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In Memoriam – October 2020

We honor and remember the members of the Peace Corps community who recently passed away. They worked in law enforcement and health care. They volunteered in efforts to confront homelessness, racial injustice, domestic violence, and animal welfare. And, in one case, they developed a university study abroad program that included one particularly well known and influential alumnus.


Joseph Blatchford (1934-2020) served as the third director of the Peace Corps. Blatchford was appointed by President Richard Nixon in May 1969 — and he headed the agency during the turbulent times of Nixon’s first administration. Tapped for the post at 34 years old, he came with nearly a decade’s experience of organizing international volunteers: In 1961, he had launched the organization Accion to send U.S. volunteers to work in Latin America. Read our story about him here.


Marcia L. Mayer (1942-2020) served as a police officer and deputy sheriff in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Live Oak, Florida. After receiving an American Field Service scholarship in 1959, Marcia spent the summer in Luxembourg as a foreign exchange student. She then became a registered nurse in May of 1994, and served two years as a rural nurse with the Peace Corps in Paraguay. Her time in the Peace Corps inspired her to participate in many missions as a volunteer nurse with the American Red Cross. Marcia worked abroad with Doctors Without Borders and with Medical Teams International in Angola, Mozambique, Liberia, Indonesia, Zambia, Armenia, South Sudan, Cambodia, Nigeria, and Haiti. During her nursing career, she also worked in the Emergency Unit of Jacksonville Hospital while taking on the role of a counselor for seriously disturbed youth. Additionally, she worked with Red Cross as a volunteer in response to several crises and as a nurse at a maximum-security prison in north Florida.


Donald Bernard Peterson (1942-2020) spent the majority of his career as a foreign service professional. He began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia in the 1960s and then later in Costa Rica in the 1980s where he met his wife. He went on to work for USAID as Chief of Operations for renewable energy projects in Jamaica 1983, and Sudan, 1984–86. He returned to the Peace Corps, serving as Country Director in Paraguay in 1988, Bolivia in 1990, and El Salvador in 1993. In Bolivia and El Salvador, he was tasked with starting Peace Corps programs. His assignment in El Salvador was an exciting and challenging moment in his career. At the time of his arrival, El Salvador had just ended a long and brutal 12-year civil war. Don had to create the Peace Corps program while Salvadorians were trying to reconstruct the pieces of their war-torn society. He worked hard overseeing several volunteer programs that provided aid in agriculture, business, and education while at the same time ensuring the security and safety of his volunteers. In 2002, Don returned to USAID to work in a previous similar role in Guatemala. Don spent the later years of his career mostly based in the Washington, D.C. area and after returning to work for the Peace Corps, he retired in 2006 as Chief of Operations for Europe, Mediterranean, and Asia Region. After retirement from the Peace Corps, Don worked in private consulting for several years until his final retirement in 2013.


Karen A. Goodman graduated from Williamette University in Oregon, where she came to find an appreciation and love for education. She then became a teacher as well as a real estate broker. Additionally, Karen actively participated in the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Acting as a role model for all aspiring community activists, she was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Fresno, a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, and a long-time member of the League of Women Voters. After her teaching career, Karen became a founding member of Wings, an advocacy group in Fresno that serves homeless families, veterans, individuals, women, and children escaping domestic violence. Following retirement, Karen and her husband joined the Peace Corps, serving two years in Bulgaria.


Sue Rosenfeld spent most of her adult life in Africa, beginning when she served as a Peace Volunteer in Senegal 1977–81. Following her service, Sue traveled to Rwanda where she taught English on a Fulbright Scholarship. In 1984, she moved to Niamey, Niger where she directed the U.S. Embassy’s English language program. She was approached by Boston University (BU) to develop a study abroad program in Niger. This popular program ran from 1987 until its closure in 2011. Among the hundreds of BU-Niger program participants was now Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In 2015, President Mahamadou Issoufou visited BU to inaugurate the Archive of the Republic of Niger at the African Studies Library, a further testament to the lasting connections between BU and Niger in which Sue played a central role in developing and maintaining.


