, Alexandra “Sandra” Maria  (m. McGee)

McLennon, Ruth Sandra "Sandy"

Ruth Sandra “Sandy” McLennon

Class of 1974

Student #4506

First Black/Latina President of ASDAA

Ruth Sandra McLennon was born on October 10, 1953, in New York City, New York, the daughter of Herman McLennon and Sylvia Alvares. Due to difficult circumstances, Sandy ended up in an orphanage for nearly two years. Her father, a chauffeur for actor Rex Harrison during the filming of My Fair Lady, eventually got custody of her. The actor, Harrison, suspected something amiss with Sandy and gave her father a blank check to take her to see a doctor. Consequently, her deafness was diagnosed. After placing Sandy in different speech programs, her father decided to enroll her at the American School for the Deaf in 1960 when she was seven.

Sandy thrived at ASD and credited people like Betty Blanchard, dorm counselor for elementary girls, who patiently taught her math so she would not fall behind, and teachers who encouraged her to do well in school. Attending the Jr NAD camp in Minnesota was a formative experience for her. She was active in many organizations at ASD and excelled in athletics. As a junior, she participated in the 1973 Deaf Olympics in Malmo, Sweden track, and field events. Four years later, she competed in Romania on the volleyball team and placed second. Sandy graduated from ASD in 1974.

At Gallaudet College, Sandy majored in Physical Education, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1979. She received her master’s degree in Deaf Education at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel) in Westminster, Maryland, in 1986, and another in Sports Administration from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1990.

She worked at the New Jersey School for the Deaf as a dorm counselor for middle school girls in 1979 and after a brief stint at the Florida School for the Deaf in 1980, returned to NJSD and also worked as a track and field assistant coach and basketball coach for middle school girls. Later on, Sandy worked at the New York School for the Deaf (Fanwood) in White Plains as a dorm counselor and an assistant coach for the high school girls’ volleyball and basketball teams.

At Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia, she landed her first teaching position in 1984 as a Physical Education teacher for elementary students. From 1987 to 1995, she became a Physical Education and Health instructor at the Gallaudet University Northwest campus for preparatory students. When the Northwest campus closed in 1995, she became the Assistant Professor with the Physical Education and Recreation department, where she continued until her retirement in 2013.

Sandy proudly identifies as a Deaf Black Latina Lesbian Woman and is highly regarded as a role model for many. Among her accomplishments are Self Defense Instructor at Gallaudet, Mistress of Ceremonies for several major Deaf events in the D.C. area, and Co-Chair of the Deaf Lesbian Festival in 2002. She was also one of the five founders of the Deaf Abused Women Network (DAWN) in Washington, D.C., in 1999, and recognized several times with an Award of Excellence by the Maryland Association of the Deaf, and as Faculty of the Year at the Gallaudet Northwestern campus three times.

She became the first Black/Latina graduate to be elected as ASDAA President in 2017 and is now in her second term, which expires in 2021.

Sandy began her second career as a Deaf ASL Interpreter when she was recruited to interpret for Deaf Lesbian Festival events in 2008 in San Francisco, California. During the Sonoma County wildfires in 2017, Sandy was called up on to interpret and quickly became a familiar face on local television news, earning international acclaim for her passionate and eloquent signing. She helped to highlight the importance of saving lives by delivering critical news through access to a native sign language user.

She is a member of the American School Alumni Association, Deaf Women United. National Black Deaf Advocates, Council de Manos, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, and the National Association of the Deaf.

Sandy is currently living in Santa Rosa, California, with her wife, Cris Eggers. They enjoy traveling, hiking, and biking.

Metrash, Adam Hill Jr.

Adam Hill Metrash, Jr.

Class of 1857

Student #1078 

Adam Hill Metrash, Jr. was born in Norwalk, Connecticut, on May 6, 1838, the son of Adam and Rosannah Metrash. He became deaf from the loud discharge of a cannon. His ancestors settled in Norwalk, Connecticut, in the 1790s.

He was one of twelve African-American students to attend the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb between 1825 and 1870. He had access to a better education than most free blacks in Connecticut before the Civil War. He graduated in 1857. 

Adam became an oysterman on the Long Island Sound and owned two boats, the “Silence” and “Whisper,” which were meaningful names to him. He purchased two acres of oyster beds and harvested oysters from his “Silence” boat.

In 1861, he married Elizabeth Pepinger, a graduate of the New York Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in 1858. They had a deaf son, Robert Le Grand, and three hearing daughters, Lucy, Mary, and Caroline. Robert attended ASD from 1872-1880 and became a shoemaker and boatman after graduation.  All of the Metrash siblings used sign language.

Adam died in Norwalk, Connecticut, on July 21, 1884, at the age of forty-six and is buried in New Haven, Connecticut.

An interesting fact:  Adam Metrash’s grandson, Chief Wesley Augustus Williams, became the third African-American to be an officer of the Fire Department New York City (FDNY). He was promoted as First Lieutenant in 1927, Captain in 1934, and Battalion Chief in 1938. He was one of the founders of the Vulcan Society (a fraternal organization of black firefighters in New York City).

Mezzanotte, Judith "Judie" Eileen Ann (m. Gilliam)

Judith “Judie” Eileen Ann Mezzanotte (m. Gilliam)

Class of 1963

Student #4089

Educator & Community Leader

Judith Eileen Ann Mezzanotte was born on December 9, 1944, in Orange, Connecticut, the daughter of Anthony P. Mezzanotte and Eleanore Mae Downes. Of her three brothers, one was deaf, Robert Earl Mezzanotte, who attended the American School for the Deaf and graduated in 1968.

She excelled in her studies and was active in many sports at the American School for the Deaf, graduating in 1963.  Judith went to Gallaudet University for her Bachelor of Arts (1968) and Master of Arts (1974) degrees. She also attended the University of Maryland, Western Maryland College, and the University of Alabama to obtain her teacher’s certificate and certification in educational administration and supervision.

She enjoyed a fruitful 27-year career at the Alabama School for the Deaf as a classroom teacher, dean of girls, supervising teacher, director of instructional services, and director of the primary department. After retirement, she served as an instructor and mentor for the STARS program.

As an advocate for the Deaf community, her focus has been at all levels: local, state, and national. Her mission emphasis has been advocacy in education, interpreting, and rehabilitation. Among her numerous positions and boards served are:

  • Deaf Advisory Council at the Alabama School for the Deaf
  • President of the Alabama Association of the Deaf (2011-2013)
  • Secretary of the Gallaudet University Alumni Association
  • Vice-President of the Talladega Chapter of the Alabama Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (2005-Present)
  • Board of Directors of Communication Services for the Deaf (2007-Present)
  • Deaf Advisory Council of the State of Alabama Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Service (2007-Present)
  • Deaf Advisory Council of the State Department of Mental Health/Mental Retardation (2007- Present)
  • Alabama Governor’s Office of Disabilities State Advisory Council (2012-Present)

Judith also served on the State Bias Review Committee for the Alabama Basic Competency Examinations, where she was involved in the development of appropriate language structure. The results came out so well that the state used the examinations not only for deaf people but also for the hearing population. She led the establishment of state-level mental health facilities, helped bring about the Alabama Legislation recognizing American Sign Language as a foreign language, co-chaired the National Council on interpreting that promoted and completed the new interpreting certification test, and served as the 2012 National Association of the Deaf Conference Chair. 

She was inducted in the ASD Excellence Hall of Fame in 2012.

Judith and her husband Buford, an accomplished deaf educator and entrepreneur, have two sons. One son is a Senior Vice President of Operations at Express Oil Change and Tire Engineers, a $6 billion company and the other is the Executive Director, Special Projects @ Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. She stays active with their eleven grandchildren.

Miller, Katherine "Kathy" Louise (m. Darby) (F/S)

Katherine “Kathy” Louise Miller (m. Darby)

Class of 1963

Student #3993

Kathy Louise Miller was born on June 6, 1944, in a naval base hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, the daughter of William Curtis Miller, Jr. and Jean Larson. The family moved to East Hartford, next to the Greater Hartford Club of the Deaf.

She enrolled at the American School for the Deaf when she was two and a half years old and graduated in 1963.  Her deaf brother, Wesley Miller, graduated from ASD in 1970.  

A supervising teacher at ASD strongly advised Kathy’s mother not to let her attend Gallaudet College, so to qualify for Willimantic State College (WSC), she had to take a year of high school courses at South Windsor High School before enrolling at WSC. After a year and a half, the Dean of Students at WSC had the foresight to convince Kathy’s mother to let her transfer to Gallaudet.  Kathy lost no time in getting to Gallaudet and graduated in 1968. She received her Master’s in Deaf Education at Western Maryland College. 

She taught junior and high school students for over thirty years and was a work experience coordinator at ASD for about 12 years until her retirement. After her retirement, she taught deaf children in Saipan, CNMI, for two years. 

For several years, Kathy and her husband, Al Darby, taught Driver’s Safety classes in Connecticut and other states for AARP.  She also helped to teach Deaf consumers how to use their mobile phones for Sprint Relay.

Kathy received a Special Recognition Award for her excellent standard of performance and training of ASD students who participated in the Work Experience Program. Her award recipient was selected by the State Leadership Council, a statewide group of professionals who worked in CWE/DO areas and met regularly to provide direction to the state association.

Her hobbies include bowling, crafts, reading, crocheting, sewing, hiking, kayaking, and traveling.  Kathy also served as an officer in the following organizations, the New England Deaf Women Bowling Association, the National Deaf Women Bowling Association, and the Greater Hartford Club of the Deaf as secretary and treasurer.

She was married to Al Darby, an ASD alumnus who passed away in 2017, and has two sons and seven grandchildren

Kathy spends many hours volunteering at the Cogswell Heritage House and working on the ASD Pioneers website. She was elected an ASD corporate member in 2014, and has been on the Board of Directors since 2016.

Mitchell, Mary Emma Rose

Mary Emma Rose (m. Mitchell; m. Totten)

See  Rose, Mary Emma (m. Mitchell; m. Totten)

Moore, Harry Humphrey

Harry Humphrey Moore

Class of 1863

Student #1371

Artist

Harry Humphrey Moore was born in New York City, New York, on July 2, 1844, the son of Capt. George Harris Moore and Eliza Lavinia Humphrey. He became deaf at the age of two from a fall, and had a brother, Gideon E. Moore, who started losing his hearing as a teenager.

