Marcia B. Dugan
Photo courtesy of Keuka College.

Marcia B. Dugan, 78, a community volunteer, author, and advocate for individuals who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, died on February 7 after a year-long battle with leukemia.

She worked at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), a college at Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, from 1980 to 1995 as director of public affairs and as special assistant to the NTID director. NTID provided the following memorial:

"When she began to lose her hearing at middle age, she made a conscious decision to figure out how to communicate with her family and colleagues," said her daughter Maggie Dugan, who resides in Paris. "She learned to be assertive and how to help other people understand how to communicate with her. I think the community at NTID inspired her and in turn, this inspired her crusade to help other people with hearing loss."

Dugan served for 9 years on the national board of trustees of Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (now called the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)), and was its president from 1996 to 1998. She also served as officers in the state and Rochester chapters of the association and received the Howard E. "Rocky" Stone Humanitarian Award in 2002.

She was also president of the International Federation of Hard of Hearing People from 2001 to 2006.

In 1997, Dugan authored Keys to Living with Hearing Loss, followed by Living with Hearing Loss in 2003, books that are still popular guides.

"Marcia wrote that first book at a time when there wasn’t much around on the topic," said Brenda Battat, executive director of HLAA. "It was good, down-to-earth common sense information people could use in their everyday lives. It was a very useful book for someone dealing with hearing loss."

Battat said Dugan was known to be very calm, gracious and a great leader. "She was a very stable influence on any organization she was with, and very, very considerate of people’s feelings. She’d never shoot from the hip, she always gave thought before making any decisions. And she was always called upon to be our Roberts Rules of Order person. She brought a lot of her own personality and personal experience to everything she did. We will certainly miss her."

Dugan was a representative to the International Alliance that was instrumental in drafting the 2008 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Her other affiliations included the Council for Better Hearing and Speech Month, the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, the Hearing Aid Dispenser Advisory Board, the American Association of University Women, and the Association of Women in Communication.

She served on NTID’s National Advisory Group from 1999 to 2002.

NTID Interim President James DeCaro, who knew Dugan when she came to NTID in 1980, says she touched countless lives with her advocacy. "She presented an extraordinary example of how to live a life and how to embrace its many phases with grace with dignity to the very end," he said.

Other than her daughter, Dugan is survived by a son, Michael of Wayne, Pa; another daughter, Elizabeth Dugan of Washington; four grandchildren; and sisters Pat Bernstein of Weston, Fla, and Jeanne Wormser of Davie, Fla.

Calling hours are Wednesday, February 10 from 2 to 5 pm and 7 to 9 pm at the Weldon Funeral Home, 102 East Main St, Penn Yan, NY. Funeral services will be private.

A celebration of her life will be held at a time yet to be determined in the late spring, her family says.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory to the Hearing Loss Association of America’s Marcia Dugan Memorial Fund, 7910 Woodmont Ave, Suite 1200, Bethesda, MD, 20814; or to Keuka College, PO Box 98, Keuka Park, NY 14478.

[Source: NTID]