Albert F. “Bud” Seng (1944-2020) was a country boy at heart, from the state of Kentucky. He made his goals a reality when he set out to volunteer with the Peace Corps in India. Following his time in the Peace Corps, Bud directed his love for serving others by acting as a Tucson Police Detective and Hostage Negotiator, an elder at his church in Sonoita, a volunteer chaplain at a NW Hospital in Tucson, and a volunteer for the Green Valley Animal League. A few years ago, he earned his Ph.D. in Biblical Studies, and he was planning on turning his dissertation “God’s Love” into a book. Bud was known for his humble presence and positive outlook and reflection on life.


Valerie Ann Koehler (1969-2020) was known for her dedication to public service, as she worked as an aid in physical therapy at Central Washington Hospital on holidays and vacations when she was only in high school. After earning her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington University, Koehler decided to join the Peace Corps, where she would translate her eagerness to bettering herself into helping others. She became fluent in Swahili and served two years teaching biology in Tanzania. After her time in the Peace Corps, she received a master’s degree in teaching from Seattle University while she worked as a Stream Team Specialist for King County and Kitsap County, and eventually became an environmental specialist for the Department of Defense.




Marna Bellanca (early 1960s) 10/4/20

Joseph Blatchford (1969-71) 10/7/20

Warren J. Dunn, 10/4/20



Thomas Dawson (Iran 1995; Micronesia 1966-68), 9/6/20

Mark Dripchak (Honduras 1983-85; Paraguay 1983-86)

Donald Bernard Peterson (Colombia 1960s; Costa Rica 1980s; Country Director in Paraguay 1988, Bolivia 1990, El Salvador 1993) 9/15/20

Karen Ramsey (Cameroon 1991-94; Togo staff 2004-07) 10/5/20.



Shirley O’Key (1992-93), 7/28/20



Timothy Fitall, 10/4/20



Gary Whisler (1966-69), 9/6/20



Carolyn Connor (1963-65), 9/25/20

Daniel Robert “Bob” Long (1966-68), 9/29/20

David Anthony Morocco (1964-66), 9/11/20



Karen A. Goodman, posted 9/20/20



Francis V. “Frank” Bennett (1965-66), 9/18/20



Dr. David Vance Youmans (1960s), 9/23/20



Thomas Powell (1990-92), 7/20

Michael Stanley Sullivan (1960s), 8/29/20



Bryce Perry (1969-72), 6/2/20



Tom Roth, 8/15/20

Gary Theige (1969-71) 9/25/20



Albert F. “Bud” Seng, 8/16/20



Joseph ”Ed” Axline (1963-65), 10/4/20



Peter Lawrence Bower, 10/1/20



Marilee Ann ”Cookie” Alder (1960s), 10/9/20



Robert J. Cricenti (late 1960s), 9/27/20



Jan Larson Butcheri, 9/20/20



Doris May Evans Boyd, 4/17/20



Edward Lee Thomas (1965-67), 10/6/20



Lawrence “Larry” Lauber (mid 1960s), 10/8/20

Charles Elmer Shriver, 10/9/20



Marcia L. Mayer (1995-97), 9/21/20



Herb Wiggin, 9/26/20



Eddie H. Cyphers (2016-18), 8/6/20

Sue Rosenfeld (1977-81), 10/10/20



Charlie Atkins (1971-73), 10/5/20



Valerie Ann Koehler (1990s), 9/16/20

Bruce McKim, 10/5/20



Robert Joseph McCarthy (early 1960s) 2/13/20

James Edwin “Eddie” Sharber Jr., 9/28/20



Edwin “Ned” Cook (1965-67), 9/16/20



Regene C. Ross (1963-65), 10/1/20



Dan Allen Klingenberg (1962-64), 9/14/20

George Richard Saunders, 9/17/20



Charles Richard Beesley, 10/7/20

William J. Cooley, posted 9/27/20

Angelo Corva, 9/26/20

Creola Knight, 10/8/20

Jane McCabe (1960s), 8/29/20

Edward John McMenemy, 9/17/20

Mary Sinclair Powers (1986), 10/10/20

Lonnie Wildt (1970s), 9/20/20


If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, contact [email protected]Thanks to NPCA intern Kaylee Jensen for assistance in preparing this post.