He attended the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia and transferred to the American Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb in 1858 at the age of fourteen. After graduating in 1863, he started studying art in New Haven, Connecticut, and went to Philadelphia to study oil painting. He traveled to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and ended up living there for over forty years.

Harry traveled frequently, and in 1872, he married a hearing woman, Isabella de Cistue y Nieto, from a prominent military family who knew sign language because of a deaf childhood friend. He opened a studio in New York and participated in exhibitions at the National Academy of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

He had two solo showings in San Francisco, and there he met a philanthropist and art collector who invited him and his wife to accompany her to Japan.  Harry became one of the first American artists to go there, and it was in Japan he created over sixty paintings, which are now among his most well-known works.

His wife, Isabel, died, and Harry married again to a hearing Polish wife, Maria Gorecka.

Harry’s brother, Gideon, studied chemistry at Yale University and became the first Deaf person to earn a Ph.D. degree. Before he died in 1895, Gideon called upon Rev. Thomas Gallaudet, the son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, to his bedside to provide spiritual guidance.

Harry spent most of his later career painting portraits of children, wealthy Americans, and members of the European nobility.  Shortly after World War I, he went to live in Europe and died in Paris at the age of eighty-one on January 2, 1926.

Harry Humphrey Moore’s studio with his collected treasures

“Best of Friends”  

Hung in the Cogswell Heritage House

 

 

 

Morales, Milmaglyn (F/S)

Milmaglyn Morales

Class of 1998

Student #5698

Teacher & Principal

Milmaglyn Morales was born in Puerto Rico and came to Connecticut when she was 2½ years old and, at the age of 3, she was enrolled at ASD. Upon graduating in 1998, she entered Gallaudet College in September 1998, but, in 2000, she was transferred to Naugatuck Valley Community College, in Waterbury, CT, to obtain her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. After that, she went to the University of Hartford, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2005. In 2009, she also received her Master’s Degree at Central Connecticut State University. In addition to her extensive education, she received her 6th Year Educational Leadership Certificate in May 2021, and a Certificate Visual Communication Sign Language Evaluation, which involved interpreting and consulting.   

At ASD, she started as a Teacher Aide/PACES Residential Counselor, and later became a 1st Grade teacher in 2005. In the fall of 2008, she moved to Massachusetts, where she got a job as Preschool Teacher at Early Childhood Center at the Learning Center for the Deaf. In 2012, she returned to ASD to teach in PACES, and then, in 2021 as a Preschool Teacher. In the fall of 2022, she started teaching at the Learning Center for the Deaf at Marie Philip School’s Early Childhood Center as  in West Hartford, CT as Principal.

She currently is an evaluator for the quality assurance screening program at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, where she screens interpreters. She has worked in the Education field for 26 years, and since 2011, she has been a certified Deaf interpreter involved in mentoring, teaching, and interpreting ASL. She also has served on the NAD Board as Secretary as well as the Signs and Smiles Board as a Board Member. In addition to her busy schedule, she has been involved in two different non-profit organizations: Connecticut Association of the Deaf and Council de Manos. 

She and her husband, Curt Hayward, are proud parents of three daughters and two bonus daughters: Farah, Breena, Mia, Sofia, and Baylee, who all are hearing children of Deaf Adults (CODA).  Her husband is currently the Culinary Arts teacher at ASD.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left to right: Milmaglyn Morales, Farah, Brenna, Mia, Sofia, Baylee and Curt Hayward. Farah is now an ASL interpreter and working for Interpak Interpreting Agency in Rochester, NY, Brenna is a student at Keene State University studying to become a teacher, Mia and Sofia are juniors in high school, and Baylee is a 3rd grader.

 

 

Moran, John Dominick Sr. (F/S)

John Dominick Moran, Sr.

Class of 1907

Student #2635

Founder & Coach of First Men’s Basketball Team at ASD

John Dominick Moran, Sr. was born in New Britain, Connecticut, on August 9, 1889, the son of John D. and Mary Moran. He lost his hearing from spinal meningitis at the age of four.

He attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and as a seventeen-year-old student, organized the school’s first men’s basketball team and became its coach. The team won six games and lost three that first year.  John graduated from the Asylum in 1907.

He was first employed as a building contractor working with his father, and later he worked at Landers, Frary & Clark, a housewares company based in New Britain.

John was dedicated to basketball coaching, and he organized the first Connecticut Silent Five basketball team. He coached the ASD basketball team in 1909-1910 (10 wins and 4 losses) and 1910-1911 (17 wins and 5 losses).

He had an active hand in chartering several state chapters of the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf. He also served as president, secretary, and trustee of the Deaf-Mutes Benevolent Society of Connecticut.

John was the first president of the newly formed ASD Alumni Association in 1914. He was also president of the New England Gallaudet Association of Deaf-Mutes in 1920 and 1940.

He married Caroline E. Cox, and they had a son, John Moran, Jr. and a daughter, Marie (Moran), Synder. They resided in Bloomfield, Connecticut, for thirty-two years.

John died in Bloomfield, Connecticut, on October 17, 1957, at the age of sixty-eight.

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Morin, Lois Jean Gower

Lois Jean Gower (m. Morin)

See  Gower, Lois Jean (m. Morin)

Morse, Clarissa

Clarissa Morse

Class of 1827

Student #119

First Deaf Female Teacher at the Ohio Institute for the Deaf

Clarissa Morse was born in Berkshire, Massachusetts, on January 1, 1800, the daughter of Captain John Morse and Temperance Hamlin. She was born deaf and had a deaf cousin. Her brother, John Flavel Morse, was a politician and Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives. They were descended from Samuel F. B. Morse, who invented the telegraph in the 1840s.

She attended the American Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb in 1823, six years after the school first opened, and graduated in 1827. Her mother taught Clarissa to read and write before her attendance, so she was able to excel in her studies. 

Clarissa became the first deaf female teacher at the Ohio Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in 1833 and taught there for two years. Among her colleagues were William Willard and Danforth E. Ball, who were also graduates of the American Asylum in Hartford, Connecticut. After Clarissa left teaching, more than thirty years would pass before another deaf female teacher would be hired at the Ohio Institution.

She died in Kirtland, Ohio, on September 18, 1871, and is buried at the Kirtland South Cemetery in Kirtland, Ohio.

Note of Interest:  Samuel F. B. Morse worked with Amos Kendall, who later helped to raise funds to establish the National Deaf-Mutes College (Now Gallaudet University). Samuel F. B. Morse’s second wife, who was deaf, Sarah Elizabeth Griswold, attended the New York School for the Deaf (Fanwood) in 1833. She provided funds and encouragement for her husband’s work on the telegraph. She was also said to have helped inspired Amos Kendall to establish a new school for the deaf (Columbia Institution for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind) in Washington, D.C., in 1857. Samuel F. B. Morse was a board trustee of NYSD from 1861-1863.

Mozzer, Susan A. (m. Mather)

Susan A. Mozzer (m. Mather)

Class of 1969

Student #4237

First ASD Female to Earn Doctorate

Susan A. Mozzer was born on January 22, 1951, in Manchester, Connecticut, the daughter of Raymond Mozzer, DDS, and Helen Pescusky Mozzer. She has a deaf sister, Kathleen, a 1966 ASD Alumnae, and a deaf cousin Joe Hoha, Jr, a 1937 ASD Alumna.

Susan has demonstrated excellence in her life, starting with graduation from the American School for the Deaf in 1969, along with two notable graduates, Marie Philip and Roberto Wirth. She entered the Rochester Institute of Technology, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work and got her Master of Arts degree in linguistics from Gallaudet University in1987. Susan earned a Ph.D. in sociolinguistics with minors in applied linguistics and anthropology from Georgetown University. She is the first Deaf female to earn a doctorate in the history of the American School for the Deaf.

While a student at RIT, Susan recognized the need for greater awareness and understanding of Deaf culture and ASL in the hearing community.  At her plea, a city mayor proclaimed one week in October 1973 to be “Listen to the Deaf Week” and encouraged citizens to celebrate the Deaf culture and ASL as a language. There, she developed the first kind of buttons of handshape, “ILY” (I  Love You), designed by Charles Baird. Her action propelled the creation of future Deaf Awareness Week and Deaf Expo events in the country and an explosion of sales of ILY jewelry and artwork by others.

Susan also served as a chairperson of the 1972 Junior National Association of Deaf (Jr. NAD) convention at RIT. The theme of the conference was “Speak Up! Recognition Through Involvement Is The Answer.” The main idea behind the theme was to empower high-school students from 59 schools in USA.

Inspired by Grant Young, a 1957 ASD graduate and member of the ’68 Deaf Winter Olympics cross-country and downhill skier, Susan took up cross-country skiing. She was the first female American skier to participate in the Deaf Winter Olympics Games in Adelboden, Switerzland.

After earning her Ph.D., Susan worked at Gallaudet University Lingingustics Department for twenty-nine years.  There, she pioneered linguistic studies of appropriate eye gaze in the classroom, thus opening it for further studies by others. Susan published articles and gave lectures and workshops in the States and other countries as far as Siberia. She also co-developed training programs on visually-based classroom discourses, emphasizing visual approaches, rather than auditory, for teaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing students.

Susan is co-author of the well-acclaimed book, Movers & Shakers: Deaf People Who Changed the World.  The book illustrated the lives of twenty-six unique Deaf people and how they faced the challenges in their lives. It was the first book to portray a diverse group of Deaf individuals.

She is married to Robert “Bob” Mather from Oak Park, Illinois, one of the first few Deaf-born lawyers. He credits Susan for encouraging him to apply for law school and supporting his studies with working two jobs. Bob worked as a trial attorney with the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice and is now in private practice.

Susan and Bob have two Deaf children, Roberta and Sam, and two Deaf grandchildren and one Koda grandson.

She is quick to attribute the character-building experiences she had growing up at ASD for her successes and those of others. Currently, she is serving on the ASD Board of Directors and Education Committee.

N

Neilson, Philip Hale

Philip Hale Neilson

Class of 1824

Student #53

Philip H. Neilson was born in Noble, Lamar County, Texas, on June 19, 1806. He became deaf from a fever at the age of two. He was the son of William Neilson, Jr. and Sarah Lewis Hale.

He came to the Connecticut Asylum in 1819, two years after its inception, when he was twelve years old, and graduated in 1824. He returned to Texas, where he settled in business, and until the end of his life, he kept up a correspondence with the school. In one of his letters, he sent his photograph, which is pictured above.

