Louise Hullinger Rest in Peace

Louise Liffengren Hullinger passed away March 26, 2014. She was 90 years old.

Louise was a talented person. She grew up in western South Dakota during the depression and dustbowl.  She taught in one room school houses when she was 18 years old. She would teach one semester to earn enough money to attend college for a semester. 

She married Clifford Hullinger after WWII while they were college classmates. She graduated from South Dakota State in 1947.

Her second son Neil was learning disabled. Louise helped start the Chicago and Illinois Association for Children with Learning Disabilities and was President of both organizations. They lobbied hard to get the State of Illinois to pass the laws requiring an appropriate education for every child.

She raised four children. She also earned a Masters Degree in Special Education from Northeastern Illinois University. 

She was an accomplished author.  She published three books and authored numerous poems, stories, and newsletters. We have put some of her writings on this blog and the blog below.


Louise is survived by her husband of 67 years Clif Hullinger, children Craig and wife Beth Hullinger, Anne Hullinger, Scott and his wife Barb Hullinger, and grand children Leigh Ann, Bret, Erik, Krystina, Alex, and Shane. Preceeding her in death were her son Neil and grandson Clint, her twin brother Luverne and her sister Ida, her brother in law Art Jansen and sister in law Judy Liffengren.

Our Family in 2010 

Just Married



Happy 90th Birthday

Christmas 2013


Rapid City, South Dakota 2012

Louise's Sister Ida and her husband Art.  Art passed away one day before Louise


Margaret Hullinger played cupid, introducing Louise and Clif.
She reenacted her efforts at their 60th anniversary.

Louise Liffengren Hullinger was a teacher, author, poet, and one of the founders of the Learning Disabilities Association of America. A strength is that she learned to pare what she wrote. ("In every book there is a thin book trying to get out.") Her early writing dealt with learning disabilities (because of her son Neil); she has two published books on LD. She later concentrated on writing for children. 

Recent Credits

Her most recent book, Next Year Country, presents twelve stories, most of which have been awarded prizes by the Chicago Branch of the National League of American Penwomen. The stories are about growing up in South Dakota in the 1930s.

Praise for Next Year Country:

"Hullinger, a South Dakota daughter, weaves memories and family stories of the sweeping plains where there was "nothing to see but land," with her own creative flair into a compelling rural pageant made in the 1930s and early 40s. Life was a struggle with prairie fires, grasshoppers and unpredictable weather; brightened by farm sales, baseball rivalry, pie socials and dances. Next Year Country takes you there meeting hardy, one-of-a-kind characters who even after crop failure three years in a row coud say, "Next year will be better." 

-- Harriet Carlson, Articles Editor, NLAPW.

Click below to see one chapter of "Next Year Country" published by South Dakota Magazine.

Sample of Her Verse

"Mosquitoes bite my nyloned heel 
Proof that I have socks appeal." 

Favorite Quotes 

"He who takes the child by the hand, takes the mother by the heart." 

"That which is loved is always beautiful." 

"The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected." -- old Scandinavian proverbs 


Next Year Country, Lake Shore Publishing  2000 (about South Dakota) 

A Time to Cry (for a dyslexic person)  

Special Children: Special Families 

(Learning Disabilities)

Video - Louise and Clifford Hullinger talk with their son Craig about growing up in South Dakota during the Depression and Drought and World War II.

History of LDA of Illinois, Inc

By Louise Hullinger

In 1963, people from several states met in downtown Chicago to propose an organization that would have enough parent power to bring about legislative change so that all children could be appropriately educated. Out of this grew what is today the national organization called the Learning Disabilities Association of America. 

After sifting through and struggling with terms such as "perceptually handicapped,""aphasoid," "brain damaged," "minimal brain dysfunction, "psychoneurological learning disabilities," "neurologically handicapped" and others, a new term was adopted. Sam Kirk of the University of Illinois is credited with coining it: Children with learning disabilities.

Sympathies from other parents was often lacking. When appearing at a school problems commission meeting, Frances Gleiter, current president of the Chicago Association for Children with Learning Disabilities(ACLD), gave an earnest description of her learning disabled child and was told by a member in the audience, "Those children were given to you by God for YOU to care for. Don't expect us to do it." The schools literally did not know what to do with "those kids." Out of concerns such as these, the Chicago ACLD was created. It was incorporated on March 17, 1965, with Norman Kuperman as president and Evelyn Friedman as Treasurer. In those early days there were more pugilists than not. My mother attended a meeting and said, "I think they're all perpetually handicapped."

The organization took off slowly at first. After it began to meet at achurch on 87th and Cregier, Dr. Burt Schloss was named president with Frances Gleiter as vice president. Dr. Schloss began a newsletter,while the Gleiters began to publicize it. Ann Finn became publicitychairperson. It was fairly easy to get publicity. Governor Shapiroproclaimed the first Learning Disabled Week as October 20–26,1968. Those who helped were Joan Beck, Channel 11, Freda Kehm (WBBM),Virginia Gale (WGN), Jack Eigen and the Chicago Tribune. Membership grew by leaps and bounds, primarily by word of mouth.

