Leonard A. Robinson, 76, a leading figure in programs to assist the visually handicapped including legislation, died of cancer Saturday at George Washington University Hospital.
Blind since the age of 15, he had fought for five years for the passage of the Randolph-Sheppard Act, which established the blind vending stand program that operates in federal government buildings throughout the country. President Roosevelt signed it into law in 1936.
A lawyer in practice in Cleveland during those years, Mr. Robinson was asked in 1938 to administer the law through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, then part of the Federal Security Administration.
He remained with the office when it was transferred to the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation in the D.C. government. It is now the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Administration in the Department of Human Resources.
Mr. Robinson, who retired in 1971, had been supervisor of all services for the visually handicapped. After his retirement, he published a book, "Light at the Tunnel End," a history of the legislation and administration of the blind vending stand program.
Under the program, thousands of visually handicapped have been given the opportunity to earn a living at refreshment stands grossing millions of dollars in business.
After retirement, Mr. Robinson also established the Foundation for the Handicapped and Elderly, a nonprofit organization of which he was president. It no longer exists.
In 1972, Mr. Robinson was recognized in the publication, "Social and Rehabilitation Services for the Blind," for his contributions toward developing work for the blind.
He held a citation from the President's Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped, the Ambassador Award of the American Council of the Blind, the annual award of the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America and the Leo Axirod Memorial Award of B'nai B'rith District Five. Last year he was given a key to the city by Mayor Marion Barry.
He was active until recently in the American Council of the Blind, the D.C. Association of Workers for the Blind, and the Volunteers for the Visually Handicapped.
Mr. Robinson was born in Knoxville, Tenn. At the age of 7, he lost the sight of his left eye to a BB rifle. His right eye was injured with a rock when he was 11. He lost his sight four years later.
He later enrolled in the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind in Philadelphia. In 1927, he received a bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee and then graduated two years later from Western Reserve Law School in Cleveland where he practiced until coming here.
Mr. Robinson, who lived in Silver Spring, was a member of B'nai Israel Synagogue.
He is survived by his wife, Sonia, of Silver Spring; a son, Louis, of Boston, and one grandchild.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to Volunteers for the Visually Handicapped.