Share this article

print logo

LaDonna Swan, local pioneer in ocular restoration July 12, 1916 -- Sept. 26, 2009

LaDonna D. "Mandy" Swan, of Snyder, a local pioneer in ocular restoration, as well as a photographer and former business owner, died Saturday in Autumn View Health Care Facility, Hamburg. She was 93.

Born in Buffalo, she graduated from Bennett High School and Bryant & Stratton Business Institute. In the early 1950s, she moved to Eden, where she spent much of her life before moving to Phoenix in the mid-1980s. She returned to live with her son's family in Snyder about six years ago.

Her son, Dr. William B. Davis, described her as a tough woman who ended up surviving a life-threatening gunshot wound during a robbery in her parents' home in 1951 that made national news.

"They thought she was done, but she woke up in the morgue," Davis said. "She was a tough lady, but was a very humble woman."

Ms. Swan also endured her own loss of vision.

As a young child, she was blinded in one eye by a cinder that flew into it at a playground, requiring surgery to insert a glass eye.

When she had the opportunity to purchase an eye clinic in Buffalo in 1961, she did, and mostly taught herself all that she came to know about ocular restoration. She founded the Ocular Restoration Clinic and located it in the Southtowns, where it still operates today on South Park Avenue in Hamburg.

Ms. Swan became well-known as a pioneer in plastic ocular prostheses. Because of her photography experience -- learned from her father, who operated Ben Swan's Photography Studio in Buffalo -- she lent an artistic flair to her methods and became one of the leading ocularists in the world, according to her son.

Patients from as far away as Germany would seek her help. She also was a fixture in operating rooms, often attending ophthalmic surgeries.

Once, she even made an eye for a show dog after being contacted by the dog's Eden veterinarian. Judges never noticed that the bulldog had a specially made eye.

Ms. Swan also gave lectures in her field. In addition, she had owned and operated her father's photography studio, which had been located on Main Street near what was then-Shea's Buffalo Theater.

She was active in the American Society of Ocularists and also was past worthy matron of Colonial Chapter 669, Order of Eastern Star.

She also served as past president of the Buffalo Niagara chapter of the Professional Photographers Association of New York State, and was a member of Zonta International.

Services will be private.

-- Karen Robinson

There are no comments - be the first to comment