Philip married a hearing woman, Sarah Baddilly Howorth, and they had thirteen children.

He owned the Warm Springs Hotel in (Hot Springs) Warm Springs, North Carolina, which expanded into a summer resort years later. He attempted to start a private school for the deaf on his property and petitioned the state legislature multiple times to establish a school for the deaf without any luck.

He was also a farmer.

Philip died on April 6, 1890, and is buried in Wolfe City, Texas.

 

Newcomb, Ellen Goodwin (m. Fisher)

Ellen Goodwin Newcomb (m. Fisher)

Class of 1837

Student #383

Ellen Goodwin Newcomb was born on December 10, 1817, in Sandwich, Massachusetts, the daughter of Lemuel Newcomb and Rebecca Robbins. She had two Deaf brothers John and Josiah, and two Deaf sisters, Abigail and Jane.

She attended the American Asylum for the Deaf in 1831 and graduated in 1837. All her Deaf siblings also went to the Asylum.

Ellen married James Fisher, Jr., an 1832 graduate of the Asylum, and moved to Tennessee, where her husband taught at the deaf school. The Superintendent of the Georgia School for the Deaf, Wesley O. Conner, reopened the school at the end of the Civil War in 1867 and brought Ellen and her husband, James, to the school. Ellen became the school’s first Deaf librarian and prided herself on telling stories in sign language from books to her students in the library. Her husband, James, also taught at the Georgia Institution. During the Civil War, he forged swords for the Confederacy in Atlanta and Richmond. Supt. Conner considered Ellen and James so valuable that he would not let them go during the shift to oralism after the Milan Congress in 1880.

She died in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 7, 1902. She and her husband James are buried in the Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA.

The Georgia School for the Deaf named the library in her honor, the “Ellen G. Fisher Library” in 1907. After the next Superintendent James C. Harris, took over, he changed the school language policy from signs to oralism, and Ellen’s name was removed from the library, burying her legacy for over one hundred years.

Newell, William "Bill" Francis

William “Bill” Francis Newell

Class of 1930

Student #3225

William Francis Newell was born on September 18, 1908, in New Britain, Connecticut, the son of William Newell and Annie McFarland. He had a deaf brother, Robert, who graduated from the American School for the Deaf in 1931. William attended ASD and graduated in 1930. He participated in football and baseball and repaired a sundial that was a gift from the Class of 1930 to ASD.

William worked as a printing supervisor at the Aetna Insurance Company for many years.  After retiring, he became a frequent substitute teacher at the American School for the Deaf.

He married Eunice Dimock, an ASD graduate, and they had a daughter, Jean, and a son, William. His son, Rev. William Dimock Newell of Champaign, Illinois, served as a bi-vocational minister for the Deaf at Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church for many years and was a member of the Illinois Association for the Deaf/Illinois Chapter, serving many terms as one of their officers.

William was very active in the Deaf community, having served in several organizations. He was an officer of the National Society of the Deaf, president (1946-1948), and secretary (1956-1960) of the American School for the Deaf Alumni Association (ASDAA). He was also an assistant treasurer of the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf and a member of the Greater Hartford Club of the Deaf.

Governor of Connecticut, William A. O’Neill, appointed him to the state Commission on the Deaf and Hearing Impaired. He served as the vice-chairperson of the commission.

Through his efforts, the ASDAA presented an oil painting of Laurent Clerc and granite benches around the Gallaudet-Alice Cogswell statue to ASD.

ASDAA proclaimed October 5, 1985, as William Newell Day in honor of his services to the Deaf community.

He died in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, on March 9, 1995, and is buried at Rose Hill Memorial Park in Rocky Hill.

Norwood, Malcolm Joseph "Mac"

Malcolm Joseph “Mac” Norwood

Class of 1943

Student #3752

Malcolm Joseph Norwood was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on March 16, 1927, the son of Malcolm Norwood, Sr. and Josephine Bitter.  He lost his hearing from measles and scarlet fever at the age of five.

His parents sent him to a public school where he struggled with communication. The school nurse advised his mother to send him to the American School for the Deaf, where Malcolm enrolled and graduated in 1943 with honors at the age of sixteen.

He entered Gallaudet College in 1943 and was an editor of The Buff and Blue in his senior year. He graduated from Gallaudet College in 1949 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

He taught at Texas School for the Deaf for a year (1949-1950) and returned to ASD to teach for two years. He earned his Master of arts degree from the University of Hartford in 1957. 

Malcolm married Marjorie L. Hale on August 29, 1952, and they had five children. 

In 1957, he moved to West Virginia to become a teacher and administrator at the West Virginia School for Deaf and Blind (WVSDB). He also coached a championship basketball team. While at WVSDB, he collected many filmstrips and regularly ordered foreign films for his students. He believed children would benefit from watching and comprehending media.

He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Gallaudet University in 1972. He acquired his Ed.D degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Maryland in 1976.

Malcolm became involved in the Captioned Films for the Deaf program (now the Described and Captioned Media Program, DCMP) in 1962. Eventually, he became its mainstay and leader, serving as chief from 1972 until his retirement in 1988. As the head of this organization, Norwood became a leading advocate for the development of closed captioning on television. Norwood’s pioneering work on television and film captioning improved access to media for deaf and hard of hearing Americans. Although Emerson Romero preceded his experiment with captioned media, Norwood was responsible for popularizing the captioning technique.

He was the first deaf professional to work at the Department of Education and head a major program there. Norwood was at the forefront of almost every research and development program related to captioned media for the deaf. Most importantly, Norwood was the first to envision the possibilities of closed captioning on television. Norwood explored the possibility of captioning television programs when hearing viewers rejected the prospect of embedding open captions on television networks: the solution was to produce closed captions—captions that could be turned on by people who want to view them.

 He is regarded as the “father of closed-captioning.”

He retired in 1988 and died on March 22, 1989, a week after his 62nd birthday.


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Palka, Dennis (F/S)

Dennis Thomas Palka

Class of 1971

Student #4566 

Dennis Thomas Palka was born in East Hartford, Connecticut, on May 6, 1954, the son of Albina Chilvin and Joseph Louis Palka. He had a deaf sister, Ursula (Palka) Tiberio. 

Dennis attended the American School for the Deaf until his graduation in 1971. He went on to Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. for his B.A. degree and then to Western Maryland College, where he obtained his Master’s degree in Education of the Deaf.

After graduation, he returned to ASD in 1977 to begin a long and illustrious career as a teacher. He taught Mathematics to younger and older deaf students, was a well-respected athletic coach, a union federation president, and liaison for deaf international students attending the school. 

He was a chairperson for the ASD Alumni Association chapter preparing for the school’s 200th anniversary in 2017. He was very active as a leader in the local and national Deaf community, most notably as President of the Hartford Club of the Deaf. Dennis lived most of his life in East Hartford before moving to Bolton and finally to West Hartford. 

Dennis loved the American School for the Deaf, where he grew up as a student and continued to grow when he returned as a teacher, known by all for his infectious humor and smile. A proud man, Dennis expected and wanted only the best from and for his students. He was a winner of numerous awards for his leadership and athletic coaching. 

He passed away suddenly on March 25, 2016, from complications of a routine heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. He is buried in the Silver Lane Cemetery in East Hartford, Connecticut. 

The ASD softball field was named the “Dennis T. Palka Softball Field” in honor of Dennis.

Palka, Joseph Lewis

Joseph Lewis Palka

Class of 1943

Student #3408

Joseph Lewis Palka was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on November 5, 1921, the son of Joseph Palka and Mary Grzybowska. He was the last surviving one of ten children. 

He graduated from the American School for the Deaf in 1943. After graduation, he worked at Pratt and Whitney for 37 years and retired in 1983. 

In 1950, he married Albina Ursula Chilvin, who also attended ASD with a deaf brother, Vito.  

They had two deaf children, Ursula Tiberio, who taught at the Florida School for the Deaf, and a son, Dennis, who was a math teacher/coach at ASD.  Joseph’s wife passed away in 1985, and his son, Dennis, passed away in 2016.  

Joseph was a very active member of the Greater Hartford Club of the Deaf from 1940 to his death. He was fond of playing cards and Switch games there. His involvement for a long time included the presidency of this non-profit organization and the American School for the Deaf Alumni Association.  He also volunteered at many different activities for which he was awarded honors. 

He also was a member of the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf and Deaf Catholic Apostolate in West Hartford. When he retired, he enjoyed subbing at his favorite alma mater and was loved by the students. Among his cherished close friends were Bill and Jane Crowley, Al and Sophie Chiaravallo, Wilton and Mary Johnson, and Grant and Betty Young. He considered them his “brothers” and “sisters,” and any day he visited with them was a well-spent day!

He died in East Hartford on March 5, 2005, at the age of eighty-three. He is buried at the Silver Lane Cemetery in East Hartford, Connecticut, next to his wife and son.

Palmento, Barbara Clare

Barbara Clare Palmento

Class of 1968

Student #4139

Barbara Claire Palmento was born on December 4, 1948, in Waterbury, Connecticut, the daughter of Ruth and Joseph Palmento.

She was active at the school as a president of the Senior Class, the Dramatics Club, and the Laurent Clerc Literary. She graduated from the American School for the Deaf in 1968.

Barbara graduated from Gallaudet College in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and the California State University at Northridge with a Masters in Deaf Education.

She taught at the North Carolina School for the Deaf (NCSD) for thirty-four years and retired in 2008. She was honored by the school as Teacher of the Year in 2007 in recognition for years of devoted and tireless service. Her students always came first, and she was quick to lend a helping hand whenever needed. She sponsored many student organizations and extracurricular activities and served as the yearbook advisor for twelve years.

The NCSD Yearbook was twice dedicated to Barbara in 1984 & 2008 for her dedication and commitment as a strong advocate for students that started when she joined the teaching staff in 1973. Her true passion was in teaching Language Arts, and she always maintained high expectations for her students. She also freely gave her time to mentor new teachers.

When the North Carolina School for the Deaf, Morganton, was in danger of reduced services and consolidation with the other two programs for the deaf due to budgetary constraints in 2010, Barbara was among the first to fight for the students. She made many trips to Raleigh, lobbying intensively to save the school, and her efforts proved to be successful.

