Necrology John N. Clancy

from ASHA - A Journal of the American Speech and Hearing Association Volume Eleven, Number Twelve, December 1969, p. 555.


John N. Clancy

John Newman Clancy died on June 22 in Boynton Beach, Florida, at the age of 70. He had been a Member of ASHA since 1939 and was a Fellow of the Association.

John Clancy was nationally known as the founder of the Shady Trails Camp, which became the University of Michigan Speech and Hearing Camp. He direcin 1932 until 1965, when he retired and was awarded the title of Director Emeritus. At the time of his retirement he was also Assistant Director of the University of Michigan's speech clinic. The university has established the Clancy Scholarship Fund in his memory, to accept contributions for speech-handicapped boys who need financial assistance to attend camp.

Born in Traverse City, Michigan, Mr. Clancy received his B.A. in 1921 from Notre Dame University, graduating cum laude in philosophy. About 15 years later, after he had begun his life work at Shady Trails Camp, he earned a master's degree in speech and general linguistics from the University of Michigan.

Clancy's purpose in founding Shady Trails was to create an environment from which boys with speech handicaps could derive increased self-understanding and confidence by developing effective interpersonal relationships. The camp was a pioneering achievement, based on the belief that communication in daily living could be made a basis element of a speech rehabilitation program. While this concept may seem commonplace today, in 1932 it was a bold step and a significant departure from programs then in vogue.

The camp opened with an enrollment of just four. That it survived its early years was probably due to John Clancy's tenacity and to the stalwart support of his wife, Grace, as well as to the innovative ideas behind it. Dedicated to humanitarian goals, Clancy was able to achieve them through a rare combination of unswerving determination, keen understanding of human nature, astute business sense, and a rare administrative ability.

The success of the camp was assured when, in 1949, it was purchased by the Kresge Foundation and presented to the University of Michigan. Today the annual enrollment is 112 boys, ranging in age from 8 to 21. Since its founding, the camp has provided speech therapy services along with a coordinated program of counseling, physical education, and recreation for more than 1600 boys and young men.

In addition to directing the camp and serving the University of Michigan speech clinic, for 20 years Clancy taught a graduate course, Internship in Speech Pathology, which provided clinical instruction for applicants from university program throughout the United States.

The field of speech and hearing is indeed indebted to John Clancy for his contributions as a perceptive and innovative clinical administrator and teacher. He will be missed by his colleagues and by the many who have been helped by his pioneering approach to speech therapy. He took a very personal concern for the progress and well being of each young person who came to his camp.

added March 23, 2005