In Memoriam – February 2013
By Jonathan Pearson on Friday, March 15th, 2013
Among those lost to the Peace Corps community last month was a currently serving volunteer.
Nicholas Castle (1990 – 2013) was teaching university level English in Guizhou Province in the People’s Republic of China at the time of his death. The Brentwood, California resident and graduate of University of California – Berkeley had been in China for more than seven months when he passed away after a short illness. Education was clearly a passion for Nicholas. Prior to his Peace Corps service, he spent six years working as a volunteer tutor of middle school students in math, science and reading, and tutored high school and college students in advanced math.
Managing public health threats was central to the life of Richard Heffernan (1964-2013), who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali. Richard worked for many years with the New York City Department of Health, eventually becoming Assistant Director of the Bureau of Communicable Diseases. He is credited for setting up the first health alert system to enable the city health department to provide timely information to city healthcare providers on breaking health emergencies. He returned to the department after 9/11, working to further improve public health responses to public health emergencies. His career concluded in Madison, Wisconsin, where he served as Chief Research Scientist Supervisor for the Wisconsin Division of Public Health – Communicable Disease Epidemiology Section.
The environment and the elderly were focal points for Mariana Dowden Bornholdt (1924-2013), a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served her nation in Ghana. Mariana was a long time faculty member of the California State College System, having attained master’s degrees in Counseling Psychology and Adult Education. After Peace Corps, she returned to life in Oregon where she became an advocate at the local and state level for a number of organizations and commissions dealing with the needs of older citizens. Her environmental activism centered around a love of plants and protection of natural resources.
For George Harrington (1943-2013), the focus of his life became the developmentally disabled. A Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia, George served nearly a quarter-century as the Executive Director of the ARC of Harrison County (West Virginia). Because of his many accomplishments – including growing the organization to more than 100 employees providing assistance and support to the developmentally disabled in four West Virginia counties – the organization named a new program in honor of George upon his retirement in 2005.
The Los Angeles Times recognized Michael Parrish (1945-2013) for his many contributions to the newspaper and the greater Los Angeles community. Michael was the founder of the LA Times Magazine, and later worked as a staff writer for the Business Section. His work included coverage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the Kuwait oil fires after the Gulf War. He was the author of the book “For the People: Inside the LA County District Attorney’s Office.” Michael, who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger, closed out his career as an adjunct lecturer teaching non-fiction writing at the University of Southern California School of Journalism.
Follow this link for news of other recent passings included on the National Peace Corps Association’s In Memoriam page.