Founder-director of Clarke School for the Deaf, Dr. P. Leelavathy passes away

The founder-director of the well-known Clarke School for the Deaf located in Mylapore, Dr. Leelavathy Patrick has passed away ( July 7). She resided in the school campus at 3rd Street, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore.

She was born on May 29, 1929.

Leelvathy and founder secretary, the late Dr. S.K. Nagarajan started The Clarke School for the Deaf, Chennai in a small way with just three students, an old hearing aid and some makeshift furniture in her residence in R. A. Puram. That was in 1970.

Over the years, with the help of experts in community development and rehabilitation services, the institution has grown from just three students to 130 students with varying disabilities, with a reputation for quality services.

Her colleagues say Dr Leelavathy did her post-graduate studies in this field in the USA; this college later honoured her with a honorary doctorate when the school completed 25 years, in recognition of the fact that she was the only woman then, in the sub-continent to set up a school for hearing impaired and manage it for years.

Says Dipti Karnad, who till recently was a faculty for over 40 years at Clarke School, “Dr Leelavathy was a good teacher, administrator, counsellor and social worker. While she was strict and disciplined she was also gracious and affectionate.”

Dipti says Leelavathy also helped many people to set up their own special schools in the city and outside, guiding them along the way since she was a pioneer in this field.

“My best memory is of her is that of a teacher who handled classes on teaching speech for the hearing impaired. She was really good,” adds Dipti.

Said S. N. Srikanth, secretary of the society that runs Clarke School, “Dr Leelavathy dedicated her life for the cause of children and person with disabilities. A very devoted teacher and leader that we have lost.”

The funeral was scheduled on July 8 morning at Our Lady of Light Church, Luz.

Contact Clarke School – 4428475422

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