Remembering Leaders
in the Field of Blindness and Visual Impairment

Evelyn Rex in Center, photo credit to Paul Lewis

Evelyn Rex in Center
Photo Credit - Paul Lewis

Dr. Evelyn J. Rex  1923-2009

From the Pantagraph
Evelyn J. Rex

Thursday, December 17, 2009 12:00 am 

NORMAL — Dr. Evelyn J. Rex, 86, Normal, passed away at 5:48 p.m. Tuesday (Dec. 15, 2009) at BroMenn Regional Medical Center, Normal.

Her funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Calvert & Metzler Memorial Home, Bloomington. The Rev. John McIntosh will officiate. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the memorial home. A graveside service will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at Maplewood Cemetery, Marion. The Rev. Dr. Victor Long will officiate. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to the Evelyn J. Rex Scholarship Fund at Illinois State University; First United Methodist Church, Normal; or First United Methodist Church, Marion.

She was born March 31, 1923, in Marion, the daughter of Edward N. and Lillian Neely Rex.  

Evelyn is survived by many cousins throughout the U.S., the closest of whom is Walter F. “Wally” Schweiger, and his wife, Susan, and daughter, Carrie Ann, of St. Charles.

She has many close friends in Normal, as well as numerous associates at Illinois State University. Longtime family friends in Marion include Marlene and Bob Campbell and their children, Susan and Jeff.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Edward B. Rex.

Evelyn received her BS in education from Southern Illinois University, MA at Northwestern University and PhD from George Peabody College for Teachers, Nashville, Tenn.

Dr. Rex began her teaching career in the East St. Louis public schools as a first grade teacher. In 1958, she joined the faculty at Illinois State Normal University in the department of special education as an instructor in the program for visually impaired students. During her 33 years at ISU, Dr. Rex was involved in sweeping changes in the field of special education. Her devotion to literacy for the visually impaired and training for teachers of students with special education needs established her legacy when she retired from ISU in 1991.

Among her many memberships in educational and professional organizations are Delta Kappa Gamma, the American Foundation for the Blind, the Printing House for the Blind, the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness and the U.S. Library of Congress Talking Book Program. She wrote extensively and co-authored “Foundations of Braille Literacy,” published by the American Foundation for the Blind. This textbook has been used in classes at ISU for many years. Evelyn taught classes, supervised student teachers and administered numerous grants and special programs for the university and various professional associations. She often was a keynote speaker at conventions and meetings throughout the world.

But first and foremost, Evelyn was a friend, confidante and beloved teacher to hundreds of students preparing to make a difference in the world of the visually impaired. The impact her teaching had is far-reaching.

Online condolences may be e-mailed at www.calvertmemorial. com.

Posted in Obituaries on Thursday, December 17, 2009 12:00 am