By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer
James Falzone, a visually impaired man who designed checks to help blind people use banks, died in his sleep Friday at his South Reynolds Road home. He was 66.
The cause of death is still under investigation.
Mr. Falzone was born without sight and initially struggled through a world not designed for the visually impaired. “Back then, there wasn’t much chance for the education of the impaired,” his wife, Barbara, said.
He received his high school equivalency diploma and went on to the University of Toledo, studying business. For a time, he sold insurance, but he spent much of his time advocating independence for people with visual impairments. He was active in the Maumee and West Toledo Lions Clubs, serving as the latter’s president in 1968.
He and a vice president of Fifth Third Bank worked together to design checks for the visually im paired, using braille and large print. He received a merit award from the Ohio Bureau of Services for the Blind for his efforts.
In the early 1980s, Mr. Falzone gained some sight in his right eye after a cornea transplant.
Mr. Falzone worked a few part-time jobs over the next 11 years until his new cornea failed and had to be replaced in another operation in 1995.
He was working three days a week as a greeter at Toys R Us when he died.
“He loved it because he could work with kids,” his wife said. “He loved children.”
Mr. Falzone had recently been named employee of the month.
Surviving are his wife, Barbara; brothers Anthony and Vincent Falzone; sister, Anne Jones; stepdaughter Tereas Gregory; stepsons, Mark and Eric Strole; eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Funeral services will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Neville Funeral Home, 5052 Dorr St. Visitation will be after 2 p.m. Tuesday.
The family requests tributes to the Northwest Ohio Eye Bank and the American Diabetes Association.