Dear Alexander Graham Bell Community,
This week our community lost a dear friend, Marty Sussman, a dedicated advocate and champion of listening and spoken language and of AG Bell. Marty was a loving husband to Kathy, a Past President of AG Bell; together they committed their lifetime to helping children achieve their dreams .
A dreamer himself, Marty had a creative mind and was always thinking outside the box. He believed that everyone has the ability to achieve anything they want to. To him all things were possible, and this belief is evident in his project, Dreams Spoken Here.
Dreams Spoken Here was first a documentary film, then it became an endeavor that increased access to valuable educational materials for parents, educators, and students. Dreams Spoken Here was Marty's baby. Millions of donated copies of the film and materials made their way around the world, generously supported by the Oberkotter Foundation .
With their kindness, Marty made it happen. He not only produced the film and materials, he also made sure that at every conference related to hearing loss or children, people had access to the lessons of Dreams Spoken Here. Marty would personally attend them all, just so he could speak with educators, and reach students, parents, and their families.
Marty and Kathy Sussman with Karen Roths Erickson
Ken Levinson, a close friend of Marty and Kathy, said:

"His colorful bags of materials and film, were omnipresent at every conference. I often tagged along to help. During the lull times, we would stand around and chat, but when the crowds came and people came to the booth, you could see Marty's eyes lighting up. He couldn't wait to tell people what was possible and to give them resources to help achieve their dreams for their children. He also spent many days on the phone and with email, helping people get the information. What made Marty special is that he would often take that extra step to talk to people, connecting them to others that could help fulfill their dreams."
Bruce Rosenfield, another close friend of the Sussmans, added:

"For Marty, it was always about the kids. He was sensitive to the needs of parents and was always thinking about how we can better support families along their journey to ensure that their children reached the same literacy levels as their hearing friends. Together with his beloved wife, Kathy, and "sister," Mildred Oberkotter, the Dreams film series was conceived and implemented, and he was instrumental in overseeing the distribution of over 2 million copies! He will be sorely missed."
I recall fondly first meeting Kathy and Marty on a sun-filled weekend in Moss Beach, California. Marty was generous with his advice which helped me tremendously at that point in my early tenure. Their enthusiasm for serving children and their families through the Weingarten Children's Center was limitless as was their kindness to me as I first began learning and understanding the power of listening and spoken language .
We honor Marty today with deep gratitude. He exemplifies perfectly the spirit of AG Bell - that not only can children with hearing loss learn to hear and talk, but that this is something that we need to work passionately and tirelessly to bring to as many people as possible. He was a champion. His memory will live on in those he spoke with, in those he worked with, and in those whose future he made better through his work and his life. I am immensely grateful for everything he has done for AG Bell and for the listening and spoken language community.
I'm sure Kathy would appreciate your condolences; you can contact her at kathy.sussman@gmail.com. A memorial fund is being set up for the Weingarten Children's Center if you would like to make a contribution in his memory, In the meantime, you can make your contribution in Marty's memory here.
I am always available to you and can be reached at info@agbell.org and 202-337-5220.
Until next week,
Emilio EAM signature blue transparent 
Emilio Alonso-Mendoza

 

Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.

Harriet Tubman