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.
Richard L. Bird
September 8, 1952 – December 26, 2022
Richard L. Bird of Cleveland, Ohio, passed away on Dec. 26, 2022. He was 70. He was the beloved fiancé of Jill D. Noble, loving brother of Jerry M. Bird and Albert W. Bird, dearest uncle of Michael, Shawn, Jerry, Melissa, and Allison, and a dear cousin and friend of many.
Richard served honorably in the Army during the Vietnam War. He was a national advocate and president for many years of the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America (an organization helping blind and visually impaired people become employed) and also an advocate for Blinded Veterans of America. He went to Capitol Hill many times for hearings on their behalf.
Visitation was held Jan. 5, 2023. He was buried at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.craciunberryfuneral.com for the Bird family.
February 25, 1951 – December 14, 2022
Daniel Frances Sippl, 71, of Eau Claire, passed away at his home on Dec. 14, 2022.
He was born on February 25, 1951 in Antigo, Wisconsin to the late Joseph and Delores (Shallow) Sippl. He was number 9 of 10 children, 8 of which were boys! Dan graduated from Antigo High School in 1969, where he met Susan (Wild), and they were married on June 24, 1972. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past summer with their three daughters and their families.
One of Dan’s first jobs was as a truck mechanic where he was able to work alongside a few of his brothers and other colorful characters whom his daughters loved hearing stories about. After Dan and Sue were married, they moved to Green Bay, then to Shawano and finally to Eau Claire, where Dan began his career with the State of Wisconsin as a white-collar crime investigator. He remained with the state until he retired on disability due to his degenerative eye disease, retinitis pigmentosa, in 1996.
Early retirement didn’t suit him, and he quickly became involved with the Golden K Kiwanis, where he later served as president. He then started his own business, Sip N’ Snack Vending, through his involvement with the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America. Dan became involved in other organizations advocating for people who are blind and with low vision, including Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired where he served on the Board of Directors, the Elected Committee of Blind Vendors of Wisconsin where he served as president, and ADRC as a board member. He also continued his involvement with RSVA, serving as president for 10 years before retiring for the second time in 2020.
In his spare time and before his eyesight prevented it, Dan was an avid woodworker. He and Sue would attend craft fairs in the area where they would sell his projects and Sue’s crafts. He also served for a time as the president of the Eau Claire Area Art League.
On top of his many, many activities, Dan was a proud dad and loving Grampy who loved to travel (Vegas being a personal favorite) and spend time with his family. Dan shared a love of Twizzlers and Jolly Ranchers with his grandkids, had a penchant for bestowing nicknames to loved ones, and enjoyed a good pecan pie and an occasional Jack Daniels. He was looking forward to enjoying so many more of these things.
He is survived by his wife, Sue; children, Jill (Gary) Gray; Jodi (Travis) Fischer; and Jessie (Dan Frank) Sippl; grandchildren, Noah Gray, Adeline Gray, Ally Andersen, Owen Fischer, Caleb Fischer, and Danikah Frank; brothers, Dave Sippl, Richard (Bonnie) Sippl, George Sippl, Jim (Linda) Sippl, Jerry (Mary) Sippl, and Larry (Laurie) Sippl; sister, Mary Ann Sippl; sister-in-law, Marge Sippl; brother-in-law, Ron Wild; mother-in-law, Dorothy Wild, and many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Glen Sippl; sister, Lois Sickinger; father-in-law, Clarence Wild; sisters-in-law, Sandy Sippl, Carol Sippl, Karen Sippl and Marty Wild.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, please consider a donation in Dan’s memory to Foundation Fighting Blindness (https://donate.fightingblindness.org/webdonation).
Reprinted from “The Gazette,” Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Shirley Mae (Aldeman) Wiggins, 90, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.
Shirley was born on Sept. 8, 1932, in Vinton, to Ardell Perry Adelman and Hattie Mae Edler. She was united in marriage to Lloyd Joseph Hilleshiem Sr. in 1950 in Oelwein. Shirley gave birth to her only son who brought her much pride and joy, Lloyd Joseph Hilleshiem Jr. in 1951, and he preceded her in death in March 2014.
Shirley married Harry Wiggins in 1964, and he preceded her in death May 1986. Shirley lived most of her adult life in Cedar Rapids. She enjoyed performing and entertaining for many years, singing and playing her accordion at various venues and volunteering her musical talents in Cedar Rapids nursing homes. In the words of Kim Walford, the Iowa Independent Living Program administrator, “Shirley’s unwavering commitment and absolute outstanding contributions to ILAC and IDBA to meet goals will forever be remembered through her spirit and will shine on.”
Shirley lived a long and productive life advocating for the blind community through career and volunteered services. Shirley has been involved in organizations of the blind since 1959. She has served on the Iowa Council of the United Blind’s (ICUB) board of directors over the years and she was president of the Cedar Rapids chapter of ICUB for many years. She chaired the Linn County Support Group for many years; many blind people knew her across the state. She would host chapter picnics in the summer and Christmas get-togethers for ICUB members for many, many years.
She served on the Independent Living Advisory Committee for many, many years for the Iowa Department for the Blind. She was always willing to help others. Shirley co-hosted the state ICUB memorial service at ICUB conventions each year for many years. She has received various awards for her participation and service over the years.
Shirley is survived by her brother, Robert Cross; sister, Serena Crowe; daughter-in-law, Debra Hilleshiem, all of Cedar Rapids; her beloved granddaughters, Tammy Jo Hilleshiem of Navarre, Fla., and Jennifer Amanda Hilleshiem of Hiawatha; her very special great-granddaughter, Amia Montgomery, who was the light of her life; many special nieces, nephews, and great, great-great-nieces and -nephews. Shirley had many close and treasured friendships throughout the years.
Shirley would like to let you know that her work here is done. She received a call, a sort of an offer you can’t refuse, for an appointment from which she will not be returning. This assignment comes with a huge sign-on bonus, a reunion with family and friends she has not seen in a long time. Her new mission takes her to a wonderful place where she will be socializing, dancing, and reading to her heart’s content. Music, laughter and love are guaranteed. Food is delicious and you never gain an ounce. She left detailed instructions for her family and friends to celebrate her mission here, which has now been completed.
Shirley’s family would like to thank the staff at Silver Oaks Nursing Home for the wonderful and compassionate care that was given to her during the last four years. Memorials may be directed to the family. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.teahenfuneralhome.com.