We honor here members, friends and supporters of the American Council of the Blind who have impacted our lives in many wonderful ways. If you would like to submit a notice for this column, please include as much of the following information as possible.
Name (first, last, maiden if appropriate)
City of residence (upon passing)
State/province of residence (upon passing)
Other cities/states/countries of residence (places where other blind people may have known this person)
Date of death (day if known, month, year)
ACB affiliation (local/state/special-interest affiliates or national committees)
Deaths that occurred more than six months ago cannot be reported in this column.
Laura Whiting Hoffmaster, 94, of Romney. W.Va., had not been in good health for some time. She celebrated her birthday at her home on April 1, 2014 with many phone calls, visits and a birthday cake with a few special friends.
Laura came from Birmingham, Ala. in the 1940s to the West Virginia School for the Blind as her first teaching position. In 1957 she married Frank Hoffmaster, a graduate of the school, who became the piano tuning teacher that year at the school.
When Mountain State Council of the Blind (MSCB) first officially organized in May 1980, Laura was elected as our vice president. MSCB received its charter from ACB in July 1980 in Louisville, Ky. Our president was unable to attend, so Laura accepted the charter. She was actively involved in MSCB, serving on the board and on many committees. She gave generously of her time and financial support. She attended many ACB conventions as long as her health would permit.
Visitation was held April 15th at the Shaffer Funeral Home in Romney. Her service was held April 16th. In lieu of flowers, she requested donations be made to the Franklin Hoffmaster Scholarship Fund, c/o Frank McGhee, Alumni Treasurer, 3391 University Ave. Apt. 101, Morgantown, WV 26505. If you have questions about the scholarship fund, call Frank at (304) 476-0596.
Laura will be greatly missed by many former students and friends.
Paula Marshall died of a staph infection on Dec. 3, 2013 at the age of 57. She was born on Nov. 17, 1956 to her loving parents, Gilbert and Jane Buratt.
Paula was a graduate of Louisiana State University. She worked many years for Ascension Parish schools with special-needs students. She and her husband were active in the Louisiana Council of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Baton Rouge, La.
Paula loved life, her family and friends, and always the LSU Fighting Tigers. She is preceded in death by her parents, Gilbert and Jane Buratt; her nephew, Reese Buratt; and great nephew Stephen Guitreau Jr. She will be greatly missed by her husband Dan Marshall and family, sister Joyce B. Lambert, brother Martinis Buratt, her many nephews and nieces, and her best friend Michael Hodgeson.
Wallace Gene Menning
December 19, 1927 - March 20, 2014
(Reprinted from "The Statesman Journal," March 26, 2014.)
Wallace Gene "Wally" Menning of Salem, Ore., died March 20, 2014. He was 86.
Wally was born in Compton, Calif. In 1936 his family moved to Oregon. Wally and his younger brother Cliff attended elementary school in Coquille, spent a short time at the Oregon School for the Blind in Salem, and finished their high-school education in Monmouth. Wally completed two years at the Oregon College of Education, then transferred to Oregon State University. During his junior year, he joined a country-western band and began a tour of several states.
Music was always Wally's passion. Settling once more in Coquille, he became part-owner and manager of a music store and worked part-time at radio station KWRO —doing broadcasting and advertising air-time sales. He relocated to Salem in the ’50s, and continued his involvement with music by singing with the Salem Senate-Aires and becoming the guitarist for the Country Four. Even in retirement, he remained interested in entertaining and enjoyed performing in shows at the Salem Greene clubhouse with other residents.
Wally was self-employed, contracting with the Oregon Commission for the Blind Business Enterprise Program. He was manager of cafeterias at the Highway Division (now known as ODOT), the Public Service Building, and finally at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Salem. Wally was appointed by Gov. Tom McCall to be a member of the Oregon Commission for the Blind board of directors, and was pleased to have been elected to serve as its chairman for several years.
Wally was acutely aware of problems affecting blind people, especially in areas of education and employment opportunities. Recognizing the need, he became one of the founders of the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America, also serving for some time as its national president. He was a member of the American Council of the Blind, and of its state affiliate — the American Council of the Blind of Oregon. For the latter organization, he served as its legislative representative. Working with legislators heightened his interest in politics and political endeavors.
Books on political accomplishments, detective ventures, mystery stories and biographies of country musicians provided much pleasure in retirement. A favorite activity of Wally's was spending mornings at the Salem Greene clubhouse with the men's coffee group.
Wally was preceded in death by his parents, Garrett and Verna Menning, and his brother, Clifford Menning. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Iva May; his son Larry and wife Colleen; his daughter Lynda and husband Manny; and granddaughter Heidi, as well as several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the following: Gentiva Hospice, 2925 River Rd. S. #100, Salem, OR 97302 or Blindskills Inc., PO Box 5181, Salem, OR 97304-0181.