Remembering Leaders
in the Field of Blindness and Visual Impairment

Judy Cernkovich
July,1947 - March, 2007

Bowling Green, Ohio.  Judy Cernkovich, 59, of Bowling Green passed away at Hospice of Northwest Ohio on Sunday, March 11, 2007.  She was born in DuQuoin, Illinois to Harold and Ara Jean Rice on July 30, 1947.  She married Stephen Cernkovich on December 27, 1969 and he survives.  She is also survived by daughters Erin of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Abby of Indianapolis; father Harold of DuQuoin; sisters Leanna DePue and husband Tom of Jefferson City, Missouri and Jane Bailey and husband Don of Waterloo, Illinois; and brothers Rudy and wife Mara and Charles and wife Judy, all of Du Quoin.  Her mother preceded her in death in 1995.

Judy received a BS in Elementary Education and an MS in Special Education from Southern Illinois University and certification as a Teacher of Children with Visual Impairments from the University of Toledo.  She was a Teacher of Blind and Visually Impaired Children with the Wood County Educational Service Center, serving children from birth to five years of age and their families throughout 22 counties in Northwest and West Central Ohio.  She also gave numerous conference presentations, staff trainings, and served as a regular guest lecturer on young children with visual impairments for the special education teacher training program at Bowling Green State University.  In addition, she conducted numerous in-service training sessions for those working with blind and visually impaired children, and conducted vision screening training for Ohio Department of Health service coordinators throughout Northwest Ohio.  

Judy was an active participant in the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired of Ohio (AERO), where she held several leadership roles over many years, including President, and planned and implemented three state-wide AERO conferences.  She was a member of the Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Visual Impairments and Division of Early Childhood; Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), Itinerant Teacher Division, Division for Multiple Disabilities/Deaf-Blind, and Division for Early Childhood; Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired of Ohio (AERO); and The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).  She served as a member of the Educational Products and Resources Evaluation team for the American Printing House for the Blind (APH), and was active in the Babies Count project at APH.

Judy’s professional excellence was honored at both the state and national levels.  She earned the 2006 Pauline M. Moor Award for outstanding practice in services to children with visual impairments and their families, presented by the AER International Organization; the 2006 AER International Itinerant Teacher Award; the 2006 AERO Educator of the Year Award; the 2003 Preschool Visually Impaired Teacher of the Year Award, presented by the Council for Exceptional Children/Division of Visually Impaired; the 2001 J. Kenneth Corzier Memorial Award presented by AERO; and the 2000 AERO President’s Award.  Shortly before her death the AERO Executive Board honored her by renaming the annual AERO Educator of the Year Award the Judy Cernkovich Excellence in Education Award.

The family wishes to express its appreciation to the staffs of the Taussig Cancer Center at The Cleveland Clinic and Hospice of Northwest Ohio for the excellent care they provided and for the compassion they showed.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired of Ohio (AERO) or the American Printing House for the Blind.  A memorial service will be held 6:00 pm on Friday, March 16 at Prout Chapel on the Bowling Green State University campus.  A reception will follow at Simpson Garden Park in Bowling Green.