We began to work to get legislation passed that would benefit kids withlearning disabilities. We weren't wise in the ways of lobbying, but Bob Abbot hectographed (purple ink) an information sheet titled 
Ways to GetLaws Passed. Illinois held a luncheon for legislators in Springfieldwith the help of Margaret Wood, a board member who lived in there. We invited legislators, focusing on the educational committee. Illinois, aprecedent setting state, passed a law in l965 to take effect in l970.Before that, there was no category in the Illinois School Code for our children. Special Education meant serving the blind, the deaf, physically handicapped and mentally retarded. In the Illinois SchoolCode our kids had to be fit in under "And other." In Chicago, those who received help went to "brain damaged classrooms." Their teachers were"brain damaged" teachers! There were no teachers to teach the children. There were no teachers to teach the teachers! We set about petitioning colleges to offer courses. Dr. Helmer Myklebust and Doris Johnson of Northwestern University offered courses! I petitioned WTTW, Channel 11, to offer television courses, but was told it could not be done.

Vernon Frazee, a state legislator, championed HB 1402 through Springfield. This law created a category through which our studentscould receive services. Therefore, Illinois had a category for our kids before federal legislation PL94-142 was passed in 1969 with many yearsleeway to prepare. Frazee became a featured speaker at early meetings.

By 1965, three groups had formed in Illinois: The Fund for PerceptuallyHandicapped Children, The West Suburban Association for the Other Childand the Chicago Association for Children with Learning Disabilities. Afew men from the first two groups were meeting on the second Monday of each month at Stauffers on Randolph at Wabash. They were anxious forthe Chicago ACLD to join them so they could form a "Council" that wouldbring more clout and power to the cause. We eventually agreed and formed what we then called Illinois Council. There were more men thanwomen at those first council meetings. The men worked in The Loop andmeet after work while the women generally stayed home with their children. Smoking was still in and the first president smoked a pipe.

Our first grand scale panic occurred when a funding source fell throughhalf way through a planned one-day seminar. Presto we discovered the rummage sale! We had other fund raising efforts, notably giant coloring books, which some one absconded with. We also discovered an immense thirst for knowledge about these "special kids" as people came from many suburbs to attend the seminar we held at Lane Tech with Dr. SamClements and others speakers.

We outgrew our meeting and parking facilities several times in thoseearly years. We journeyed with our little band from Cregier to FosterPark Fieldhouse to Quigley South and to Ford City, when it was just debuting. Sol Gordon was invited to speak to Chicago-South on 
Sexuality and the Learning Disabled. Because of the topic Ford City refused to use our posters!

In 1971, we successfully wooed the national association to hold a conference in Chicago. There were great worries about who would pay forthe conference if there would be a blizzard that might keep the crowd away. We were all so new, so naive, so young and so earnest. The conference turned out to be a success except we hadn't been savvy enough to negotiate for any of the income. We learned that in order totalk to anyone at the Board of Education we needed their private numbers; in those days other calls were mysteriously sidetracked, transferred or disconnected.

The invention of Xerox hailed in a new era: hundreds of companies unknowingly contributed to the learning disabled cause. Lengthy newsletters became possible, most of which were tapped out on upright typewriters. Dues were eventually raised. From $.25 to$1.00— the first increase in dues! The Council's budget was $375 per year and we were successful with that little largely because no one turned in their bills. When Ellen Scloss was president she prevailed upon Arlen Gould to fund the first conference on learning disabilities in Peoria. Later, many conventions were held outside of the Chicago area, including Springfield and Rockford. The only Illinois conference held out of state was held at the Blackhawk Hotel in Iowa, hosted by Tri-County of Moline and Rock Island.

Puzzle Children, with Bill Bixby, was shown on WTTW, channel 11. Several of us were on the panel; all member units sent people to answer questions on the phone. In 1976 the membership of the Illinois Council totaled 1,967 members — nine more would have made the numbe reasier to remember! The Fund had only had 450 members in 1975.

When I became president of the organization, I lobbied for an office for the Learning Disabilities Association of Illinois. I wrote, "It isa fact that if we are to progress, we must have an office and/or secretarial help. We need a telephone number listed under our name." In May, 1988 that became a reality.

Illinois has held conferences annually most years, continues to have an informative newsletter and has an active legislative chain. We have continually advocated for the learning disabled through legislation aswell as with other organizations such as the Department of Rehabilitation Service (DORS).

Louise Hullinger was the 5th president of Learning Disabilities Association of Illinois. She continues to support efforts of the organization at the state and local level.

Our Family in 2010 

Contact Louise at