Chapter & Local News

Smiling Face of Penny Snow, a long time member of the Hearing Loss Association. Penny Snow

Penny Snow is a tireless advocate for people with hearing loss on Nantucket.


She recently received an email from Karyn Lindsay at the Nantucket Historical Society which said that the Whaling Museum had received a grant to buy assistive technology and 25 FM receivers for hearing impaired visitors.   The letter concluded with a thank you:   Thank you for your support, Penny – you have been a wonderful advocate for all our hearing-impaired visitors to the Whaling Museum, and we are appreciative!


Penny is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in Massachusetts, and has been counseling on Nantucket since 1986. Her website is Quality of Life Counseling

She has improved the quality of life for hard of hearing residents and visitors to Nantucket with her advocacy. 


A few years ago, she wanted to have captioned movies at the newly renovated Dreamland Theater.  She asked that the theater show a weekly captioned film.  They agreed and set the time for Wednesday at 2 pm. The theater recently secured a grant to pay for more advertising about the weekly film showing and Penny is hoping the ad will bring more people.  She said, "Attendance has been a bit slim but I have been trying to go very week to support it.  They show all the newly released films." But unfortunately, the theater notified her that it was discontinuing the open captioned show due to very low attendance.


Penny advocates by making a suggestion to the management along with some statistics.  

---1 out of 3 people over 60 years old has hearing loss.

---baby boomers = 40% of the population

--1 out of 5 over the age of 12 has some kind of hearing loss.Young people with ear buds are losing their hearing at alarming rates. 


There is one venue on Nantucket with a loop--the Unitarian Church.  Penny's next project is to remove the stigma of assistive devices preventing use and educating prospective users on how they work.

Boston Chapter link

Boston Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America website lists many activities of interest to people with hearing loss.


Frank Gillis, beloved husband of Barbara Gillis, passed away in early April.  He was a kind, thoughtful and funny man, who loved Barbara above all else.  His Volvo station wagon traveled over 200,000 miles with him.  Rest in Peace.



Our good friend and former president passed away on November 1st.  She was 91 years young, an avid reader and letter writer to the New York Times. A long time hospice volunteer and friend to all, she will be missed. Her countless acts of kindness, smiles, hugs and upbeat attitude kept us going, and still make us smile.  A celebration of her life will be hosted by her family in June.

For those who would like to contribute, a donation can be made in her memory to Hope Health/Hope Hospice, 765 Attucks Lane, Hyannis, MA, 02601. Betty's final act of love was an anatomical gift to the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

    I treasure her friendship and her support of our chapter.


Betty Szeberenyi passed away in October 2015 after a brave battle with cancer.  She was a librarian and always tried to keep our name tag system under control.  She was a volunteer for the Harwich Historical Society, which will be honoring her in November.

 Muriel Sarfaty, passed away just six weeks after her cancer diagnosis in October 2014, her daughter Karen informs us.  Muriel  was known for her ready smile and friendliness.  We will miss her.

 Barbara Brockway, shown here with her daughter Nancy at 2014 Holiday Brunch, looking fashionable as always.  Though she had some health problems, she regularly came to the picnics, luncheons and meetings and we loved hearing about her family and their many activities together. 

Long-time Director of HLAACC, John Sandstrom Powers, 57, of South Yarmouth passed away peacefully at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on May 16, 2013, following injuries sustained in a bicycling accident.


John was a friend to all, great baker of treats for our meetings, and a terrific spokesman for the communication problems of hearing loss, as well as other unfairnesses in the world. He cared for people, animals and tomatoes and all were better for it under his observant eyes.   He will be missed.

As his brother Richard said at the memorial service:

For John, it was not the easiest life, but he handled it all as well as anyone could.  He had many down times, we knew that, but always was quick with a smile and a twinkle in his eye.

The Cape Cod chapter recently lost two of our members.  Long time Treasurer and the hardest working guy we know Ken Amesbury passed away at the age of 91 after a short illness.  He attended the holiday party and looked dapper as usual.

Alex Schmidt passed away on March 17th at the age of 90.   He and his late wife Claire were active board members and attended all the social events. Alex published a memoir full of pictures, and we have a copy to share with anyone who wants to read it.


We contributed to the 2013 New England Walk for Hearing in John's, Ken's and Alex's names.