Remembering a Supporter: Mary Ann Lachman

by Hilary Franklin In January, the Cued Speech community lost one of its most ardent supporters when Mary Ann Lachman, mother to native deaf cuer Ben Lachman, died after having battled cancer for nine years. Mary Ann and her husband founded the Ronald and Mary Ann Lachman Foundation in 1989, which has supported projects that directly impact the advocacy of Cued Speech, including projects and camps for the NCSA, videos, and the Cuers for Leadership, Education, and Advocacy Retreat (CLEAR).

Mary Ann’s vision and desire for her son to have the best access to education through Cued Speech led to the founding of Alternatives in Education for the Hearing Impaired (AEHI) in 1986. AEHI, a not-forprofit organization, provides a model Montessori Cued Speech program for educating deaf children alongside their hearing peers. The following tribute is posted on the Alexander Graham Bell Montessori School (AGBMS) website.

“Mary Ann Lachman, an angel whose passion and vision led to the founding of AEHI and AGBMS 25 years ago, passed away on January 11, 2012, after a [nine]-year valiant battle against cancer. Her family requests that donations in her memory be made to AEHI to support the Cued Speech programs that miraculously changed the life of Mary Ann’s and Ron’s son, Ben, and continue to change the lives of an exponentially growing number of deaf children and their families throughout Illinois and beyond.” – http://www.agbms.org/TributeToMaryAnn.html

Sandy Mosetick, a parent of a deaf cuer and President Emeritus and board member of AGBMS, worked closely with the Lachman family. On Cue editors reached out to her to better understand what Lachman meant to the cueing community in Chicago. “If you knew Mary Ann, you know that her intellect and her capacity for creative problem-solving were unbelievably well-developed—and her compassion and generosity were immeasurable.

Most recently, the Ronald and Mary Ann Lachman Foundation funded an NCSA project to make a video, “Cued Speech for Professionals,” which we at AEHI use often in various CS training events—and distribute free of charge to various professionals and organizations that serve deaf children. She was a mother who cared so passionately for the welfare of the deaf children of other mother… She was there for us and changed the life of my child and my entire family. She did this for others, as well. We are now, together, carrying on her great work, as we fondly remember her always.”

From the On Cue staff: while Mary Ann is no longer with us, her spirit lives on. In the spirit of giving, we encourage you to volunteer your time to connect with other parents, become involved in your area, or make a donation in her name to either the NCSA or to AEHI, or both.

To read more about her battle with cancer or to leave a personal tribute, visit Mary Ann’s Caring Bridge web site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/marl.

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