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Thread: Viola Lennon, LLL co-Founder

  1. #1

    Default Viola Lennon, LLL co-Founder

    It is with great sadness that we have learned that Viola Lennon, co-Founder of La Leche League International and co-author of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, passed away peacefully in the Chicago area on Friday, January 22. Service and memorial details will be made available as soon as possible on the LLLI web page.

    Viola Lennon was born in 1923. She credits her mother with having the strongest influence on her philosophy of breastfeeding and mothering, saying, “My mother portrayed breastfeeding as an enjoyable experience that brings you close to your baby.”

    In 1951, Viola married William (Bill) Lennon with whom she had ten children. Edwina Froehlich, Viola’s friend from college, invited her to a meeting at the home of Mary White’s home in 1956, and she quickly joined the others.

    In 1972, Viola took on the important role of Chairman of the LLLI Board of Directors, a position she held for five years. During this time, she helped guide the LLLI Board in the formalization of the policies and procedures for running this growing organization, as well as in defining the organizational philosophy and principles. When LLLI’s finances took a downturn in 1984, Viola spearheaded our “Second Founding” and later became the Director of the LLLI Funding Development Department, a position she held for many years. Vi developed close personal relationships with many generous donors who supported LLLI’s efforts financially and contributed in many ways to the success of the organization.

    When she left her staff position as Funding Development Director, she dedicated her time and effort to the expansion of the Alumnae Association, becoming one of its strongest proponents.

    Viola says, “Breastfeeding… led me to self-discovery and to a greater appreciation of the full humanity of the babies who were entrusted to me. Each woman needs to trust her own instincts, her own feelings, and her own sense of what will work for her with each baby. Women in the 1950s had forgotten the wisdom of previous generations in relation to breastfeeding. Mothers who tried to breastfeed on their own were almost always destined to fail.” She laughs when she adds, "The neighbors sent their children to watch me breastfeed because they knew the children would not see it anywhere else!”

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: Viola Lennon, LLL co-Founder

    Married to my Sugar Daddy
    Mom to Matt (5/14/97)
    James (11/8/06)
    Kelly Anne (3/14/08)
    Paul (3/11/10)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    The Buckeye State

    Default Re: Viola Lennon, LLL co-Founder

    What a woman. She has left us her legacy of love to carry on. What a beautiful life she lived. We all are better mamas because of her. Wow. Wishing her family and loved one's solice in a life awesomely lived.
    I'm Colleen
    Mama to
    Silas born May 2009 ~ Nursed 18 mos, weaned during pregnancy, unweaned at 24 months, still nursing when he feels like it
    Lola born March 2011 ~ The Mary Lou Retton of toddler nursing
    Married to Brandon
    Using cloth on both bums

    We hibernate together

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    St. Louis, MO

    Default Re: Viola Lennon, LLL co-Founder

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*pigpen777 View Post

    I'm Laura, mamma of 2



    We love and

    We have been nursing for over 2 years now!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Viola Lennon, LLL co-Founder

    I just heard. So sad. How blessed we all are to have had her stand up for our rights!

    Wife to a grizzly
    Mama to my little deer (12/05) my loving bear cub (9/07--), and our little tiger (3/22/10)
    Born by one c-section and 2 amazing VBACs

    Miles in 2012: 350.5/900 (Actual Miles Ran: 189)
    Miles in 2011: 708.5 (Actual Miles Ran: 509)
    Miles in 2010: 800.5 (Actual Miles Ran: 620)

    January Miles: 37.5/75
    February Miles: 59/75
    March Miles: 42.5/60
    April Miles: 64
    May Miles: 41/70
    June Miles: 59
    July Miles: 39.5

    227.5 miles on my new shoes
    338 miles on my old shoes

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    It's round on the ends and high in the middle

    Default Re: Viola Lennon, LLL co-Founder

    What an inspiration she is. I am sorry to hear of her passing.

    Fancy Momma to the Divine Miss M, 2/15/07 BF'ed for 17 months!
    Currently TTC Baby #2

    Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies - Damn it, you've got to be kind. - Kurt Vonnegut

  7. #7

    Default Re: Viola Lennon, LLL co-Founder

    From the director of the EUS Area Network:

    Many of you have heard the sad news of the death of Founder Viola
    Lennon on Friday afternoon, January 22. I have heard that the wake
    will be held on Monday the 25th and the funeral on Tuesday on the
    26th. I do not have any further details at this time.

    Vi's family asked Marian where donations should be sent and she
    suggested the LLL Breastfeeding Helpline - US, as did Judy Torgus, and
    Vi's family decided to go with it. Marian wrote, "I'm sure Vi will be
    happy to be back helping mothers and babies!"

    Our hearts go out to Vi's family, the other co-Founders, and the many
    friends Vi has embraced worldwide,
    Amy Shaw
    You can make donations to the Breastfeeding Helpline at


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: Viola Lennon, LLL co-Founder

    Thanks for sending us the sad news.

    How many of the original (is it seven?) founders are left to us? The positive influence these founding matriarchs have had on our society is immeasurable.

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