Edith Simons grew to believe courage is perseverance in the face of fear after enduring the onslaught of deafness and blindness.
It wasn’t just the fear of losing her sight and hearing, but the loss of simple conversations with her parents and friends, and the loss of her sense of self due to a growing sense of invisibility, her daughter Nana LoCicero said.
But by losing those senses, Simons gained a voice.
“It took a while for her to realize that there needed to be someone to advocate for the deaf and blind,” LoCicero said.
“But once she found her courage and voice, then she was something to reckon with.”
Edith Simons, a decadeslong local, national and international advocate for the rights of the deaf and visually impaired, died Jan. 24 at the age of 94.
“You can’t be afraid,” Simons once said in a 1989 newspaper interview.
“If you’re afraid, you do it anyway.”
Among Simons’ accomplishments was the creation of a statewide, full-time telecommunications relay system, or TRS, in Wisconsin that’s functionally equivalent to the telephone service used by hearing people.