Serving as President of the NCSD Foundation Board of Directors, Barbara played a significant role in developing a private non-profit independent-living retirement community for the Alder Spring Deaf & Blind Community. The goal was to “bring in deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, blind CODAs or anyone who can sign and is over 50 years old,” said Barbara. “We want them to enjoy their lives during their golden years.”  Alder Springs collaborated with NCSD to have students perform community service hours to help set up furniture, clean and maintain the community grounds, and offer customer service, thereby gaining valuable learning experiences.

Not content to rest on her laurels, she continues to be active in the North Carolina Deaf community. She was a member and secretary of the North Carolina Association of the Deaf, and on the Advisory Board Director for Big Brothers and Sisters, Inc. Other advisory councils she served on are for the North Carolina School for the Deaf, Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge and North Carolina Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Governor appointed). She is also a Board Director of the Alder Springs Deaf & Blind Community and the Morganton Cable TV.

Barbara was inducted in the ASD Hall of Fame for Excellence in 2017.

Panara, Robert "Bob" Frederic

Robert Frederic Panara

Class of 1940

Student #3797

Robert (“Bob”) Panara was born in Bronx, New York, on July 8, 1920, the son of John Panara and Maria Perrotta.

He entered P.S. 103 in Bronx, New York, in 1925. At age ten, he contracted spinal meningitis. After graduating from P.S. 103, he followed a friend to De Witt Clinton High School and graduated in June 1938.

Bob had a lifelong fascination with baseball, and as a young boy, he idolized Babe Ruth, the legendary New York Yankees player. His father arranged for Bob to meet him, which was an unforgettable moment for him.

Upon meeting Gallaudet College President Percival Hall, Bob told him that he had never met a deaf person growing up. Dr. Hall informed him that he needed to know sign language before entering Gallaudet College and urged him to learn sign language at the American School for the Deaf first. Thus, Bob entered ASD for a year, graduating in 1940 before enrolling at Gallaudet College.

He entered Gallaudet College (Gallaudet University) in the fall of 1940 and graduated in 1945 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He was the first Deaf student to earn a Master of Arts degree in English from New York University. He learned history, stories, and poems from his favorite professors, Lloyd Harrison of ASD and Frederick Hughes of Gallaudet College.

Bob taught at the New York School for the Deaf and then was hired to teach at Gallaudet University in 1948, where he taught for nearly 20 years. Then he joined the newly formed National Technical Institute for the Deaf (part of the Rochester Institute of Technology) and showed and was an administrator there for another 20 years.

Bob met his wife Shirley at a wedding, and they married in 1947. She was a Deaf librarian, teacher, coach, sports enthusiast, and the first Deaf librarian at the Library of Congress.

They had a son, John, and two grandchildren. John followed in his father’s footsteps by teaching English at RIT/NTID.

As a pioneer of deaf studies, Bob was highly-respected and influential, helping to change the life of many people in the deaf community. In 1965, he was invited by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, John W. Gardner, to serve on a national advisory board for establishing the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID). That experience would later lead to him being hired as the first deaf faculty member at NTID in 1967. He also was the founder and first chairman of NTID’s Department of English. During his time at NTID, he received multiple awards and honors. Still, one of his most notable would be founding the NTID Experimental Education Theatre program. He was also one of the founding members of the National Theatre of the Deaf in Connecticut.

In addition to his passion for poetry, Bob loved the theater and created a form of production that could be accessible equally to both Deaf and hearing audience members. A 500-seat auditorium was built in his honor in the early 1970s and would open as The Robert F. Panara Theatre on October 3, 1974, with the first production, Shakespeare’s play Taming of the Shrew. The theatre has hosted famous guests such as Phyllis Frelich, Marlee Matlin, Bernard Bragg, the American Deaf Dance Company, Jane Fonda, and many other notable entertainers. It was a significant honor for Bob that brought awareness and growth to the Deaf Community.

Other awards include the RIT Founders Award, the RIT Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching, and the NTID Student Association Outstanding Staff Award.

The Deaf author, Harry G. Lang, was a long-time friend of Bob, and he wrote “Teaching from the Heart and Soul – The Robert F. Panara Story.”

He died in a nursing home in Rochester, New York, on July 20, 2014, at the age of ninety-four.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) immortalized Robert Panara as the 16th inductee into the U.S. Postal Service’s Distinguished American stamp series on a Forever stamp in 2017. The dedication ceremony took place at the theatre bearing his name at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. It featured a photograph of Robert Panara signing the word “respect,” which was taken by NTID photographer Mark Benjamin and designed by USPS art director E

thel Kessler.

 

Parker, Charles Sr.

Charles Parker, Sr.

Class of 1846

Student #684

Charles Parker, Sr.  was born in West Rupert, Vermont, on September 25, 1827, the son of Col. Joseph Parker and Mary Montgomery.

He was educated at the American Asylum for the Deaf and Deaf from 1841 to 1846. He became a farm laborer after graduation.

Charles married Ellen Rebecca Wright of Keene, New Hampshire, on November 2, 1855, and had six children, Caleb, Charles, Jr. Christopher, Cyrus, Clarisse, and Clara. Ellen was a graduate of the Asylum in 1852. 

He created the New Illustrated Manual Alphabet, which depicted a variety of manual and body alphabets, including narrative descriptions of their intended uses, audiences, and histories. He published “The Alphabet for the Deaf and Dumb” in 1856.

 He was a member of the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf-Mutes in 1853.

He died in Rupert, Vermont, on July 19, 1912, at the age of eighty-five. He is buried at the West Rupert Cemetery in West Rupert, Vermont.

Parkinson, Joseph Griffin

Joseph Griffin Parkinson

Class of 1863

Student #1483

First Deaf Lawyer in America

Joseph Griffin Parkinson was born in Sandwich, Maine, on August 10, 1849. He was one of the twin sons of Rev. Royal Parkinson and Joanna Griffin. His hearing loss was caused by scarlet fever at the age of nine. His hearing twin brother was Robert Henry Parkinson.

He attended the American Asylum School for the Deaf and Dumb in 1861 and graduated in 1863 at the age of fourteen. He entered the National Deaf-Mute College (now Gallaudet University) and graduated in 1869 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He attended the Washington Law School and received an honorary Masters of Arts degree from Dartmouth College in 1874.

He married a hearing woman, Sally Garrett, in Washington, D.C., on July 27, 1874, and they had two children, Lee Dodge Parkinson and Louise Griffin (Parkinson) Arnoldson.

He worked for the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, D.C., for many years. His work was so good that he was eventually promoted to the position of Chief Examiner of Patents. In 1883, he began a private practice in patent law in Cincinnati, Ohio, in partnership with his brother, having resigned from the Patent Office. The firm eventually opened a branch office in Chicago, Illinois, and sometime later, their partnership was dissolved. Joseph continued to practice patent law alone until disappearing from the records after 1902. 

At the time, (first name unknown) Godfogle of New York and Theodore Grady of California were two other Deaf lawyers in the United States, but Mr. Parkinson was the only patent lawyer, and the first Deaf person to practice law.

Joseph was instrumental in getting the name of the “National Deaf-Mute College” changed to “Gallaudet College” in 1894.

He died in Chicago, Illinois, on July 26, 1916, and is buried at the Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago.

Peterkin, Lillian Marie Garcia

Lillian Marie Garcia (m. Peterkin)

See  Garcia, Lillian Marie (m. Peterkin)

Philip, Joan

Joan Philip

Class of 1978

Activist/Advocate

 

Joan Philip is a Massachusetts native, born in Worcester, and a 2nd generation Deaf in her Deaf family with two Deaf sisters, Marie and Sue, and Deaf Aunt, Violet (Philip) Burtt (ASD 1960). She also had a Deaf Uncle, Richard Provost, who was her mother’s brother. He also was a graduate of ASD. After graduating from ASD in 1978, Joan attended Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University). Joan is the 5th and last generation in her family to graduate from ASD.       

 

In 1979, she was crowned Miss Deaf Massachusetts, representing the Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf (MSAD). She was one of the contestants at the Centennial National State Association of the Deaf Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1980.

 

She is currently the Director of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Independent Living Services at the Center for Living & Working, Inc. in Central Massachusetts, a position she has held for the past 35 years. She was one of the originators of the Deaf Services Program at CLW, which began as a pilot program under the Massachusetts Office of Deafness (now the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing).  

 

In addition to her current position, she is on the Board of Directors for our Deaf Survivors Center, Inc. (ODSC). In 2009, Joan attended a six-day training called the Justice for Deaf Victims National Training sponsored by the Abused Deaf Women Advocacy Services in Seattle, Washington. She is one of the few Deaf trainers for Domestic and Sexual Violence Awareness in Massachusetts, as well as the Education and Training Chair for ODSC, who recruited individuals to become Volunteer Advocates for the ODSC Hotline overnight during 2014-2017. She also chaired a few fundraising events for ODSC, including the Beacon of Light & Fireflies Gala in October 2022.

 

For fourteen years, she taught American Sign Language [ASL] evening classes, which included Deaf Awareness content at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester to medical students before the program closed due to budget cuts. She also mentored hearing mentees learning ASL and aspiring interpreters through the MCDHH’s Peer Mentorship Program. 

 

Joan is currently the President of the Worcester Deaf Club, Inc., and continuing her father’s legacy by keeping the club going. She was also a past President of the Deaf Women of Massachusetts during the years 2011-2013, as well as co-chair for the Regional Deaf Women of New England Conference in 2012 which had the largest number of attendees in New England history. During 2014-2018, she was the American School for the Deaf Alumni Association Recording Secretary.

 

In honor of her work as an advocate/activist among the Deaf, she has received several awards: Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) in 1986, the East Area Quota International Club Outstanding Deaf Woman of the Year in 1988, a City of Worcester Key from Mayor Jordan Levy in 1988, the Richard J. Bond Award for Excellence in Human Services in 1992, the Laurent Clerc Award – Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf for long-standing commitment and dedication to the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Community of Massachusetts in 2007, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Independent Living Center Distinguished Service Award in 2006, the Deaf Women Achievement Award from the National Deaf Women United in 2015, the Lifetime Worcester Deaf Club Member Award in 2014 and a 35-Year Service Award from Center Living & Working, Inc. in 2022.       

 

Joan loves her job and has seen significant personal growth in their consumers. She owes this to her father, who was an ardent advocate in the community, helping and advising the Deaf, as there were no services for Deaf people then. During “the famous family dinners,” Joan and her family sat at the table and talked for hours about many different topics, with her father as the advocate and people who dropped in for help. He became the role model for his three daughters and started a legacy to preserve and continue the excellent work at CLW and the Deaf Community.

