Remembering Leaders
in the Field of Blindness and Visual Impairment

Photo: Alan J. Koenig

Alan J. Koenig
1954 - February 6, 2005

Alan J. Koenig, 50, formerly of Mt. Carmel, passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 6, 2005, after a courageous battle with esophageal cancer.

Alan was a professor of Special Education at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, where he had spent almost 16 years preparing teachers to work with children who are blind or visually impaired. Prior to his tenure at Texas Tech, Alan was a teacher and outreach consultant at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton, IA. He received his undergraduate and Masters degrees and teaching qualifications at Illinois State University, and his Doctoral degree at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University.

Alan had an international reputation as an expert in braille literacy and had traveled extensively providing in-service workshops and helping teachers and parents of young children with visual impairments. He had written, co-written, or edited 12 books and over 50 professional journal articles or book chapters on the topic. Alan had received numerous awards for his work, and was most recently given the prestigious "Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Award" from the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER).

Alan served as president of the Division on Visual Impairment of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) from 1991-1993. He served in numerous leadership positions in both AER and CEC. He was also editor-in-chief of the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness from 2001 until 2004.

Alan will be greatly missed by his family and colleagues and friends around the world.

Surviving are his parents, Charlie and Beulah Koenig of Mt. Carmel, IL; sister, Carolyn Myers (Terry) of Flora, IL; and four brothers: Stephen (Jean) of Wooster, OH; Vernon (Trish) of Seymour, MO; Raymond (Tammy) of Gaithersville, MD; Marvin of Spartanburg, SC; Brian of Mt. Carmel; and many nieces and nephews; and his friend Cay Holbrook, of Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Services will be held 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, February 9 at St. Mary's Church, in Mt. Carmel, with burial in St. Mary's Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, February 8 at
Cunningham Funeral Home
403 Cherry Street, Mt. Carmel, Illinois
phone: 618-262-4062 - Fax: 618-263-3912

Memorials may be made to the American Foundation for the Blind's National Literacy Center, 11 Penn Plaza, Suite 300, New York, NY 10001; or the Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education in Visual Impairment of Texas Tech University, College of Education, P.O. Box 41071, Lubbock, TX 79409.

The College of Education of Texas Tech University is having a Celebration of Life service for Dr. Alan Koenig on Sunday, February 20, 2005 at 3:00 pm in Room 001 in the College of Education, 3008 18th Street, Lubbock Texas.

The Sowell Center faculty and staff are creating a Celebration of Life book for Alan's family.  We would like to include notes, cards, e-mails you might want to contribute about how Alan impacted your life; a story about Alan, etc. We have a short timeline.  Please get all materials to us by Feb. 15, 2005.

Also, the Sowell Center is establishing a scholarship endowment in Alan's name for anyone who would like to contribute.  Please contact Gonzalez, Angela [] for more information.