Dr. Sylvia O. Richardson, a long-time friend to LDA, passed away on Friday, October 24th at the age of 94. Sylvia served on LDA’s Professional Advisory Board from 1968 – 1984, chairing the board from 1976-1984. She was the 1969 recipient of the LDA Award (then ACLD), the highest recognition given by our association. She was also the 2011 recipient of LDA’s Hyman Gardsbane Pioneer Award. In recent years, Sylvia spoke at both our 2011 and 2012 Annual Conferences and remained in regular contact with a couple of our volunteers.
Sylvia was a pediatrician known for her outstanding work in evaluation and management of children with learning and language disabilities. A rare combination, Sylvia held degrees in both education and medicine, and was a certified speech pathologist and a certified Montessori teacher. In addition to LDA, she was affiliated over the years with IDA, ASHA, CEC, IRA, as well as the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities. Before settling permanently in Tampa, Florida, Sylvia lived in Ohio and Oklahoma and was an active member of those LDA state affiliates at the time.
Sylvia’s contributions over numerous decades will continue to inspire and impact the field of learning disabilities for many years. – Mary-Clare Reynolds
Dr. Cecil Mercer, a longtime friend of LDA, passed away on November 21, 2014, following a long illness. He had been a Professor at the University of Florida for many years. Cecil was a tireless advocate for individuals with learning disabilities, a wonderful teacher and mentor, and an influential researcher. He inspired thousands of teachers and undoubtedly improved the lives of thousands of students. His numerous publications are used widely by educators, psychologists, and other professionals. He collaborated with his wife and colleagues on textbooks regarding assessment and instruction for students with special needs. These publications revealed his in-depth knowledge and concern for children. Cecil was a longtime friend to LDA, having served on the Professional Advisory Board and as a speaker at many conferences. During his involvement with LDA, he was also involved with planning for a successful conference in Louisiana to help revive that affiliate in 1993. Cecil’s dynamic personality and wealth of knowledge were particularly evident when he spoke to capacity crowds at LDA conferences. He will be missed but his legacy lives on. – Doris Johnson