Rosalyn V. Snow, who helped people with visual impairments become independent by coaching them in the tasks of everyday life - from cooking to crossing the street - died of an apparent heart attack Friday at Heartland of Browning in Waterville. She was 87.
She had Alzheimer's disease for more than a year, her daughter, Jenean Baird, said.
Mrs. Snow, formerly of Oregon, worked for nearly 15 years at the Toledo Society for the Blind, first as a group worker. She retired in 1977.
She became the society's mobility instructor in 1967 -the only person in northwest Ohio at the time to have such a job.
From a specially equipped room at the society on Canton Avenue, Mrs. Snow taught students proper cane techniques. Those who showed mastery went outside to learn street patterns and traffic noise. An advanced student would get a route, with check-in points, and might meet Mrs. Snow at a restaurant to demonstrate publicly the etiquette taught in the society's dining room.
By 1970, the society had a model furnished apartment in its headquarters where Mrs. Snow taught her pupils to cook, apply makeup, make phone calls, and navigate kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom.
“There is a mighty difference between compassion and pity,” Mrs. Snow told the former Toledo Times in 1974. “Pity from family, friends, or strangers does not help a blind person develop his potentials. It is a step-by-step process with no limits if he develops his self-confidence along the way.”
The work boosted Mrs. Snow's confidence, too.
“Her whole life was just helping people,” her daughter said. “Her self-worth was knowing she was helping someone.”
A change in federal rules required that such jobs be held by a person with a master's degree, her daughter said. The society offered Mrs. Snow another job, but she chose to retire instead.
“When she walked out of that place, she left half her heart there,” her daughter said.
Mrs. Snow was born in Mount Jackson, Va., and moved to Toledo in her late teens. She was a homemaker until the late 1950s, when she became recreational therapist at the former Toledo State Hospital.
Surviving are her daughter, Jenean Baird; son, Bradley Snow; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
There will be no visitation. Graveside services will be private. Arrangements are by the Peinert Mortuary, Waterville.
The family requests tributes to the Alzheimer's Association.
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