We are saddened by the loss of Stan Munroe, an international leader in the field of deafblindness who also helped plant the roots of our organization.
Stan passed away on Feb. 11 as a result of a stroke. He was 74.
He is survived by wife Carol and their children Andrew, Jonathan and Sarah. Our condolences to the Munroe family.
Stan was a founding member of the Canadian Deafblind Association and later a member of its board of directors, including serving as president. He also worked for CDBA as its executive director and information officer. Most recently, he was information officer for Deafblind International (DbI), working from his home in Nova Scotia.
“He was always a presence at every single Deafblind International meeting or conference, he was always there,” said Sensity CEO Cathy Proll.
“He was always the most optimistic, upbeat and just genuine person,” she said.
Cathy reflected on the words of wisdom that Stan shared with Sensity’s forerunner, the Canadian Deafblind Association Ontario Chapter, for its first board meeting in January 1991. She still has the list of 10 pieces of advice, which continue to ring true and serve as a guide.
1. Prepare a set of bylaws after the National ones, but tailored to fit your requirements.
2. Establish a set of chapter goals and objectives, but make sure they can be accomplished with your financial and volunteer capability.
3. Hire an executive director to run the business of the chapter.
4. Run the chapter as a business, for you are a legal corporation and that implies certain obligations.
5. Seek out volunteers with special business skills to help with your board affairs, but maintain participation by parents, educators, deafblind persons, etc.
6. Don’t burn out your volunteers!
7. Maintain control over all future endeavours made on behalf of the deafblind in Ontario.
8. Cooperate closely with all agencies and associations with common interests concerning the deafblind.
9. Get serious about fundraising and public awareness.
10. Consider these key responsibilities – be viable, be visible, be reliable, be credible, be accountable, be rich and be friends!
Stan was a good friend to our organization and we looked forward to his visits when he was in Ontario to see his son Andrew, a resident at Lions McInnes House in Brantford.
“His contribution to his son’s life was the awareness and all the work he did on behalf of people who are deafblind,” Cathy said.
Stan sometimes shared a glimpse of his own experiences as the father of a deafblind son in his writing.
“For me as a parent of an individual with congenital deafblindness, the opening article on olfaction comes close to home. I can relate to incidences that confirm my son’s memory of familiar smells helping him recognize people he had not seen for a time or pleasant food treats like his grandmother’s baking,” Stan wrote in his column in Issue 47 in 2011.
As the DbI’s information officer, Stan was responsible for putting out the DbI Review. Published twice a year, the newsmagazine carried articles and news from around the world compiled by Stan, who served as editor for eight years beginning in 2010.
”When I took on the assignment of becoming the DbI Review editor twelve issues ago, I envisioned that there would be editions built around particular themes. Much like the fact that deafblindness is such an individualized disability, the conclusion I have reached is that each edition is incredibly individualized covering a wide spectrum of topics,” Stan wrote in his column in Issue 57 in 2016.
Stan was proud to present an array of material from around the world in each issue.
“As someone involved in this field for over 40 years, it is so remarkable to observe the developments that are taking place internationally. It’s such a privilege as the magazine editor, to ensure that the authors of these articles have a platform to tell their stories and share with their colleagues the work they are engaged in,” Stan wrote in Issue 53 in 2014.