 

She is a single mother of two Deaf children: her daughter Jessica Meehan and son Jonah Meehan, who are both the 3rd generation Deaf. They both graduated from the Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham. Jessica graduated from the Framingham State University, Class of 2018, and Jonah graduated from Gallaudet University, Class of 2011. She is currently living in Shrewsbury with two beloved cats.

Philip, Susan "Sue"

Susan “Sue” Philip

Class of 1975

Activist/Advocate

 

Susan “Sue” Philip came from a family of Deaf members with two Deaf sisters, Marie (ASD 1969) and Joan Philip (ASD 1978); she was born on September 2, 1955, in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Deaf parents. Their father attended the Clarke School in Northampton, Massachusetts, for two years after attending the Upsala School in Worcester, which did not offer high school classes. Their mother attended the Beverly School for the Deaf in Beverly, MA, which also did not offer high school classes. Her uncle, Richard Provost, graduated from ASD in 1968. Her sister, Marie, started attending ASD at the age of four, while Sue and Joan began at the age of three. Another relative, Aunt Violet L. (Philip Burtt, ASD 1960), of Worcester, MA, also attended ASD but entered late at 14. Sue and her sisters were very happy at ASD when their parents realized that it was the best school for them.

 

While a student at ASD, Sue was very active in many student organizations such as SBG, Girls Athletic Association for the Deaf, Girls Residence Association [GRA], and JR NAD as an officer, co-editor of the “ASD Focus,” a student newsletter, and many committees. She was also a Prom and Homecoming Queen. At ASD, she learned to hone her activist skills as a future advocate of Deaf organizations.   

 

Upon graduation from ASD in 1975, Sue wanted college experience, so she applied at eleven hearing colleges and went to Eastfield Junior College in Mesquite, Texas (1976), where she majored in Liberal Arts for three years with ASL interpreters and notetaking accommodations. In her junior year, Sue applied at Gallaudet University, but when told she needed to start as a freshman, she declined and went to the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. Due to difficulties she faced there, she decided to return to Massachusetts.

 

Sue got a job as a coordinator at the Disability Law Center working with two other coordinators to develop logistics, assimilate information and provide outreach on Section 504 for a diverse Deaf and hearing population.

Then, she worked for DEAF, Inc. (Development, Evaluations, Adjustments, Facilities, Inc.), which NAD and MSAD (Mass State Association of the Deaf Inc) set up. Though she is no longer working at DEAF, Inc., the agency itself exists on its own today. She worked as an Independent Living Skills and Communication Evaluator specialist for five years. After that, she got a job at Northeastern University (NU) as a coordinator of Deaf services, working with prospective and enrolled students. Her role involved student life events, academics, intake interviews through commencement and overseeing the provision of services, such as sign language and oral interpreters, assistive listening devices, and tutoring arrangements. Sue also encouraged students to advocate for themselves. She also was an advisor to the Northeastern Deaf Club as well as co-chair of the NU Deaf Awareness Committee. Sue was a liaison coordinator between the Deaf Community and the NU. She also worked as a private mentor to ensure that people’s needs were met in learning to use ASL during their career as interpreters or working with others in various Deaf fields. In addition to her busy schedule, Sue continues as a private tutor, supporting people in developing an understanding Deaf Culture in the Worcester, MA communities.

 

During her busy career, Sue returned to Northeastern University for her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. Later, she explored getting a master’s degree in school counseling or juvenile delinquency but never got to, due to two deaths in her family, her father and sister, Marie.  

 

In addition to her work life, Sue was a board member of DEAF, Inc, a member of the Worcester Deaf Club, and editor of the “New England Flash News for the Deaf” newsletter with her sister Joan. She served as a committee member of the Mass Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH), and Deaf Mental Retardation Committee (now called DDS), the RFP committee, and MCDHH Statewide advisory council. She was the corresponding secretary for the ASD Alumni Association (ASDAA) for four years (2014-2017). 

 

Sue has received many awards and honors for her dedication in her work with the Deaf community, which are the Worcester Deaf Club, the Horace Excellence Award, the New England Athletic Association of the Deaf Service Appreciation Award, the Boston Society of Black Deaf Persons Appreciation Award, the Laurent Clerc Award from the Mass State Association of the Deaf Inc., Dr. Richard Thompson “Lifetime Achievement Award” (2009) from the Mass State Association of the Deaf Inc., and the Golden Hand by NAD (2015). 

Sue is currently the President of Our Deaf Survivors Center, Inc. (ODSC), a statewide non-profit organization that serves Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, and DeafBlind victims/survivors of sexual and domestic violence. It expanded recently with additional staffing and hopefully will continue to in the future with more program services.

 

Her late husband was Jim Flynn, a native of Philadelphia, PA, who graduated from Gallaudet University. Sue is currently living in Worcester, MA.

Pierz, Henry Albert

Henry Albert Pierz

Class of 1933

Student #3270

Devoted ASDAA Leader

Henry Albert Pierz was born in the Thompsonville section of Enfield, Connecticut, on July 10, 1913. He was the son of Andrzej Pierz and Elizabeth Smolen, both of whom immigrated to America from Galicia, Poland.  Henry enrolled at the American School for the Deaf and graduated in 1933.

Henry was employed as a wholesale worker in the Bigelow & Sanford Company in Enfield, Connecticut, for thirty-eight years and with the City of Hartford for seven years.

He was a member of the International Catholic Deaf Association, Chapter 30, Greater Hartford Club of the Deaf, Inc., and Deaf Senior Citizens, Inc. He was also a member of the St. Brigid Church, West Hartford, Connecticut.

Henry worked behind the scenes at ASDAA outings and Homecoming days for many years. He was the treasurer (1974-1975) and president (1971-1973 & 1975-1977) of ASDAA, and during his presidency, served on the corporate board of ASD. He served on many ASDAA committees and participated in many activities.  He was known for his dedication and unselfish devotion.

He married Mary Gimmartino, a 1935 ASD graduate, and they had a son. 

ASDAA proclaimed October 5, 1985, as Henry Pierz Day. Henry deserved the honor as a dedicated member of the ASDAA. He was also very active in the National Fraternal Association of the Deaf as well as Hartford ICDA #30.

He died at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center on October 30, 1991, at age seventy-eight. He is buried at the Mount St. Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield, Connecticut, next to his wife, Mary.

Q

Quinn, Elizabeth Ann

Elizabeth Ann Quinn

Class of 1967

Student #4245

Professional Theatre Actress

Elizabeth Ann Quinn was born on July 17, 1948, in Port Jervis, New York, the daughter of John Joseph Quinn and Anita Reilly. She became deaf at the age of two.

She entered the American School for the Deaf in 1954 and graduated in 1967. After a “brief and rebellious period in college,” Liz, as she is more commonly known, began her professional theatre career as a wardrobe mistress with the National Theater of the Deaf in 1973, and a year later joined the Chicago Children’s Theatre of the Deaf. In the mid-1970s, she moved to Austin, Texas, as an actress and director for the Spectrum, a Deaf artist colony.

She landed a role as Helen in The Trojan Woman for the Los Angeles Actors Theatre, which led to acting roles on American and British television shows such as “Nurse” (1981), “Where the Heart Is” (1997), and Waking the Dead (2004).

Liz was asked to be the understudy for the Sarah Norman role in the Broadway production of “Children of a Lesser God” and invited to play the same role in the London (England) Mermaid Theater in 1981. The play then moved to the West End (in London) for a two-year run.  After playing the role of Sarah for three months, she won the Society of West End Manager’s Best Actress Award. The play then moved to Australia at the end of its run at West End.

Liz also portrayed Mabel Gardiner Hubbard Bell, Alexander Graham Bell’s wife in “The Sound and the Silence,” a movie of AGB’s life in 1991.

In 1981, Liz collaborated with Michael Owen to write her autobiography, “Listen To Me – The Story of Elizabeth Quinn.” The book was published in 1984.

Another of her notable acting roles include “Fighting Chance” in Theatre Royal, Brighton, England in 1985, in which she played an academic who happened to be deaf.

Liz is married to actor Richard O’ Callaghan, an English film, stage and television character actor.

Elizabeth, an actress
Elizabeth in Teacher Gordon Clarke’s class

R

Rarus, Timothy Bloom

Tim Bloom Rarus

Left ASD in 1974

Student #5142

Tim Bloom Rarus was born on May 28, 1966, in Simsbury, Connecticut, the son of Deaf parents, Frank Rarus and Nancy Bloom. He comes from four generations of Deaf families. His Deaf grandfather, Edgar Bloom, Jr., was a chemist, scientist, author, and the first president of the New Jersey Association of the Deaf. Tim has a Deaf sister, Kim, who also attended ASD.

His father, Frank A. Rarus, was an ASD 1955 graduate. His mother, Nancy Bloom, taught at ASD from 1962 – 1977 and was a principal at the Arizona School for the Deaf from 1977 – 1988. She was an active member of the National Association of the Deaf and the Deaf Seniors of America.

Tim attended the American School for the Deaf from 1969 to 1974 and left when his mother moved to California and eventually to Arizona. He graduated from the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind in 1983.

While at Gallaudet University, he was politically active and known as one of the most outspoken students. He was one of the four student leaders in the Deaf President Now (DPN) movement in 1988, a watershed event that led to the appointment of the 124-year old university’s first Deaf president. Tim graduated from Gallaudet in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in government, and worked as a staff assistant to Senator John McCain, advising him on disability and ADA issues.

Tim married Brandi Sculthorpe on August 10, 1991, and they have three hearing sons and a Deaf daughter. Brandi was a former Miss Deaf America who is a well-known Deaf advocate and author.

He sought a career that would “combine his love for advocacy with business” and worked with the Communication Services for the Deaf (CSD) to implement interpreting services in Austin, Texas, and run the video relay services before the FCC mandated it. Eventually, Tim relocated to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to become vice president of the CSD’s video relay services.

He is now the Vice-President of Inside Sales for ZVRS/CSDVRS in Austin, Texas.

Ratcliffe, Gillian Hall

Gillian Hall (m. Ratcliffe)

See  Hall, Gillian (m. Ratcliffe)

Rinaldi, Anna Maria (F/S)

Anna Maria Rinaldi

Class of 1962

Student #3958

Anna Maria Rinaldi was born on April 13, 1943, in Waterbury, Connecticut, the daughter of Angelo and Ida (Ferri) Rinaldi.       

