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Obituary - Claire Kantor

DIED: Claire Kantor, advocate on behalf of the auditory/oral option for all people with hearing loss, on July 3 in Livingston, NJ, following a two-year battle with breast cancer. She was 55 and beginning her twenty-first year as executive director of the Summit Speech School in New Providence, NJ. The school, founded by the Junior League of Summit, NJ, in 1967, is the only one of its kind in the state, offering babies and preschoolers who are deaf an auditory/oral option. Under Kantor's leadership, more than 70% of the school's preschoolers "graduated" each year and were mainstreamed into their hometown kindergartens with their hearing friends. During her tenure, she increased enrollment more than tenfold and spearheaded a capital campaign that resulted in a new state-of-the-art facility. A graduate of Hunter College in audiology and speech pathology, she began her career as an educational audiologist and speech-language pathologist at the Bruce Street School in Newark, NJ, in 1968 and joined the Summit Speech School in 1982. She held four professional licenses, 10 certifications, and belonged to 14 professional associations. She was a founding member of the New Jersey Chapter of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf. In 2002, Kantor received the Oticon "Focus on People" award, a national competition recognizing individuals who are helping to break down stereotypes of what it means to have a hearing loss. She also was awarded the New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association's 2002 Distinguished Clinical award in recognition of her significant contributions to the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology. Kantor was always available to parents and children, listening, teaching, supporting, evaluating, advising, and advocating for their rights. During her tenure at the Summit Speech School, she was most proud of the school's policy that no child would ever be turned away because of a family's inability to pay. Kantor was active in many civic organizations and a frequent and fervent speaker on auditory/oral options. She is survived by her husband and son. Memorial contributions can be made in her name to the Summit Speech School, 705 Central Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974.

Thanks to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for permission to use this excerpt from The ASHA Leader of Oct 21, 2003 (p. 37).

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