August 20, 1928-February 1, 2009
by Gerry Koors

(Editor's Note: Additional information for this article was gleaned from back issues of the "Forum.")

Patricia Lou (Mumma) Price, former ACB secretary and board member, former scholarship committee member and former child evangelist, passed away on Feb. 1, 2009. She was 80. Surviving her are her husband of nearly 50 years, Marvin, and three sisters.

Pat was born in Lima, Ohio, but grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind. Her mother passed away when she was just 6 days old; she was raised by an uncle. She received a bachelor of arts degree in religious education from Fort Wayne Bible College. After graduation, she worked at several different insurance companies, retiring from Indianapolis Life in 1988 after more than 25 years at the company. She was a true advocate for the blind and visually impaired, and was active in ACB and in the ACB of Indiana. Pat was a charter member of both the state and Circle City chapters, and was editor of the ACBI "Focus" newsletter from its inception until three years ago. In 1996, ACBI established the Patricia L. Price Distinguished Service Award, to be given to a visually impaired individual who has done much to enhance the lives of the blind and visually impaired. She received the first award.

Pat was elected to the ACB board in 1981 to fill an unexpired term. She was re-elected in 1982 and 1986, and was elected secretary of ACB in 1989, serving three full terms in that position, stepping down in 1995. She also served on the scholarship committee and the thrift store income committee during the 1980s, and the executive board of the Affiliated Leadership League of and for the Blind of America. In 1982, Pat Price received the George Card Award from ACB and the Jefferson Award from "The Indianapolis Star." In March of 1982, she was named first runner-up for the Businesswoman of the Year Award, presented by the Indianapolis Business and Professional Women's Club. She was written up in Strathmore's "Who's Who" 1999-2000 edition. In 2003, Pat received the Vernon Henley Media Award.

In describing Pat’s qualifications for the George Card Award, the Forum article states: "Her professional career takes up her days. Her nights and weekends are devoted to a volunteer career which includes membership in and leadership of a wide array of community, state, national, and international professional associations and special-interest organizations for the visually and aurally handicapped. She is being honored tonight for her untiring voluntary service and for her dedication to improving the lives of and opportunities for blind people."

The article also mentioned that Pat had been the president of the Visually Impaired Secretarial Transcribers Association and of the ACB of Indiana. ("Awards and Charter Gala," October 1982)

In March 2004, Pat sat down with Talking Communities' Lorn Bergstresser, who was beginning a new series, "Ordinary People with Extraordinary Stories." She was his first guest.

"If you were to define an uncommon life, where might you turn for examples? Those who know Patricia L. (Pat) Price would look no farther than her. Pat's life of ability despite disability is uncommon indeed. Those who scoff at the efforts of one individual are silenced by Pat's ongoing legacy of service to others, a basic belief in the inherent goodness of people everywhere, and an optimism that has been the driving spark of her uncommon and productive life.

"Pat became intimately acquainted with adversity at 16. When a speck of dirt became lodged in her iris, she felt the pain of it; but, she had no idea at that moment that the pain would ultimately evolve into total blindness and deafness. The deafness would last for five years; the blindness for many more. But she never allowed her world to become one of hopeless silence and darkness. Indeed, it was during this period when she developed a keen understanding of the importance of service to others. …

"After nearly two decades of total blindness Pat began to see the first intimations of returning sight. Ultimately, with help from various types of low-vision technology, she was able to read some printed materials. Her revitalized vision expanded her career opportunities. She obtained a management position with an Indianapolis life insurance company -- a post she held for 20 years.

"Today, literally thousands of blind and vision impaired people recognize Pat as a woman of integrity and competence. She reaches out on a constant basis to those who struggle with vision loss. She learned long ago that the best way to dispel the darkness of an unknown future is to provide information that can help a low-vision person cope with sight loss. To that end, she founded and currently directs Vision World Wide, Inc., an Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information and outreach to men and women throughout the world who must learn to live with vision loss.

"One of the vehicles Vision World Wide, Inc. uses to disseminate information is "Vision Enhancement," a quarterly publication that includes announcements and articles targeted to blind and visually impaired people. The how-to and information pieces are written by men and women who have experienced sight loss firsthand, and under Pat's masterful editing, the magazine is alive with timely information designed to help its readers enhance both their remaining vision and their lives. …

"While Pat's many achievements are impressive indeed, she would be the last to suggest she has accomplished all she has single-handedly. Her husband Marvin has been a tremendous support to her for more than 40 years. The two met when he was assigned to help Pat solve some on-the-job logistical and technical problems. He was her rehabilitation counselor at the time. As Pat recalls, "He solved my typing problems in short order. That was the end of it for several years. Then, when I was president of the Indiana Association of Workers for the Blind, I appointed Marvin as one of the committee chairs. The rest is history."

"Pat succeeds in marriage the way she has succeeded in her life of tremendous service -- by paying attention to the details. "During our years of marriage, we celebrate every month in a special way. Sometimes it is small gifts, a nice dinner out, etc. When we were first married, it often was a hot dog and pork and beans by candlelight. It has done much to keep the honeymoon in our marriage," Pat comments.

"While Vision World Wide consumes much of her time these days, service to blind and visually impaired people has always been a vital part of Pat's life. She currently serves as the webmaster and treasurer of Library Users of America, an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind. She and her husband founded the American Council of the Blind of Indiana and Pat has served in a variety of positions with the group. She served as the executive director of the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International, and was vice president of the National Accreditation Council of Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped. In the early '90s, Pat completed three terms as national secretary of the American Council of the Blind …

"While her service to organizations representing visually impaired people is significant, it is just part of who this dynamic woman is. She currently serves as a Virginia M. Woolf Foundation board member. She's been the membership chair and treasurer of the Indiana Policyholders Service Association, and she was president of the Indianapolis Insurance Women's Association. … Additionally, she is the recipient of three Sertoma Service to Mankind Awards."

To quote her "In Memoriam: Gertrude Musier" article (May 1982, pp. 28-29), "Yes, we have lost a friend and a dynamic leader. How grateful, though, all must be for having had the privilege to know and work with so magnetic a human being."

Readers’ Remembrances of Pat Price

Pat was a mentor to me and was one of the people I most admired in ACB. She was always gracious and never complained about the work she had to do. She will truly not be replaced. She devoted more of her life to helping people who are blind and visually impaired than most people I have met. Unlike most of us who are getting older, she learned new technologies and championed their use.

Pat will never be replaced. She is unique and very, very special.

-- Paul Edwards, Miami, Fla.

I had about a half-hour telephone conversation with her on either Tuesday or Wednesday before she went into the hospital. As Paul said, we should all take a lesson from her, and never fear learning new methods of communicating and accessing information.

-- Mike Duke, Jackson, Miss.

I remember Pat when I first joined ACB in the 1980s. She was a tireless worker for everything she tackled for ACB. I remember two things she told me about herself. She said as a child, she had been a child evangelist -- with long, flowing white robes. She also mentioned that all her life she has never needed more than 2 or 3 hours of sleep a night. No wonder she was a tireless worker; she was tireless at birth. I think her life was dedicated to working on behalf of everyone who is blind or visually impaired.

-- Billie Jean Keith, Arlington, Va.

Pat Price will certainly be missed by many of us.

Pat was very active in ACB for many years. She served as secretary of ACB, and for a few years we were on the board together.

Pat and Marvin came to Kentucky Council conventions for a number of years. KCB was relatively small and was trying to grow, and Pat sure could give an inspirational banquet speech! She was responsible for several people deciding to join KCB and become active. Her enthusiasm was contagious.

-- Carla Ruschival, Louisville, Ky.

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