Metropolitan Washington Ear mourns the recent death of Janet Morrison, our long-time friend who was a tireless advocate for people challenged by low-vision or vision loss. We extend heartfelt condolences to Janetís husband and family. We celebrate Janetís life that was dedicated to educating, inspiring, and uplifting people who daily face the challenge of vision loss. Her dedication and advocacy have touched countless people. We were inspired by her many accomplishments as well as her energy, her quick wit, and her candor. We are grateful for the work she did through the Prevention of Blindness Society that kept her in touch with us and with those for whom we provide services.
With gratitude for a Janetís life so well lived in service to others,
Neely Oplinger, Executive Director on behalf of the MWE staff & Board of Directors
Please see the lovely tribute to Janet below from Jim Deremeik,
Johns Hopkins Education/Rehabilitation Program Manager, Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation Service
May 23, 2021
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
RE: A memorial to Janet Morrison
On March 22, 2021 the DC/Maryland low vision community lost a devoted champion and advocate for the betterment of the quality of life of all visually impaired individuals.† Janet Morrison fought throughout her life to bring awareness to the plight of the blind and visually impaired community and the challenges they encounter on a daily basis. There is no doubt that her contributions to the low vision community have had a major permanent positive impact on all the low vision citizens in the Maryland, DC and northern Virginia geographic area.
Being legally blind from childhood herself, she recognized the lack of access to services and resources for the low vision community, as well the emotional struggle visually impaired individuals experience as they face the loss of independence. Almost every eye care professional in the Metro DC area had either known or heard of Janet because of her mission to teach them that there was always more that could be offered to their patients beyond the medical interventions they provided. She emphasized the value and merit of low vision rehabilitation and the need to listen to the patients experiencing vision loss.† Janet regularly engaged the ophthalmology residents at the Washington Hospital Center in DC on how to address vision loss with patients and refer them for vision rehabilitation. This was always a high priority project for her and it brought her great satisfaction to see the young residents participating in vision support groups.
Her work on behalf of the Prevention of Blindness of Washington DC (POB) gained local and regional attention.† Her tenure at POB began under the leadership of then executive director Arnie Simonse and continued for over 25 years.† During her time there, Janet led numerous monthly support groups at Sibley Hospital, the Village of Friendship Heights in Chevy Chase and at a number of retirement communities such as Leisure World and Riderwood. The programs provided an important venue for participant interaction and for gaining information from the many eye care professionals that were invited to attend. Janetís exuberant personality, her commitment to advocacy and her willingness to share her experiences related to her own vision loss were highlights of these meetings.
Janet served as editor of POBís monthly newsletter: "Your Eyes Today" and often contributed to local newspapers such as the Senior Beacon.† She helped create the very first editions of resource booklets for children and adults with low vision in the community, long before the internet became the source of this information.
In honor of Janetís many accomplishments and in order to preserve her legacy, we are asking for your support in placing a stone on the Wall of Tribute in the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field at the American Printing House for the Blind, located in Louisville, Kentucky.† The goal of this effort is honor Janet with a $5,000 stone on the Wall of Tribute.† You can learn more about the Wall of Tribute by going to:† https://sites.aph.org/hall/. Checks should be made payable to Hall of Fame and forward by June 15 to:
2015 Mill Dale Court
Fallston, Maryland 21047
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.
Thanks in advance for your help in recognizing the life-changing contributions of Janet Morrison on the low vision communities of Maryland, DC and northern Virginia.
Please share this information with individuals, organizations and agencies that Janet had an impact upon.† Thank you.