In Memoriam – October 2012
By Jonathan Pearson on Thursday, November 8th, 2012
The passing of Peace Corps’ second director, Jack Vaughn, highlighted the commitment to service to our nation from those we lost during October.
RPCV Joseph Nason’s first service to our country was as a U.S. Navy fighter pilot during World War Two. Nason was shot down over the Pacific, captured, and served as a Prisoner of War for two years. Nason returned to the Pacific thirty years later, when he and his wife Mary joined the Peace Corps in 1977 as volunteers in Saipan. An attorney, Joseph Nason worked in the Saipan government legal offices. He passed away in Westborough Massachusetts in October at the age of 93.
Nason is among several members of the Peace Corps community who also served in our nation’s military. John P. Connelly of Washington D.C., was a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Brazil from 1964-1965. Minnesota native Richard Straw served in the U.S. Army in the 1940′s and early 50′s, including two years in Korea. Richard also served our nation as a science and math education support staff for Peace Corps Malaysia from 1966-1968. James Edward Farley Jr. worked as a member of Peace Corps staff in the early 1960′s. That followed service in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves from 1956-1962.
For 78 years, Sister M. Sylvia (Mary Florence) McClain served her faith with the Pittsburgh Sisters of Mercy. During the course of this service, Sister Sylvia joined the Peace Corps, serving as a volunteer in the Philippines.
For many years, Roger Ware Banks served his community of Minneapolis. This included his work as an educator, teaching courses at the University of Minnesota, Macalester College and the University of St. Thomas. An active member of many civic and service organizations serving Minneapolis and Minnesota, Roger was honored by the Peace Corps in 2006, receiving the Franklin Williams Award, given to RPCVs of color who devote their careers to giving back to their communities. An early volunteer in India (1963-1965), Roger also held positions with the New Mexico Peace Corps and VISTA Training Center between 1965-1968.
Also in October, the Peace Corps community lost Christine Marie Arnold, who served as Associate Director of Management for the Peace Corps in the early 2000′s. Former Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez said of her, “Chris was a great public servant who dedicated most of her adult life to service at the county, state and federal levels of government. She was a great contributor to the work of the Peace Corps and will be missed by all of us who knew her and were fortunate to work with her.”
A member of the Overseas Press Club of America, Virginia Peeples White of New York City served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Hungary from 1992-1994. A part-time professional actress, White held high administrative positions with a number of organizations including the Woodrow Wilson International Center, and continued to volunteer at the International Center of New York well into her eighties.
As is probably the case for so many, the obituary of Niger RPCV David Woodruff noted that Peace Corps was an experience that changed his life forever. As part of that change, David worked as the Director of the Diagnostic and Evaluation Unit of the Texas Commission for the Blind, as Director of Mental Health Services in Oracle Arizona, and as a bilingual school psychologist for several communities in central California.
Follow this link for other recent passings on the National Peace Corps Association’s In Memoriam page.