She enrolled at the American School for the Deaf in 1946 and graduated in 1962. She was a pupil reporter of the Hartford Courant newspaper and wrote many articles about ASD. She was awarded a certificate for outstanding writing.

Anna enrolled Gallaudet College in 1962 and graduated in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She taught reading and history at the American School for the Deaf for two years. While at ASD, she implemented the annual Senior Prom. In 1973, she took on the position of Coordinator of Career Programming for the Deaf in Salem, Oregon, and also worked at the Portland Community College. Several years later, she became the Coordinator, ITP (Interpreter Training Program) at the Dekalb Community College in Clarkston, Georgia. She developed curriculum and instruction for interpreter training and presented on resources for Deaf culture. 

One significant feat Anna is proud of is that she climbed Mt. Hood in Oregon in 1985.

Moving back to her beloved Connecticut, Anna worked as an assistant professor of Deaf Studies in the Languages department at Northwestern Connecticut Community College in Winsted, Connecticut, until her retirement in 2009.

She was the first recipient in 1985 of the prestigious Mary Stotler Award established to recognize people who have made significant contributions to the field of interpreting and interpreter education. She was the first Deaf person to be on the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Board.  Currently, Anna is a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI).

Rivas, Louis Alerto

Louis Alerto Rivas

Class of 1974; left ASD in 1973

Student #4486

Activist

Louis Alerto Rivas was born on June 6, 1953, in Catano (across from San Juan), Puerto Rico, the son of José and Juanita Rivas. The family later moved to New York City, where Louis underwent a prolonged illness that caused him to become deaf. He attended ASD from May 1960 to February 1973. While a pupil at the school, Louis participated in many activities with many organizations. His strongest memory was when he was the first student to ask the Greater Hartford Deaf Club (GHDC), hosting the 1972 AAAD Basketball Tournament, to let students from ASD join the tournament trip. After that, the GHDC asked Louis to be their student liaison during basketball games, limited to high school students only. After leaving ASD in 1973, he attended the National Technical Institute for the Deaf/RIT, where he majored drafting from 1976 to 1979.

He was a member of the Bridgeport Athletic Association of the Deaf and was on the 1975 basketball committee. He also participated in the Hispanic Committee Convention in the 1990s in Boston, Massachusetts. He was a Board Member of the Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf for two years in the 1980s, a Board Member of the Mass State Association of the Deaf, and former President. Louis was a Board Member of the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Statewide Advisory Council for four years. He served as Treasurer of the Deaf Awareness Committee and as an advocate for the New England Homes for the Deaf (NEHD). He was on the screening committee for the NEHD as Executive Director. In addition to his busy schedule, he was Chairperson of the ASDAA’s ACES Hall of Fame.

Before moving to Massachusetts in 1979, he was a member of the NTID Student Council [NSC] in Rochester, New York. He was Vice Chairperson of the Eastern Athletic Association of the Deaf (EAAD) Basketball Tournament in 1977. It was the first time in history that deaf students had hosted basketball games. After moving to Danvers, he joined the Revere Club of the Deaf [RCD], where he has served as Vice-President for three years; he also hosted the NEAAD Basketball Tournament as Chairperson in 1985, which was the first time that RCD had served as a host. He is the current Treasurer of Our Deaf Survivors Center (ODSC) based in Worcester, Massachusetts.

It should be noted that Louis became the first Hispanic Vice-President, and later, President of the NEAAD in the 1990s and was Chairperson of the 50th NEAAD Basketball Tournament held in Framingham, Massachusetts, in 1995. This game recorded over 1,000 fans in attendance. With Mark Hughey and John Moore, he developed and printed the NEAAD 50th History book.  

He and his wife of 47 years, Barbara, and their two daughters, Lori and Adina, with five grandchildren, now reside in Danvers, Massachusetts. He is currently employed by Home Depot as a hardware associate, a position he has held for 26 years. He has built two gazebos for the residents of NEHD through donations.

Gazebo built by Louis Rivas for NEHD in Danvers, Massachusetts


Rockwell, Walter Clinton (F/S)

Walter Clinton Rockwell

Class of 1909

Student #2693

Walter Clinton Rockwell was born on July 18, 1892, in Hartford, Connecticut, the same year as the 75th Anniversary of the American School for the Deaf. He was the son of John Warner Rockwell and Carrie K. Jones.

He enrolled at the American School for the Deaf (Old Hartford) in 1898 and graduated in 1909. He excelled in football, basketball, and baseball. A hero outside of athletics as well, he once received a gold medal for rescuing a girl from the Potomac River in 1910.

Walter attended Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University) and graduated in 1916 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He was one of the greatest athletes at Gallaudet College, starring in all three major sports, football, basketball, and baseball at Kendall Green. His Gallaudet football team scored a winning game 103-0 against Baltimore (Md.) City College on October 18, 1913. Connie Mack, a well-known manager of the Philadelphia Athletics of the Major League Baseball (MLB), was impressed Rockwell’s steady performance in baseball and offered him a tryout in MLB baseball.

He was the most famous athlete to come out of the “Old Hartford” School. Many believed Walter paved the way for the Deaf to compete with hearing students in any sport. He was a leader and playmaker that inspired his generation to excel in sports and was considered the greatest all-around athlete at Gallaudet College. He received an offer to play with the Philadelphia Athletics but turned it down because he preferred to play with Deaf athletes. As a coach, from 1935-1941, his teams were considered the best in Hartford County. He was inducted to the National Athletic Hall of Fame AAAD in 1955.

At ASD, Walter was the carpentry teacher, coach, and Athletic Director for 41 years. Retiring in 1957, Walter received a silver serving tray as a gift in a testimonial dinner at the Hotel Bond for his longest service of coaching. Joseph Marino, the chairperson of the event and ASD Executive Director, Dr. Edmund B. Boatner, presented him with the gift. Dr. Boatner named its gymnasium/vocational building in honor of Walter C. Rockwell.

He was the Vice President of J. H. Rockwell & Sons Company, Inc., a wood box factory in Hartford, Connecticut. His salary was $5,000 a year. His brother, John W. Rockwell, was the President/Treasurer of the company.

Walter was a member of ASDAA, Gallaudet College Alumni (Washington, D.C.), and St. Paul’s Mission for the Deaf (West Hartford).

He married Miriam Caroline Flenner, and they had a son, Walter Gordon Rockwell and two daughters, Elizabeth R. (Rockwell) Allen and Carolyn R. (Rockwell) Jones.

Walter was the first to be inducted in the ASDAA Athletic Hall of Fame in the American School for the Deaf when Steve Borsotti established the ASDAA Hall of Fame in 1989.

His wife, Miriam, died in Hartford on June 7, 1988, at the age of ninety. Walter died in West Hartford on June 9, 1992, at the age of ninety-nine, and is buried at the Mountain View Cemetery in Bloomfield, Connecticut.


Top left: Assistant Coach Henry J. Krostoski, ASD football player David Halberg and Head Coach Walter C. Rockwell

Top right: ASD dedicates its new gymnasium to him six months later. His formal portrait is presented to ASD in 1968, and is proudly displayed in the museum.

Top right: Walter C. Rockwell, ASD oldest Athlete Hall of Fame inductee in 1989

Bottom: ASDAA Hall of Fame chairperson, Steven Borsotti gives a certificate to Walter C. Rockwell.

Romano, Carmen "Carl Lil Bear"

Carmen “Carl Lil Bear” Arthur Romano

Class of 1969

Student #4176

Self-Taught Artist

Carl Carmen Romano was born on October 16, 1949, in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of immigrant Italian parents, Frank and Lucy (DeTulio) Romano. He had a Deaf sister, Mary Ann Romano, and a Deaf brother, Frank Romano.

He enrolled at the American School for the Deaf in 1952 and graduated in 1969. He graduated from the Technical Vocational Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1971.

An interest in hunting and trapping in the Northwest led to an encounter with a Native American who taught him how to hunt the Native American way through signs and gestures. That led to an interest in Native Americans and Haida totem poles. A Native American friend gave him the name “Lil’ Bear,” and he took the name in 1990. In 2001, he was formally adopted into a North Cheyenne family. 

He is a sculptor, woodcarver, and self-taught artist.

“Totem poles are part of our Deaf culture, language, and communication. I love to work with wood, the spirits of Native Americans, and especially with Bison (north), Bear (west), Wolf (south), and Eagles (east). My Uncle, Carmen, and artist James Woodenlegs are the biggest inspirations in my life.”

Ronan, Joseph “Joe”

Joseph “Joe” Ronan

Class of 2010

Student #6298

Volunteer Firefighter

Joseph Ronan was born on November 18, 1990, in Norwalk, Connecticut, the son of Delvia H. and Joneles Ronan. He became deaf at the age of eight months old and diagnosed with Waardenburg Syndrome (WS).

As a little boy, he loved to watch fire trucks and the Rescue 911 TV program. He attended two public hearing schools, Savin Rock Community School and ACES school, before transferring to the American School for the Deaf and graduating in 2010. He participated in soccer and basketball and was the 2010 ASD Homecoming King.

In 2007, while in high school, Joe wanted to challenge himself to do something different while having fun, so he decided to join a First Tech Challenge (FTC) team. He started as a participant, and his former teacher encouraged him to join the competition as a referee. 

He flourished as a dedicated volunteer and became the first Deaf Head Referee in 2015.

After graduation from ASD, he enrolled at Gateway Community College for six months but couldn’t decide between political science, robotics, or engineering. He began attending meetings at the North End Hose Company 3 fire station on Spring Street in West Haven with ASL interpreters to learn how to become a volunteer firefighter.

Then he began taking classes at the Valley Fire Chiefs Regional Fire School Firefighter training program learning about ropes, venting the roof, search and rescue, hoses and hazmat. His classmates were supportive, and in fire situations, they would give him signals about what needed to be done.

He graduated from the fire school with a certificate of completion, but since the state won’t certify him to be a firefighter because of his communication challenges, he is a volunteer firefighter assisting with hazmat, hose hookup, car crashes, brush fires, administering first aid, and other vital exterior tasks. 

His graduation from firefighting school was a significant accomplishment, given that only twenty-one of the thirty students who signed up for the class graduated. Joe is a go-getter with a passion for helping the Deaf community and proving that Deaf people can do anything.

