Nancy Herndon Cale served as an advocate in the autism community for the past two decades, motivated by her personal relationship to autism as a grandmother. Her grandson Wynn Johnson has autism. She was born on January 5, 1944, in Atlanta and passed away on August 11, 2017, at the age of 73. Nancy was the co-founder of Unlocking Autism and had worked for over a decade as a counselor at the hotline call center for Autism Research Institute. She is survived by three children, Todd Hale, Shannon Johnson and Branndan VanEgmond, and four grandchildren. Her memorial service was held on August 13, 2017 at the Peachtree City Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Sharpsburg, Georgia (Read more at Dignity Memorial). Nancy Herndon Cale will be placed on the Autism Light Memorial Roll today.
The following is a photo tribute to Nancy Cale from her daughter Shannon Johnson's YouTube Channel.
Unlocking Autism: Nancy Herndon Cale co-founded Unlocking Autism in 1998 with Shelley Hendrix Reynolds, in honor of her grandson, Wynn. In her role at Unlocking Autism, "Nancy fielded many thousands of calls and emails from families in need in the U.S. and around the world (Read more at National Vaccine Information Center, August 14, 2017)." She earned a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for her work in Unlocking Autism that involved fostering state and local governmental partnerships to help meet the needs of the autism community (Read more at Dignity Memorial Obituary).
Autism Research Institute: In her work at the Autism Research Institute, Nancy Herndon Cale answered calls at their hotline and served as an administrative assistant for conference planning.
Nancy Cale once said this about how the call center brought added purpose to her life:
I am humbled each and every day by the depth of the needs and concerns of those who call searching for help for their loved ones with autism. I am happy knowing the generous heart of our community makes it possible to assure new parents, parents facing new struggles, and adults looking for help. Bless you all who take time to reach out to others as we work to make life better for those who ask for our help (Read more at Autism Research Institute: Remembering Nancy Cale).Nancy was indeed so dedicated to the work of the autism hotline call center, she continued to answer phone calls for Autism Research Institute up until the very day she was admitted to the hospital in August 2017 (Read more at Dignity Memorial Obituary).
We remember Nancy Herndon Cale for her efforts to counsel and provide community resources for families that struggle with autism. Her legacy is that of an autism grandmother who determined to do what she could to shine a light for autism. Her grandson Wynn Johnson can be very proud of his grandmother. His autism diagnosis spurred Nancy Herndon Cale to begin the great work she did. May Nancy Herndon Cale's example as an autism grandmother encourage others to make a difference for autism.
Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.