Age is only a number : LeBlanc
retiring from audiology career that she
didn't begin until she
...JONESBORO â€" Jane H. LeBlanc finally retired last month after working for nearly half a century as a respected audiologist.
The thing is, she
didn't even get into the profession until she
was 50 years old.
At 92 LeBlanc
decided to retire when her
health started giving her
trouble.But if she
could help it, she'd still be working."I actually was born to be an audiologist," she said.
...When Evins began working as a new audiologist at the clinic seven years ago, LeBlanc was her supervisor.
Many new employees and patients in recent years have been surprised at her
age, but LeBlanc
always seemed to amaze them with her
youthful attitude and professionalism.It never took long for her
to persuade them that her
age had nothing to do with her
ability to do the job.LeBlanc was born in Jonesboro in December 1915.She grew up here and attended Arkansas State College from 1933-35, then lived in numerous other cities and states during her young adult years, mostly working as a secretary.
Years later she
became interested in audiology when a family member suffered hearing loss.The field was still new at the time, and LeBlanc
was approaching age 50, but she
decided to go back to school and make that her
entered Memphis State University
, now University of Memphis, just as it was establishing its speech pathology and audiogram program.In January 1966 she was the first person to be awarded a bachelor's degree in that program, just one month after her 50th birthday.
"I was 50 when I got my very first degree, because I didn't even have my bachelor's," she
said.She went on to obtain her master's degree in audiology from Vanderbilt University in 1968.
"That was at the time when women were just coming into the field of audiology, and so my first position in Arkansas I was the first woman that Arkansas Rehabilitation Service ever hired," she
said."They did their best to get a man; when they couldn't they took me.I know because they told me so later!"
There were only three audiologists in the state at that time, and they were all in Little Rock.LeBlanc
was the only one open to the public.
"So anyone in Arkansas that needed hearing tested, I was the one that did it," she
In 1981 LeBlanc
went to work for otolaryngologist Dr. William C. Young Jr. soon after he
practice in Jonesboro.The practice grew over the years, adding several physicians and numerous employees to eventually become the Otolaryngology and Facial Surgical Centre
said the field of audiology has changed quite a bit over the decades.When she
started, audiologists didn't test hearing in children until they were 5 or 6.Today, hearing tests begin at birth.
"I was very good at testing young children, so that's what I became known for in this area," LeBlanc
has been honored several times for her
dedication to the profession.She
was instrumental in reactivating the Regional Association for Communication Disorders
But on top of all her
professional accomplishments, LeBlanc
has enjoyed being active in other areas.She's been a member of First Baptist Church for many years, teaching a variety of women's Sunday school classes and serving on numerous committees.She joined the local Twentieth Century Club, Jonesboro's oldest women's civic and literary club, in 1952 and has served in every office.
free time she's
traveled to almost every state and several destinations abroad, including Cuba under Fidel Castro, behind the Iron Curtain in the U.S.S.R., China, almost every European country and Canada.LeBlanc
grateful for the life she's
"I have a wonderful, loving family, many caring friends and think life in general is a precious gift from God to be used in service to Him and others," she