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Marcella M. Meyer Scholarship

Marcella M. Meyer (1925-2009) played a huge role in history, within deaf and hard of hearing community.
To make a donation in honor of Marcella M. Meyer:

Please mail to (make check payable to GLAD and indicate Marcella M. Meyer Scholarship):
Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc.
c/o Marcella M. Meyer Scholarship
2222 Laverna Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Or you can donate online by clicking on the button below:
Donate online
Marcella Mae Meyer aka MMM (1925-2009), First CEO of the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc. (GLAD)

After starting out as a volunteer CEO MMM became the paid CEO and spent her 24 years at GLAD as the courageous and tenacious “voice” and face of Los Angeles’s deaf community.

MMM used her position at GLAD as a platform to facilitate legislative and social change desperately needed for the betterment of the deaf community. Her steadfast determination, grit and distinguished means of unshakeable pulpit tactics were her signature and could be seen in the GLAD News magazine, with the general public and at council and staff meetings. She was the embodiment of unconventional wisdom and she was fueled by the philosophy: “Whatever happens in California, the rest of the nation will follow”

She had many victories including winning a legal battle for the right to sit on a jury. This accomplishment set a precedent for the rest of the nation. In addition, not only was she a champion of the deaf, she was a crusader for social justice and had the foresight to implement innovative and educational programs addressing such topics as domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, mental health and many more.

MMM’s legacy is far reaching and her programs live on here today and GLAD and within the deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind communities. She is greatly missed and remembered fondly for her tenacity, strength and unwavering leadership.

MMM Bench Marcella M. Meyer Bench
Marcella M. Meyer
B. May 14, 1925 – D. May 26, 2009
CEO GLAD 1975-1998

Marcella has left her imprint
As we soar to new heights
Her legacy continues in each of us

An excerpt from the GLAD News magazine
upon Marcella M. Meyer’s retirement…
Marcella M. Meyer was such a trailblazer that she left a transforming impact on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities. However, all her efforts and victories did not come without blood, sweat and tears. Her brash manner in creating social changes oftentimes ruffled feathers everywhere she went, as she seemed impatient with conventional methods and would rather see concrete results in the shortest time possible. An example of the legacy of her driving force was the acquisition of the current GLAD headquarters / community center at a historical landmark building in a Los Angeles suburb.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri during the Roaring 20’s, Marcella M. Meyer grew up and lived in a world where job opportunities for Deaf people were limited to manual labor such as printing, dry-cleaning, factory work, housecleaning, etc. Also, Marcella’s life paralleled that of the 20th century American history, being a factory worker during the Second World War and holding several different jobs during the booming postwar economy. Additionally, Marcella was one of the people who contributed to the creation of the postwar baby boomer generation by bearing three hearing daughters, with her first husband. During the 1960s, after going through two marriages, she took her daughters to California to start a new life which included another marriage, this time to Lenny Meyer, a teacher at Selaco High School in Downey, California.

Nowhere in Marcella M. Meyer’s life story up to this point was there any indication of the greatness she would achieve later in life, the qualities that would propel her to national and international stages. However, a close examination on the latter part of her life shows that the tipping point most likely came from her three daughters. They got involved in social issues of the day and causes such as the women’s liberation movement, and they brought a social awakening and political awareness to their mother. The rest was HERSTORY!!

Of all her achievements, Marcella M. Meyer often said that her greatest accomplishment was the raising of her three daughters – Jamalee Plank, Coleen Ashly and Michele Balfe. This statement of Marcella’s is not too surprising because of her renowned mothering instincts which she also shared with the Deaf Community. These days, stories from countless Deaf women and men abound about her incredible mentorship which included her pearly words of wisdom, her earthy and sometimes bawdy sense of humor, along with barrels of tough love!

Marcella’s daughters have taken on her superb mothering instincts while raising Marcella’s five grandchildren. Now some of her grandchildren are following Marcella’s example in providing active public service, including a granddaughter becoming an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), a grandson in the military, and an attorney granddaughter who recently argued before the Ohio State Supreme Court.

Marcella M. Meyer was one amazing woman who rose to the challenges of her times and who responded in a splendid manner and turned our community upside down. Her obituaries can be found in two newspapers, Los Angeles Times and Kansas City Star.

To Marcella M. Meyer, the last of true Deaf Warriors, we doubt if we will ever see the likes of you again. We shall miss you TERRIBLY!

(Written by Christine “CB” Buchholz and Vikee Waltrip of Deaf Democrats)

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