[Athen] Sad news about a colleague

Kathleen Cahill kcahill at MIT.EDU
Thu Nov 21 16:29:58 PST 2013

Dear Colleagues,

Some of you who have been around a while may know or remember Joe Lazzaro, who ran the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind Technology Program and wrote two books about Assistive Technologies -- Adaptive Technologies for Learning and Work Environments, and Adapting PCs for Disabilities. Joe passed away suddenly on November 18th.

Joe was blind from early childhood. He was graduate of UMass Boston where he discovered adaptive technologies and became an early user of screen readers. He loved to program and was a total geek. Joe majored in Physics and refused to take his Vocational Rehab Counselor's advice to run a state subsidized snack stand at an office building. He wanted more as a blind person. He was such an early adopter of assistive technologies that he, his wife Cindy and two other friends started a company called Talking Computers that customized PCs for blind and visually impaired users.

Joe went on run the Adaptive Technology Program at the Mass. Commission for the Blind. In his spare time, he loved to write science fiction and was a published author of science fiction. Joe went on to run the Assistive Technology Program for the State of Massachusetts Information Technology Division (ITD) working with vendors and state agencies on increasing accessibility of state technologies and websites for people with disabilities.

Joe believed in the power of technology to transform people's lives and helped to provide those technologies so that blind clients could get what they needed to study or work at a job. It's amazing to think about how far things have come since I first started working for Joe in 1988, back in the days of DOS and gigantic cards you had to insert into a PC. He taught me a lot about assistive technologies, about disability and just generally about the human condition. He was a great teacher and a good friend. I will miss him. Thank you for all you did, Joe.

Here is the online obituary. http://www.meaningfulfunerals.net/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2327730&fh_id=13645

Thanks for reading,

Kathy Cahill

Assistive Technology Specialist
MIT Assistive Technology Information Center (ATIC)
77 Mass. Ave. 7-143
Cambridge MA 02139
kcahill at mit.edu<mailto:kcahill at mit.edu>
(617) 253-5111

Sent from my iPad
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman12.u.washington.edu/pipermail/athen-list/attachments/20131122/7eb82231/attachment.html>

More information about the athen-list mailing list