Image of Janet smiling widely.

Janet Morgan Barlow literally grew up in the field of services to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. In her early teens, Janet assisted her mother, June Morgan Willis, in a summer social and recreation program for blind youth known as Camp Wiki-Waki. This experience along with June’s influence inspired Janet to attend Florida State University to obtain a degree in Orientation and Mobility (O&M).

I met Janet in 1978 when she joined the staff at the Atlanta Area Services for the Blind, now CVI, as an O&M instructor. Over the next 22 years we worked together and developed a close friendship. Through our shared work experiences, I developed enormous respect and admiration for Janet as an instructor, an advocate, and a manager.

Janet brought dedication and creativity to her role as an O&M instructor. She taught her students to be problem solvers as they faced the challenges of traveling safely and independently in complex environments. Janet always kept extra gloves and rain gear in her office and never accepted a student’s complaint about bad weather as an excuse not to go out for a lesson.

As an advocate for accessibility, Janet was a pioneer and a leader on both the local and national level. When audible pedestrian signals were first introduced in other cities, Janet initiated contact with the director of city planning for Atlanta to get audible signals installed at the intersection of Ponce de Leon and North Highland because we had several clients living in the area.    

Janet’s influence on efforts to create more accessible environments for persons with disabilities was profound. For more than 25 years she attended, and addressed, meetings of the National Transportation Board and countless other national and international organizations in the fields of urban planning and traffic engineering. Her message was that planners and engineers could and should create accessible and safe pedestrian street crossings and roundabouts. This message was delivered with passion and supported by research. Visually impaired individuals traveling throughout the US and Canada owe much to Janet’s tireless efforts and expertise.

As a manager of adult rehabilitation services at CVI, Janet performed at the highest level and expected others to do likewise. During my years as CVI’s Executive Director, I benefited from Janet’s commitment to excellence,  dedication to our mission and most of all her honest feedback and genuine support and friendship.

During those years we frequently traveled together to attend meetings and conferences and I grew to appreciate Janet’s devotion to her first love, her family. In addition to numerous professional achievements, Janet was a loving wife to Doug and devoted mother to Jen, Beckah and Tisha. For those of us who were fortunate enough to know her, Janet was a true, generous and loyal friend.

Through her work and publications, Janet made the world a more accessible place for those of us who are blind or visually impaired. Through her love and devotion, Janet and Doug created a loving family. I am sure that all members of the CVI extended family send love and condolences to June, Doug, the girls and the entire Morgan-Barlow family.

Scott McCall
Former Executive Director
Center for the Visually Impaired