A number of spontaneous comments and postings in response to the recent death of audiology legend Marion Downs, who many consider to be the “Mother of Pediatric Audiology”:



By Joseph Smaldino, PhD

Marion how could you know

The impact your precious love would show

In how professionals would offer care

And through them to children everywhere


Newborn hearing screening was your heart’s delight

You fought hard for it and you were right

It hardly seems imaginable the kids we missed

Before their lives your mission kissed


A store of knowledge was in your plan

To share freely to everyone on demand

You encouraged audiologists to share like you

And bring awareness to those without a clue


Your energy and passion are legendary

Trying to keep up with you was truly scary

But you showed us all what can be done

When you follow through what you’ve begun


Personally you affected me dearly

Your confidence in me I saw so clearly

But there are many out there like me

Whose lives were changed because you could foresee

The good and potential in each you touched

And for this dear Marion we thank you so much


While today we are sad, I cannot help but think

You would look down on us and give us a wink

For you’ll be watching us all the more

Encouraging us to upward soar


Some more comments in response to Jerry Northern’s email informing people of Marion’s death:

“I will remember Marion with fondness and admiration for the rest of my life!  Ironically, I just finished speaking about her legacy to my LEND class, and the remarkable impact on newborn hearing due to the work of her and so many who followed in her footsteps. We must continue the good work in her memory.”  —Lisa Hunter, PhD

“Marion had a very positive influence on me. Years ago she told me that I was getting old and needed to be sure I passed on what I knew to the next generation of audiologists. I laughed considering how much older she was than me but she did push me to write my text books, and Carol [Flexer] and I value her introduction to our books. We were all very lucky to have known her.” —Jane Madell, PhD

“I always refer to Marion as my audiology mother when giving lectures and teaching classes. She obviously had hundreds of audiology children who like me were inspired by her spirit and total dedication to our field and the patients we serve. During this past week I’ve thought often of Marion while recording hours of lectures for a 6-week EHDI course I’m teaching at Salus University. Every PPT presentation has included multiple references to and photographs of Marion. Required readings include Marion’s PPT presentation on the development of the JCIH plus the Hearing Health & Technology Matters blog about her. I’ve also included in my lectures some of the photographs you’ve sent to me of Marion and you. My favorite photograph is of me and Marion with glasses of champagne at the wonderful reception you organized to honor her at the 2006 AAA Convention in SLC.” —Jay Hall, PhD

“I miss Marion Downs. Our paths crossed only a few times —perhaps most notably as co-team members at AAA Trivia Bowls (she always seemed up for a hoot) —and yet, every time I saw her, she projected pure love, goodness, and vitality to everyone in her presence, which I can still feel as I write. What a wonderful person. Thank you, Marion, for gracing our world.” —Larry Revit