Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)


Friday, November 13, 2009

Leaders and Legends: Euclid J. Herie

Euclid J. Herie
Inducted 2009
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Euclid Herie was born in 1939 south of Winnipeg, one of three children of a poor French Canadian farming family. Congenital cataracts resulted in serious vision loss as a teenager, resulting in total blindness by age 40. He earned two undergraduate degrees, a masters in social work in 1965 and honorary Dr. of Laws in 1981, all from the University of Manitoba. He is the father of two children and three grandchildren. Euclid lives in Toronto with Barbara Marjeram, where he occasionally enjoys horseback trekking, white water adventures and sailing.

In 1963 he began a career in child welfare at the Children's Aid Society of Winnipeg. Then he was the Executive Director of the Manitoba Division of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and later of the Ontario Division from 1977 until 1983.

As President and CEO of CNIB from 1984 until his retirement in 2001, his masterful hand at the helm guided the organization through some difficult changes and growth spurts which included the establishment of regional offices, the implementation of new service models, the closure of residential and workshop programs, and the creation of technology, employment, youth and leadership development programs. He led CNIB in a multimillion dollar campaign to digitize the library, one of the largest libraries for the blind funded through private donations.

From 1988 until 2004, Euclid served successively as treasurer, president and past president of the World Blind Union which represents 180 million blind persons in 150 countries. In this capacity he was deeply involved with international agencies stimulating programs in many developing countries particularly in braille literacy, accessible and affordable technology, maintaining universal postage rights, improving the status of blind women, and the restoration of the Louis Braille birthplace. Over the course of his WBU presidency Herie, usually accompanied by executive assistant Marjeram, visited more than 60 countries, delivering speeches, promoting causes and advocating for the rights of blind persons throughout the world.

During his retirement in 2002 he exemplified his strong advocacy for Braille by establishing the World Braille Foundation to help implement Braille literacy programs. In the first six years 40 literacy projects in 18 countries have been implemented to support the training of blind children and adults. From 2003 to 2007 he served as a director of HumanWare, a company which manufactures and distributes technical aids for blind and visually impaired persons.

His publications include Journey to Independence--Blindness, the Canadian Story, a history of blindness in Canada, and a chapter in Changing What It Means to be Blind: Reflections on the first 25 years of the World Blind Union.

Dr. Herie has received many honors for his exemplary leadership on behalf of the blind worldwide and was elected in 2000 as an honorary life member of the WBU. In 2001 he was appointed president emeritus of CNIB, an unprecedented recognition. He received AER's Ambrose M. Shotwell Award in 2002 for "outstanding contributions to the personal adjustment or rehabilitation of adults who are blind or visually impaired." He is also the recipient of the Queen's 50th Anniversary Commemorative Medal and the Canadian Government's prestigious Member of the Order of Canada. His most recent award is the World Blind Union Louis Braille Medal in 2009.

He has been described as "dynamic and fearlessly optimistic" and is valued for his "warmth of personality and ability to touch the lives of disempowered people."

The Hall of Fame Induction of Dr. Euclid Herie and Dr. Dean Tuttle by Dr. Jane Erin

Euclid Herie Euclid Herie's Hall of Fame Plaque

Plaque sponsored by Humanware

About the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired.

These significant professional colleagues of the recent and distant past are a fascinating cross-section of heroes and pioneers who not only shaped our rich history, philosophy, knowledge and skills, but also give us insights into current and future challenges. These giants shared their personal lives and showed us strategies to ensure that services for blind persons remain unique and specialized. Enjoy their lives and contributions and reflect upon your own list of heroes.

Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is a project of the entire field of blindness. It is curated by the American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Visit the virtual Hall of Fame for the inspiring stories of many more heroes of the field of blindness.

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.