Ypsilanti woman killed in car accident remembered by co-workers
As a hearing and vision technician with the Washtenaw County Health Department, Desiree Richard-Mobley helped hundreds of thousands of children throughout the community.
During her 13 years on the job, she was able to give free hearing and vision screenings to kids who might not have otherwise known they weren't seeing or hearing properly.
Courtesy of MLive
She loved working with the kids and the feeling was mutual for the kids and the school systems she regularly worked with.
Richard-Mobley, a 41-year-old Ypsilanti resident, died Sunday after she crashed into a guardrail while driving on Interstate 275 near Michigan Avenue in Canton Township.
The Detroit News reported that Richard-Mobley was pronounced dead at a local hospital and Michigan State Police continue to investigate a cause of the accident.
Deborah Cain, director of nursing at the WCHD and Richard-Mobley's immediate supervisor, said her presence will be greatly missed by her co-workers as well as the schools where she regularly worked.
"She was very loved and very respected by all the school systems and the children," Cain said. "When they found out they were very saddened — she will be missed by everyone here."
Cain said Richard-Mobley was a joy to have at the WCHD, and that she loved working to help children. Last year, her team was able to give vision checks to 20,000 kids and hearing tests to 60,000 kids in Washtenaw County. She worked with children preschool-aged to high school kids up to the point of driver's training.
The work she was able to do was very important, Cain said. Because many kids with early vision and hearing problems don't know they have them, technicians are able to help correct issues that might be holding kids back from reaching their full potential.
"They help to prevent developmental delays associated with speech skills, language skills, social skills and emotional development," Cain said. "Her work assures that kids are ready for school and prevents future hearing loss."
Peggy Boxx, with the Whitmore Lake School District Head Start Program, said she remembers Richard-Mobley as someone who always went beyond what was asked of her.
"She only needed to check the Head Start children, but she also did the preschoolers if she had time," Boxx said. "She was a very nice person. She was great with kids — giving 3 and 4-year-olds hearing and vision tests is not an easy thing."
Members of Richard-Mobley's family could not be reached for comment.
Cain said WCHD is offering grievance counseling to Richard-Mobley's co-workers to allow them to share stories, remember her and talk about how they can move forward. When asked what she would most remember about Richard-Mobley, Cain had an answer almost immediately:
"Her beautiful, beautiful smile," she said. "She was just a wonderful and caring individual. ... She touched every child in our schools."
Cain added that beyond her excellent work performance, Richard-Mobley would be missed by everyone who knew her.
"It's been a great loss for the family, the community and the health department."
There will be a viewing at C & H Community Home for Funerals from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, March 25, at 411 S. Adams St., in Ypsilanti. There also will be a family hour at 10 a.m. March 26 and a Home Going service held at 11 a.m. at the West Willow Church of God in Christ at 1837 Tyler Road, in Ypsilanti Township.