SCIOTO — The Scioto Foundation is pleased to announce the establishment of the Aeh and Gee Family Fund, a new restricted fund created by JoAnn Aeh to benefit individuals with autism or those on the autistic spectrum.
For Aeh, setting up the fund is an intensely personal and meaningful experience because her 55-year old son Mark is autistic. He was born at a time when no one knew much about autism and he was never really diagnosed, but he had a lot of the markers, Aeh said.
“We had no idea. He had convulsions when he was three days old and again when he was a year old, he had another,” said his mother.
“Growing up Mark had an amazing memory for numbers,” Aeh commented. “He could tell you what day your birthday is on five years from now. In the first grade he could say the alphabet forwards and backwards and can still do it. He knows more about family history than I do, and he does well with the phone and computer.”
“At nine years old he was very routine-oriented once a routine changed, he stays with it. Comprehension has always been difficult for him and he cannot reason; he has no logic unless he is shown how to do something; then he is fine. He is also very noise sensitive,” Aeh added. “He went to regular schools and liked classes where the teachers had discipline. He tested orally better but had problems with talking since he was deaf in one ear and had some distortion in the other ear. Fortunately, he had good teachers and a caring audiologist. “
“Luckily Mark was functional and finished all twelve years of school, then graduated. He didn’t fit in special education classes. In junior high he had some problems with kids teasing and bullying him, but he did fine in high school. Today he reads newspapers every day and enjoys helping with the sports teams at Portsmouth High School, and noise doesn’t bother him. He drives but has difficulty managing money.” Aeh said, “We did not know about his autism when he was young; if we had known, we could have done more.”
“We wanted to set up the fund to help individuals with needs related to their autistic condition,” Aeh continued, citing the case of a family who could not afford a child’s need and no resources were available from which they could receive assistance. “We want money to be available for those who are autistic, and we want the money from the fund to go locally.”
Aeh added that she wanted her fund to bear her family name of Gee in addition to her married name. She and her husband Roy made the decision on how to set up the fund together before he died in 2017.
JoAnn Aeh was born in Portsmouth but raised in Sciotoville and graduated from East High School. She first worked as an bookkeeper at Shelby Shoe Company and later in the circulation department at the Portsmouth Daily Times for seven years. She continued her career at Public Finance Company for six years and then became an internal bookkeeper at H & R Block for eleven years. She is best known for her 24-year position as Portsmouth City Clerk until she retired in 2011 at age 74. She served on the Portsmouth City Council two different times.
Contributions to the Aeh and Gee Family Fund from family, friends, supporters of autism or the general public may be made at any time. Donations may be in the form of gifts of cash, securities or property.
Additional information about the Aeh and Gee Family Fund or other planned giving opportunities at the Scioto Foundation may be obtained by contacting Patty Tennant, Program Office – Donor Services, or SF Executive Director Kim Cutlip at (740) 354-4612.