Lawrence Raymond Fleischer, 64, born October 11, 1945 in Long Island, NY, to Deaf parents, Samuel and Rita Hamel Fleischer, died suddenly November 1, 2009 of a heart attack at St. Joseph's Hospital, in Burbank, CA on his return from the ASLTA Conference in Phoenix, AZ.
He is survived by his wife, Vera (Pedersen) and one son, Flann Fleischer, both of Granada Hills, CA; one daughter, Flavia S. Fleischer, granddaughter, Ryssa B. Fleischer and son-in-law, Will Garrow all of Orem, UT; and two brothers, Michael Fleischer of New York City and Gerald Fleischer of Long Island.
He was a tenured professor and Chair of the Department of Deaf Studies at California State University, Northridge, He was a long-time leader and driving force in the academic disciplines of American Sign Language and deaf studies.
He had spent a good part of his life providing the dynamic leadership needed to restructure and change many organizations to keep up with the times and needs of the Deaf Community.
He was secretary, then president of the Farwest Athletic Association of the Deaf, Chairman of the Restructure Committee of the AAAD from 1986 to 1990 and President of the American Athletic Association of the Deaf, now known as USA Deaf Sports Federation, from 1989 to 1997; and was re-elected again in 2007, a position he held at the time of his death.
Under his guidance, tutelage and leadership, the AAAD became an umbrella organization of 17 different national sports organizations which make up the framework and family of the present day USADSF. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Deaf Sports Foundation, established in 2007.
He attended the NY School for the Deaf (Fanwood); then received his bachelor's degree from Gallaudet University, his masters degree from CSUN and his doctor of education degree in educational administration from Brigham Young University in 1975, then joined the CSUN faculty soon afterward.
He taught mathematics at Gallaudet University from 1967 to 1970 and was also a member of the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees from October 2007 to October 2009.
He had additional extensive experience serving other organizations that benefit deaf people, including as president of the Council on Education of the Deaf, president of the American Sign Language Teachers Association(ASLTA), and member of the National Certification Board of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. He was also an author of books and magazine articles, and a film producer on topics related to American Sign Language and deaf culture. He served on the Sorenson Consumer Policy Board for the past 3 years.
He was a selfless, goal-oriented leader who had devoted all of his adult life towards the betterment of Deaf people, Deaf sports and Deaf Education. He had always worked quietly behind the scenes and was not one to seek the limelight. He believed that every individual’s contributions in any organization are important, and he actively included and empowered others so that the end result was a joint effort.
Larry will always be remembered for his quiet demeanor, his calm in the midst of chaos, his steadfast work ethic, his honesty, integrity and intense focus on his goals.
In accordance with his wishes, there will be no funeral. A memorial is tentatively scheduled for January 23, 2010 at CSUN.
A foundation is being established by the family in his memory. Details will be announced.
Above photo courtesy of CSUN.