Rose, Mary Emma (m. Mitchell; m. Tollen)

Mary Emma Rose (m. Mitchell; m. Totten)

Left Asylum in 1818

Student #19

Mary Emma Rose was born in New York City, New York, on January 2, 1808, the daughter of Joseph Rose, a merchant, and Frances M. (Stanton) Rose; she was born deaf.

She was nine years old when she was enrolled at the Connecticut Asylum for the Education of Deaf and Dumb Persons on May 20, 1817, the same year as Eliza Boardman (m. Clerc) of Whitesborough, New York. She stayed there for a year, and then was transferred to the New York Institution for Instruction for Deaf and Dumb, when the school was first opened in 1818. She was one of four first pupils of the Institution and graduated at the age of fourteen in 1822. After graduation, she became both pupil and assistant teacher at the  Institution, and was one of the first two deaf teachers, having taught there from1822 to 1826. She and Abigail Dillingham were the first deaf female teachers in America.

Mary married a hearing man, Mr. DeWitt Clinton Mitchell in New York City, in September 1825, and they had two hearing sons: James and Joseph. After her husband died, she became an assistant matron of the New York Institution.

She later remarried a deaf man, Mr. Nathan Miles Totten, in July 1844, and they had a child who died at birth. Nathan was a graduate of the New York Institution and was a teacher there for several years. Following her husband’s teaching career path, she became the assistant matron of the North Carolina Institution. A few years later, she was the first deaf matron of the Illinois Institution.

After her husband Nathan died in September 1851, she resigned in 1852 from the Illinois Institution and returned to New York City. She became the Board Director of the New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, as well as matron in 1860.

After she retired from the New York Institution, she resided several years in her immediate neighborhood. As she grew in years, her friends arranged for her comfort at the Gallaudet Home, where she passed her closing days in peaceful serenity.

Her last public appearance at the Institution was on the occasion of the celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary when she was eighty-four years old. Her peaceful end one came on Wednesday, April 21, 1897, at the age of eighty-nine, surrounded by kind, loving faces. Indeed, hers was a remarkable career, a long, beautiful and useful life, and a history that is a credit to the New York Institution, of which she was the last survivor of its original pupils. She was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Matawan, Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Rowe, Samuel

Reverand Samuel Rowe

Class of 1848

Student #732

First Deaf Ordained Congregational Evangelist in New England

 Samuel Rowe was born in New Gloucester, Maine, on June 25, 1825, the son of Zebulon Rowe and Judith (Parsons) Rowe. He became deaf from fever at the age of two and had four deaf brothers and two deaf sisters, who all graduated from the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb. In turn, he also attended the American Asylum in 1843 and graduated in 1848.

He was the first Deaf person in New England to be ordained as an evangelist in the First Congregational Church in West Boxford, Massachusetts, along with two Deaf ordained ministers of the Episcopal Church.

He married a schoolmate of the Asylum, Sophia Elizabeth Kendall, in Bellows Falls, Vermont, on November 28, 1849. She was a graduate of the Asylum in 1845 and, also, her two sisters were graduates of the Asylum. After Sophia died in 1893, he remarried to a distant relative, Esther L. Rowe, on October 27, 1895. He had no children by both wives.

Besides being a clergyman, he was also a farmer, tailor, and carpenter. He died of pneumonia in Boxford, Massachusetts, on February 8, 1898. He is buried at Mount Vernon Cemetery in the same town. 

S

Saleski, Anton A.

Anton A. Saleski

Class of 1885

Student #2173

Only Alumnus To Attend Three ASD Anniversaries

Anton A. Saleski was born in Schlochau, West Prussia, on October 4, 1868, the son of Charles Wilhelm Saleski and Mary Lietz. He became deaf at the age of five due to a childhood illness. His family moved to America on April 12, 1878. Anton’s father was a well-known pottery and earthware manufacturer and one of the founders of the St. Mary Church in Meriden, Connecticut.  His brother, Paul, was a successful wholesale grocer and importer, also in Meriden.

He entered the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1878 and graduated In 1885. He had an older deaf sister, Maria, who did not attend the Asylum.

For thirty years, Anton worked as a master carpenter and cabinetmaker with the Morehouse Brothers in Hartford, Connecticut. He did cobble work at his home in the evenings and accumulated enough money to build a couple of houses. He was reported to have been a well-respected citizen and doing finely.

He was a member of the Holy Name Society and the Young Men’s Total Abstinence and Benevolent Society in New Britain, as well as a parishioner of St. Rose’s Church.

He married a deaf woman, Alice Julia Meagher of Boston, Massachusetts.

Anton had the distinctive honor of attending three anniversaries of the founding of the American School for the Deaf, the 75th, 100th, and 125th celebrations.

He died in Meriden, Connecticut, on December 28, 1944. He is buried at Saint Patrick’s Cemetery in Meriden beside his wife, Alice, and his sister Maria.

Top Left: Anton Saleski at the wood shop

Top Right: Anton Saleski (with unidentified family member)

Sanborn, Ian

Ian Sanborn

Class of 2001

Student #6299

Ian Sanborn was born on September 12, 1982, in Concord, New Hampshire, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Sanborn. He entered ASD in 1999 and was a goalie on the soccer team.  He graduated in 2001.

He performed with the National Theater of the Deaf for eight years, and there, his interest in the arts grew to include ASL storytelling and poetry. For some time, he studied psychology at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. 

Ian is well known as a passionate storyteller, artist, poet, and teacher. Among his most famous works include his ASL poems, “Caterpillar,” and “The Evolution of Communication,” produced through Convo. He sees storytelling as universal and encourages students to expand their skills in creative ways with ASL. He enjoys entertaining as well as educating, and has reached a large audience through Deaf community websites and his YouTube channel.

He was involved with the Urban Jazz Dance Company in San Francisco and had major roles in three different Sondheim productions with Deaf Broadway.

Ian has presented at Deaf West Theatre in North Hollywood, California, and directed several productions for the Little Theatre of The Deaf, which is part of the National Theatre of the Deaf in West Hartford, Connecticut.

He served as an Associate Professor at the Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, and the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California.

Currently, Ian is the Community Services Coordinator for the Deaf Counseling Advocacy & Referral Agency (DCARA) in San Leandro, California.

Scovell, Franklin

Franklin Scovell

Class of 1822

Student #45

Started a One-Room School In Palmyra, NY

Franklin Scovell was born in Orwell, Vermont, on February 28, 1799, the oldest son of Daniel and Rebecca Scovel. He had a deaf sister, Laura, a deaf uncle, and six deaf cousins. 

He attended the Connecticut Asylum for the Education of Deaf and Dumb Persons at age nineteen as the 46th pupil on May 26, 1818. In 1822, he left for Palmyra, New York, in the Rochester area, to start a one-room schoolhouse for deaf children on April 17, 1822, in association with the Presbytery of Geneva, a religious society. The Rochester Daily Telegraph, in 1822, reported that there was “…high satisfaction with the specimens of improvement in the scholars and talent in the teacher.”  When the school opened, there were only three other schools for the deaf in America.

Franklin married a hearing woman and had three children. His wife died, and he later married a deaf woman, Emeline Hanchett, an American Asylum 1827 graduate. It is speculated that Franklin’s school may have closed when he remarried and returned to Connecticut.  

He was killed by a train while he walked on the track near Danbury, Connecticut, on August 10, 1859. His burial is unknown.

Seremeth, Robert Edward

Robert Edward Seremeth

Class of 1960

Student #4096

Robert Edward Seremeth, Sr. was born on February 26, 1942, in Ludlow, Massachusetts, one of the three sons of Deaf parents, Joseph and Cora Seremeth. He and his Deaf brothers, Edwin J. and Francis A., attended the Beverly School for the Deaf but were later transferred to ASD in the fall of 1950. Edwin graduated in 1955, Francis in 1959, and Robert in 1960. “Bob,” as he was known, became the first Deaf Boy Scout to earn the Eagle Scout rank and numerous badges. He also wrote many articles relating to ASD events in the “Hartford Courant” newspaper. After graduating from ASD, he attended Gallaudet University for a couple of years.

He worked as a negative engraver inspector at the Defense Mapping Agency Hydrographic-Topographic Center for 20 years. He was presented the Agency’s Outstanding Handicapped Employee Award by the Secretary of State, Casper Weinberger, at the Pentagon on October 4, 1982. The award was in appreciation for his help and training other employees at the Agency by communication through ASL (American Sign Language), plus his distinctive accomplishments and dedication in his work. On the side, he taught ASL at George Washington University and other places.

At Gallaudet University, he was the head of ASL instruction courses for more than ten years.

He married a Deaf woman, Eileen Doherty, on June 27, 1964, and they have two Deaf children and seven grandchildren. His wife was awarded a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Maryland and another master’s degree in Education from Gallaudet University in 1963. She worked as a librarian at the Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C.

 

 

After his retirement, he was President of MarVa Silent Bass Anglers, Inc.

Serrano, John Anthony

John Anthony Serrano

Class of 1998

Student #5848

John Anthony Serrano was born on February 1, 1980, in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, the son of John and Nanette Serrano. He was diagnosed deaf at age eleven months.

He started first grade at the American School for the Deaf and graduated in 1998. He earned a bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Deaf Education at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

John started as an Elementary teacher at the Texas School for the Deaf, coordinated ECE/Elementary Summer Programs, and served as High School principal before becoming the Director of Academic Affairs for a total of thirteen years.

In 2017, he became the first Deaf superintendent in the 45-year history of the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf in Atlanta, Georgia. And in 2021, he was selected to serve as Gallaudet University’s Executive Director of Admissions.

John has served on various committees related to Deaf Education and is a current board member of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD). He is also on the Board of Directors at ASD.

He and his wife Melissa (Melly) JoAnn (Flores), a Kansas School for the Deaf graduate, met at a Jr NAD convention and attended Gallaudet together, graduating in 2002.  They have three children, Natalia, Anthony, and Matthew.

John credits ASD for giving him access to a world of opportunities and possibilities and Gallaudet University for teaching him to think globally and maximize his leadership and networking skills. He actively promotes early intervention and family involvement as a critical indicator of student success.

He enjoys running and spending time with his family. He still professes to be the UConn Huskies basketball team’s #1 fan.

*Note of Interest:  John’s mother, Nanette, worked in the Parent-Infant Program at ASD and helped organize and facilitate parent support groups. Currently, she is teaching Deaf students at the Oak Hammock K-8 School Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program.

