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In Memoriam – June 2020

Among those members of our community who recently passed away, we honor those who excelled in government, politics, education, agriculture, and public and community service.

Mary Ziegenhagen (1936-2020) was born in Illinois, moved to Minnesota, and received training as an accredited medical records technician. Then moved to Washington, D.C. in 1960 to work on the staff of Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy. In 1962, she joined the first Peace Corps staff in the Philippines as an assistant to the director. Mary returned to Washington to work as an assistant for another Minnesotan, Hubert Humphrey, when he served as vice president under Lyndon Johnson. In the late 1960s, Mary accompanied her husband David to Western Samoa when David was named director of that country’s Peace Corps program. Returning to Minnesota, Mary started a community newspaper in her suburban basement. That endeavor grew to a chain of five papers serving seven suburbs of Minneapolis. She also served on the editorial board of the Minneapolis Star. Retiring to Cloverdale, Minnesota, Mary headed the town’s annual fiddle festival for several years. She also served as chair of the board of the town History Center, which included guiding the center through its recent expansion.


Hugh Parmer (1939–2020) spent his public service both in the federal and state level. Born in Fort Worth, Parmer earned an undergraduate degree from Yale and a master’s from the University of Texas-Arlington. He was elected to serve in the Texas state House of Representatives in 1962. He was the youngest among his peers to serve in that body, but would leave the legislature in 1966 to work at Peace Corps headquarters at the time of President Lyndon Johnson. He would also work in the U.S. Commerce Department before returning to Texas. In 1977, at age 38, he was elected to be the youngest mayor of Fort Worth. Parmer also served in the Texas Senate. Once again, he returned to Washington to manage disaster relief efforts as part of the Humanitarian Response Bureau of the U.S. Agency for International Development. After his long career in government, Parmer served six years as president of the American Refugee Committee.


Carolyn Hoke “Jill” Johnson (1941-2020) led a life that included a long career as an educator and a variety of connections with Peace Corps. Born in Minnesota, Jill graduated from Northwestern University and moved to Napa, California to become a teacher. This led to positions with the U.S. Army Special Services working in both Korea and Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Shortly after her marriage to Lane Wolcott Johnson, the couple joined the Peace Corps, serving as volunteers in the Philippines from 1970-72. Returning to the U.S., the couple and their family eventually moved to Shelton, Washington. While there, Jill taught ESL to southeast Asian refugees and worked as a community health educator for Planned Parenthood. In 1989, the family moved to Cameroon. While Lane was hired as Peace Corps’ Medical Officer, Jill worked for the United Nations Development Fund and CARE. Peace Corps would later hire Jill to serve as a training director in Morocco, the Central African Republic and the Solomon Islands. Returning to the U.S., Jill was introduced to storytelling at the National Storytelling Festival. This led to a 20-year career as a storyteller with performances, workshops, and recordings all over the U.S. and world.


Christine Janette Dickson (1950-2020) was known for her work in agriculture. Growing up in Panama, California, Christine was active in 4-H, showing dairy cattle and sheep, winning championships at the Kern County Fair, the California State Fair and the Junior Cow Palace. Christine joined the Peace Corps, serving in Belize in the midst of her agriculture studies at Bakersfield College and Colorado State University. Following her service, she concluded her studies as the only woman in her graduating class of agriculture teachers. Her teaching would bring her back to Bakersfield, where she established a high school agriculture department at North High School. She built this program over the next 35 years. In 2017, she became the first female elected to the California Agricultural Teachers Association Hall of Fame. While she “retired”, Christine continued to teach on a part-time basis. She also served as an Agriculture Teacher Trainer in Haiti through a University of California-Davis project to develop an Agriculture Education Program for high school age students in Haiti.


Gerald “Jerry” Catania (1945-2020) was an influential artist and art educator in southwest Michigan. Born in Chicago, Jerry’s family moved to Stevensville, Michigan when he was five years old. After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan, Jerry joined the Peace Corps in 1969, serving in Barbados. Following Peace Corps, he was one of 30 students selected to go to Seattle’s Pilchuck Glass School where he was taught by Dale Chihuly. Jerry returned to Michigan where he taught art at the Eau Claire and Benton Harbor schools. He also served as adjunct faculty at Lake Michigan College. In 1985, he earned his master’s degree from Western Michigan University, where he did post-graduate work for three years. Over time, he established several art studios across southwest Michigan, teaching art to numerous students over a 30 year period.


Sharon Rindt (1943-2020) was born in a Japanese internment camp in Arizona. After her release, she earned an undergraduate degree from the University of California-Los Angeles, and a master’s in Education from Lewis and Clark College. Sharon later joined the Peace Corps, volunteering in Colombia. After returning from her service, she worked as a teacher in the Portland and Gresham school districts. Along with her work, Sharon was an active volunteer, supporting the Sandy Actor’s Theatre, Days for Girls, League for Women Voters, and the Mazamas.


Below is our In Memoriam list for members of the Peace Corps community who recently passed away:



Patrick J. Harrington, 5/22/20

Hugh Parmer (1960s), 5/27/20



Dr. William Cordtz Ph.D. (Belize/Tonga 1980s), 5/10/20

Jane Frances Hogan (Turkey 1966-67; Malaysia 1967-69)

Carolyn Hoke Jill Johnson (Philippines 1970-72; Peace Corps Staff Cameroon 1990-91, Morocco 1993, Central African Republic)



James A. Keesler (1966-69), 5/22/20



Barbara Murray (1994-95), 5/23/20



Gerald T. Jerry Catania (1969-71), 5/14/20



Christine Janette Dickson, 6/8/20

Susanne Kohrman (1999-2001), 5/21/20



Rhonda Jean Garriott (1981-83), posted 6/16/20



Loretta Allen-Adams, 5/18/20



James Licke (1968-70), 5/26/20



David Palmer Everton (1964-66), 5/27/20



Sharon Rindt, 4/1/20

Donald Worms (1977-81), 6/4/20



Timothy Roy Kepple (1992-94), 5/25/20



Bill Plypow, 5/1/20



James Edward Born (1962-64), 4/26/20



Stephen J. Glassman (1966-68), 5/19/20



Glenn A. Dockham (1994-96), 5/28/20



Jeffrey Lengyel, 5/19/20



Boyd Louis Jack Frost (1964-66), 6/6/20



James Peter Madden (1965-66), 6/5/20

Michael Dennis OBrien (1974-76), 6/13/20

Charles Zumbro (1963-65), 5/28/20



Dr. Bhavani Manheim (1996-98),  5/2/20



Michael Sealey (1974-76), 5/31/20



William J. Dion, 5/22/20



Sophie Klausner Zermuehlen (1983-85), 5/7/20



Francis Sendrowski, 6/2/20



Susanne Albert (1962-64), 5/25/20

Lowell Hart Fewster (1962-64), 5/28/20

Howard McClain Jr. (1962-64), 5/13/20



Mary Ziegenhagen (Staff, 1962-64), 5/2/20



Gay Maurine George (1978-80), 5/28/20



Lisa Susan Lindsey (1974-77), 5/21/20



Daniel Wachspress (1978-80), 5/29/20



Michael Allan “Mickey” Shelton (1968-70), 5/25/20



John Prejza Jr. (1965-67), 5/21/20



John P. McCall (1993-95), 5/22/20



Temple Bell, 6/8/20

Jed Hendee, 5/16/20

John Lothrop (1965-67), 5/20/20

William M. Quinn, 6/10/20

Barbara Mary Reising, 5/21/20

Diane Lee Schwartz, 5/27/20



If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, contact [email protected].

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