by Genevieve Schreiner

M. Helen Vargo, former secretary and member of the board of directors of the American Council of the Blind, 87, of Conway, Ark., died April 7, 2008. Helen retired after working 35 years in rehabilitation of the blind, 25 of which were in Kansas. She was a past president of ACB's Kansas affiliate, past president of the National Rehabilitation Association, and active in many other state and national organizations for the blind and disabled.

Helen attended the Arkansas School for the Blind, Arkansas State Teachers' College of Conway, Ark., and received a master's in rehabilitation from the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Va.

In her early professional years, Helen worked as a home teacher for the blind (now generally called rehabilitation teacher) in Arkansas. She also worked for Arkansas Enterprises and Services for the Blind (now Lions World Services), and also did social work in Ypsilanti, Mich. In 1957, she moved to Topeka, Kan. to accept a position with the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She worked there as a social worker/counselor. She retired in 1982 having worked there for 25 years.

She devoted many hours to proofreading braille materials for students learning braille. In her retirement, she did some teaching for the Hadley School for the Blind. Knitting and crocheting were among her hobbies, in which she was very proficient.

Helen was dedicated to ACB and its affiliates throughout her life. Although she was not at the organizing meeting for ACB to become a charter member, she joined very shortly thereafter. She strove for excellence in whatever she attempted in her life. Mostly, she achieved it.

Helen is survived by a nephew of Fairway, Kan., his wife and their two children as well as a long-time friend and companion, Lorene Thompson of Conway, Ark. Memorial contributions can be sent to Conway First United Methodist Church, 1610 Prince St., Conway, AR 72034.

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