  

 

Shaw, William Edward Sr.

William Edward Shaw, Sr.

Class of 1893

Student #2355

Inventor & Successfully Fought for Parental Rights in Controversial Custody Court Case

William Edward Shaw, Sr. was born in St. John, New Brunswick (Canada) on March 7, 1869, the son of a sea captain, Edward J. Shaw, and Hannah D. Smith. He lost his hearing from spinal meningitis at the age of five.

After his father passed away in 1877, his family moved to Portland, Maine, on May 20, 1880. His mother sent him to Portland Day School for the Deaf, Maine in 1880. She was not satisfied with the program and sent him to the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1884.

After William graduated with honors in 1893, he worked at a carriage factory in Portland, Maine, the Anchor Electric in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Holtzer Cabot Electric Company in Brookline, Massachusetts. At his home laboratory in Cambridge, William started working on many of his inventions, including a “the talkless telephone,” a doorbell, an alarm clock, and a baby monitor, devices designed to alert deaf people to sounds.

His work won praise from Alexander Graham Bell, who met and corresponded with him.  He also received an invitation from Thomas Edison to work in his laboratories in New Jersey and worked there for five years. 

There is no indication that William’s inventions were produced or widely adopted. But his efforts received widespread attention with numerous articles in the Boston-area newspapers, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

He was also an advocate of both electrical knowledge and the deaf community, giving demonstrations that raised money for programs and organizations for the deaf and promoting the inclusion of electrical work in the curriculums of schools for the deaf. William, his wife, and son were also at the center of a controversial custody battle that revolved around the rights and abilities of deaf parents to raise hearing children. It began when William’s first wife, Lucy, died in 1902 after giving birth to their son, William, Jr. The son went to live with his maternal grandparents. When William remarried to a second deaf wife, Sadie, in 1907, he took back his son over the grandparents’ objections. The case drew widespread attention with over one hundred members of the deaf community in the courtroom.

Several witnesses, including an Episcopal bishop who worked with the deaf, testified that deaf parents could not raise a hearing child without harming their development. Other witnesses, including his mother and several siblings, testified that he had a violent temper. But other witnesses testified on his behalf, disputing the attacks on his character and praising his affectionate and loving demeanor with his son.

Alexander Graham Bell was asked to support both sides, but he declined to get involved, saying he did not know William enough personally.

William took the stand, speaking through a sign language interpreter, and the judge ruled in his favor, allowing the son to stay with his father. Six years later, the son stayed with his grandparents when William’s second wife became ill, and William had to go to court to get the boy back again.

After his second victory, William wrote, “It is partly for the sake of the deaf in general that I have fought so hard. Law is law, and it is the duty of the deaf to defend their rights and to fight for them if necessary.”

William’s son, who was also known as Willie, helped his father in his electrical exhibitions.  He later became a seaman like his grandfather.

William died at the New England Deaconess Hospital on July 1, 1949, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Top: William Shaw in his lab (Boston Globe, 1924)

Bottom: William Shaw’s inventions (Popular Science, 1924)

Siedman, Lori Ann

Lori Ann Siedman

Class of 1998

Student #5849

First Deaf Healthcare Ombudsman

Lori A. Siedman was born on October 15, 1979, in New Britain, Connecticut, the daughter of David Siedman and Karen Bogatz and stepdaughter of Jane Siedman. She was born Deaf and then diagnosed with Usher Syndrome at age 11. At closer to three years old, she went to CREC school in Wethersfield for two years before starting first grade at the American School for the Deaf and graduating in 1998.

After graduating from the American School for the Deaf, she went to Gallaudet University for 1 ½ years. She then attended St. Paul Technical College in St. Paul, Minnesota, earning an Associate’s Arts of Science in Office System Specialist. After receiving her AAS degree, she received a Bachelor of Social Work degree at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts, in 2011.

Lori volunteered at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and DEAF, Inc., a Deaf non-profit organization in Boston, Massachusetts. She worked at DEAF, Inc. for 13 years. Lori was a contracted teacher for a year before becoming an administrative assistant for DeafBlind Community Access Network (DBCAN) at DEAF, Inc. While working at DBCAN, she returned to school to get her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) at Salem State University and a full-time job as an Independent Living Specialist for three years before she got promoted to Regional Director of Independent Living Services for the Greater Boston at DEAF, Inc.

In 2018, she became the first healthcare Ombudsman in the United States at the My Ombudsman program operated by the Disability Policy Consortium in Massachusetts. The My Ombudsman program assists MassHealth (Medicaid) members in accessing their benefits and services. She is currently the Director of Deaf Services at the My Ombudsman program. In addition, she leads community workshops that focus on linguistic differences and cultural competence, and she is an advocate for various Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind, and LateDeafened MassHealth members. 

Her community activities include the following: American Association of the DeafBlind Co-Chair Conference Committee for 2025 Conference; American Association of the DeafBlind Member-At-Large (2021-2022); American Association of the DeafBlind Website Chairperson (2021-2022); Boston American Sign Language Financial Capabilities Taskforce (2014-2018); MassHealth Disability Advisory Group (2015-present); Massachusetts Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing’s Statewide Advisory Council (2016-present); National Taxpayer Opportunity Network (2016-2018); Massachusetts Statewide Rehabilitation Council (2006-2008); DeafBlind Contact Center President (2006-2007); DeafBlind Contact Center Vice-President (2005); Co-Chairperson for DeafBlind Contact Center’s 25th Anniversary Gala Party; Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf Member; New England Association of the DeafBlind Committee; American Association of the DeafBlind Committee; DeafBlind Association of Connecticut Member; and Minnesota DeafBlind Association Member.  

She was a Board member of the American Association of the DeafBlind. She is currently an active member of the Massachusetts Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing’s Statewide Advisory Council. In 2022, she received the National Association of the Deaf Golden Hand Award from the Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf (MSAD). She also received special honors from Salem State University, Alpha Delta Mu, Beta Upsilon Chapter, and the Employee of the Quarter Award from DEAF, Inc.

She enjoys going to CrossFit, running, and hanging out with her dogs.

Silverman, Milton "Henry" Philip

Milton “Henry” Philip Silverman

Class of 1915

Student #2869

Milton Philip Silverman was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on July 9, 1899, the son of Kove (Akiva) and Fannie Silverman. Kove was one of the first Jewish people to settle in Hartford.

Milton enrolled at the American School for the Deaf in October 1905 and graduated in 1915. He was a machinist at the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Division of United Aircraft Corporate in East Hartford, Connecticut.

He was a senior director of the National Congress of Jewish Deaf Endowment 

Fund, Inc. in 1964, a member of the Hartford Division 37, National Fraternal Society of the Deaf and the Secretary and Vice President of the New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf for a few years.

He was also a member and officer of the ASD Alumni Association. He was elected President of the Connecticut Association of the Deaf (CAD) in 1955.

He married a deaf woman, Emma Jean Schwartz, in New York City, New York, on September 1, 1919.

He died at the Hartford Hospital on October 16, 1974. He is buried at the Rose Hill Memorial Park in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

Smith, Colonel

Colonel Smith

Class of 1825

Student #58 

Colonel Smith was born in Burlington, Connecticut, on January 15, 1797, the son of Seth and Esther Smith. He became deaf from an illness at the age of one and a half.  

He attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1819 and graduated in 1825. 

Colonel was the first and only deaf teacher at a small privately supported school for deaf children in Tallmadge, Ohio, from 1827 to 1829. Two years later, Smith’s eleven pupils transferred to the newly opened Ohio Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in Columbus, Ohio. An Asylum alumnus Danforth Ball became the first deaf teacher there in 1829.

He worked as a shoemaker and married a deaf woman, Sally Prescott. He remarried to another deaf woman, Clarissa E. Phillips, who had a deaf sister, Roxanna. They had a son.

Colonel died in Ohio on April 19, 1879.

“Earlier in the year, another school had sprung up at Tallmadge, now in Summit County, Ohio. Mr. Colonel Smith, a mute educated at Hartford, Conn., who had taken up his residence there, found three mute sisters, Bradley by name, living in the village. Upon inquiry, other mutes were found living in neighboring townships. At a meeting of citizens, held March 19, 1827, a resolution was adopted “to make an attempt to establish a school or asylum for the deaf and dumb.” Rev. John Keys, Deacon Elizur Wright, Dr. Philo Wright, Mr. Garry Treat, and Mr. Alfred Fenn were constituted a committee, with full powers. This committee arranged for a school term of six months, tuition to be $6, and Mr. Smith, teacher. The school opened in May at the house of Mr. Alpha Wright. The next year, 1828, it was held at the house of Dr. Amos C. Wright, and $100 was received as a gratuity from the State. The same amount was voted by the General Assembly for the year 1829, “should the school at Columbus not go into active operation.” The money remained in the treasury undrawn, and it is presumed that the school had been closed. Eleven pupils were enrolled in this Tallmadge school, which in the language of the committee, “if public sentiment and benevolence shall justify, is intended to become a permanent institution.” 

(Fifty-Third Annual Report of the Board of Trustees and Officers of the Ohio Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb, Governor of the State of Ohio, for the Year 1879″ pp. 78)

Smith, Mary (m. Brown)

Mary Smith (m. Brown)

Class of 1829

Student #167

First of Three From Martha Vineyard To Receive Education at the Asylum

Mary Smith was born deaf in Chilmark, Massachusetts (Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod), on

February 28, 1811, the daughter of Mayhew Smith and Sarah (Cottle).

She attended the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1825 with her older sister, Sally. They were the first residents of the Martha’s Vineyard Deaf community to receive an education at the Asylum.  Sally graduated in 1831, and Mary graduated in 1829.

Mary was considered an “amiable woman, with fine sensibilities, large-hearted, intelligent, and industrious, and an ornament to society in Henniker, NH.”

She married Thomas Brown, the first great American Deaf leader in Chilmark, Massachusetts, on April 1, 1832, and they lived in Henniker, New Hampshire, where there was a thriving Deaf community. They had two children, a hearing daughter who died young, and a deaf son, Thomas Lewis Brown, a teacher at the Michigan Institution for the Deaf and Dumb for many years. Mary and Thomas also had other Deaf relatives.

She died on March 5, 1862, and is buried at the Old Cemetery in Henniker, New Hampshire.

                       Burial Site for Thomas and Mary Brown

Spofford, Fisher Ames