In Memoriam – October 2013
By Sam Foote on Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
We remember the following members of the Peace Corps community as representative of the creativity and good works of all within the community who passed away in October.
After studying literature at San Francisco State, Joe Walsh (1943-2013) served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Santuario, a mountain village in Western Colombia. After returning from Colombia, Walsh began a forty year career in construction and formed his own construction company. Walsh made a point of working only for people he liked, with the result that many of his clients became close friends. He continued to serve his community by serving on the boards of the CountyYouth and Adult Soccer Leagues, as well as partnering with GoodShepherdSchool to provide a place for the leagues to play. Walsh approached his work in the Peace Corps and with his construction company with patience, remarkable integrity, and enthusiasm for hard work and problem-solving.
Angelita Reynoso Crummett (1923-2013) served in the Peace Corps as a nurse in El Corazon, Ecuador from 1984-1986. Before and after joining the Peace Corps, Crummett was an accomplished stage actor, director, and dancer. Crummett devoted much of her life to serving her church, the poor, and her community. Other impressive community service efforts Crummett participated in include sixteen years as a volunteer for the Valley Orthopedic Clinic, volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children, and as a nurse for summer school camps on both sides of the border with the Sisters of Social Service.
Janine Mary Kirkpatrick’s (1943-2013) lifelong dedication to equality began with the Civil Rights Movement, took her to Ecuador as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and concluded with great service to her community in the San Luis Obispo County of California. Before joining the Peace Corps, Kirkpatrick was actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement, marching with Martin Luther King Jr. Janine served the Peace Corps in Ecuador, an experience which shaped her life significantly. During the 1980s, Kirkpatrick founded ArtPark in Atascadero. ArtPark is a summer program providing youth art instruction. Many students in the area learned the art of ceramics, painting, and drawing from Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick’s most recent project, detailed pastels of native Californian butterflies, was focused on raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity.
Throughout his life, Paul J. Somsky (1929-2013) served his country in a variety of admirable and meaningful ways. Somsky was a graduate of CreightonUniversity, earning his bachelors degree and Doctor of Medicine degree. Somsky served in the United States Army during the Korean War. He was honorably discharged as a Corporal in 1954. For many years, Somsky worked in the medical field. Somsky also taught English as a second language to immigrants to America. In the early 1960s, Somsky joined the Peace Corps. Somsky used his medical expertise as a health volunteer to assist Ethiopians in Dessie. Somsky would go on to become a staff physician and Medical Director of the ASFAWossenHospital.
Thomas Leo “Pete” Ehmann (1942-2013) made important contributions to the Peace Corps community during his lifetime. After graduating from BostonCollege and working as a minority business consultant in the greater Boston area, Tom joined the Peace Corps. From 1964 to 1966, Ehmann served rural communities in Malawi. Ehmann was also a founding member of the Boston Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Upon retirement, Ehmann and his wife Marion returned to Malawi and volunteered at the Malawi Children’s Village for six months. Ehmann’s considerable volunteer work positively impacted many lives.
Barbara Jean Ayako Kirker (1939-2013) led a rich and fulfilling life. Before becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer alongside her husband Bill, Barbara was an accomplished professional dancer. Kirker danced at the prestigious Monarch Room in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on WaikikiBeach as one of their featured dancers. Kirker became a Medical Assistant Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Niger. Stationed in the remote village of Maine-Soroa on the edge of the Sahara desert, Kirker helped start a hospital that grew to 110 beds and maintained the hospital’s kitchen. Upon returning to the U.S., Barbara co-founded the charity Africare. Africare is the largest African American Charity functioning in the USA today. Barbara’s crowning achievement was the foundation of the Barbara Kirker Second Chance School of Maine-Soroa, which is now officially recognized and given support from the United Nations.
Phyliss C. Badame (1927-2013) spent her life teaching and mentoring others. After earning her masters degree from RutgersUniversity, Badame offered her expertise as a guidance counselor, evening school teacher, and evening school principal of adult education. Badame then spent two years in Tunisia as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Badame became an educational and social force in her community, assisting and advising students of Saint Stephen’s Elementary School in Pennsauken and St. Joseph’s School in Medford. In 2006, Badame established the Phyliss Badame Endowment for the Arts and the St. Mary of the LakesSchool.