Cover photo for Sylvia Ann Meek's Obituary
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1941 Sylvia 2021

Sylvia Ann Meek

December 3, 1941 — December 24, 2021

Sylvia Ann Meek (nee Doherty) was born December 3rd, 1941. Sylvia gently passed away December 24. Surviving Sylvia is her loving husband of 51 years, Henry, Daughter Rebecca, and grandchildren Oliva and Madeline Andriot. Sylvia’s three sisters are Mary Lou Schaefer (husband Jerry), Nancy Borgese (husband Tony), Kathy Fries (Late husband Dave). Sylvia has nine nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be Thursday, December 30th from 10 AM at St. Xavier High School chapel. 600 W. North Bend Road, Cincinnati, OH 45224. The funeral Mass will follow at 11 AM.

Friends and family are invited to join the family at Henry’s nearby residence immediately after the service.

She attended Seton her junior and senior year, was editor of the student paper, and a friend of Jerry Rubin of Chicago 7 fame. Her goal became journalism.

She graduated from the University of Illinois and received a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology for Southern Illinois University.

In 1965, Dr. Emily Hess, the head of the physical medicine department at Good Samaritan Hospital, recruited Sylvia to start the first Cincinnati hospital speech pathology program. El Dopa had allowed locked in parkinsonism patents to talk. So, she created groups for these patients to express their liberation and improve their speech. The Cincinnati Royals basketball player Maurice Stokes, who had suffered a brain infection, arrived at Good Sam at the same time. Sylvia met with him daily, helped make his speech intelligible, and became his secretary transcribing both letters and his autobiography. Sylvia’s specialty was adult aphasia patients.

Sylvia moved to Drake Hospital and developed it into a full time position, added staff, and audiology services.

Sylvia held the position at the UC College of Medicine of assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Communication Disorders.

While at Drake, through the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, Sylvia started a support group for aphasic patients.

She moved to the UC ENT Clinic where she used a childhood skill to teach tracheostomy patients to speak on a burp.

Sylvia received the honors of South West Ohio Speech and Hearing Association.

She was recruited to start the speech and audiology program at Providence Hospital.

She finished her career at UC working with closed head injury patients. Sylvia retired in 1992.

Sylvia contracted polio in 1954. She was in an iron lung for three months. With the help of Dr. Aaron Pearlman, she had surgery which allowed her to be functional.

She transferred to the Convalescent Home for Children on Auburn Ave for rehab. In 1955, she saw an article in Time Magazine on the polio vaccine.

Sylvia was a poster child for the March of Dimes and a campaign, Silver for Sylvia.

Her mother, father, and sisters were and continued to be of tremendous support.

Please make donations to either:

Our Daily Bread, 1730 Race St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 https://ourdailybread.us/ or
Crossroad Health Center, 5 E. Liberty St. Cincinnati 45202 http://www.crossroadhc.org/

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