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In Memoriam

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    Bill Josephson reflects on two key members of the Peace Corps see more

    Kindred spirits who they helped shape the early years of the Peace Corps

     

    By Bill Josephson

     

    Pictured: Dr. Mahmud Hussain, vice chancellor of Dacca University — one of the host institutions for Peace Corps Volunteers serving in East Pakistan since October 1961 — chats with Peace Corps Representative to Pakistan F. Kingston Berlew of Washington, DC. Photo courtesy Peace Corps

     

    F. Kingston Berlew, a distinguished lawyer, walked into my Peace Corps General Counsel’s office unannounced in 1961 and said that he wanted to join the Peace Corps. He had a wife and children; service as a Volunteer was out.

    King sailed through the talent search with flying colors and went to Pakistan — East and West at that time — as the first Peace Corps director there. We were kindred spirits, and at his request, I conducted the close of service conferences for Pakistan I in both Dhaka and Lahore.

    King then became associate Peace Corps director in charge of selection, training, and overseas support. He later led a career in international business and law and founded the World Law Group, today a network of 21,000 lawyers representing firms in 89 nations. He died in February 2021 at age 90. His brother, David Berlew, was the third Peace Corps director in Ethiopia.

     

    Murray Frank was also a kindred spirit. In the early days of the Peace Corps, the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted full-field investigations of all staff, domestic and foreign. Sarge decided that the Peace Corps should not have an identifiable security office. The task of reviewing investigations that raised issues fell to the general counsel’s office, as did liaison with other intelligence and law enforcement agencies. In Murray’s field, the identified “red flags” were numerous, generally unintended and inconsequential.

    Murray began serving as a field associate Peace Corps director beginning with Nigeria I and was there for three years. He often said it was the most exciting time of his life. He distinguished himself by his concern for and rapport with the Volunteers.

    He was born in 1927 and served in the Pacific during World War II; he went to New York University on the GI Bill. In 1965 he joined the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights. His long and distinguished career included serving as dean of the College of Public and Community Service and as a fellow of the McCormack Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. We remained close throughout his life, talking on the telephone just a few weeks before he died in January at age 93.

     

    This story appears in the 60th-anniversary edition of WorldView magazine. 
    Story updated January 17, 2022.


    Bill Josephson is the Founding Counsel for the Peace Corps and is co-author of the memorandum “The Towering Task,” which laid out the architecture of the Peace Corps. Read his conversation with Bill Moyers, Joe Kennedy III, and Marieme Foote about the establishment of the Peace Corps in the 60th-anniversary edition of WorldView magazine as well.

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    He served as a U.S. consul in Iran, and in Isfahan witnessed a revolution unfold. see more

    With the Peace Corps, he and his wife helped set up the first high school for girls in the town of Farah. As a diplomat in Iran, he helped evacuate hundreds of U.S. citizens.

     

    Photo courtesy the family of David McGaffey

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

    Born on a farm in Michigan, David McGaffey was 15 years old when he enrolled at the University of Detroit. He studied theater, folklore, psychology, and math, and met his future wife, Elizabeth. They wed and applied to serve as Peace Corps Volunteers in Chile.

    “The Peace Corps looked at my application and said here is somebody who likes mountains,” he recounted, “and called me up and said, ‘How would you like to go to Afghanistan?’”

    The couple served 1964–66 in Baluchistan, setting up a science lab and the first high school for girls in the town of Farah.

    He joined the foreign service and went to Manila. He returned to Afghanistan as an economic officer and saw firsthand the battle for influence between the U.S. and USSR. He served as a U.S. consul in Iran, and in Isfahan witnessed a revolution unfold. He organized evacuations of thousands of Americans.

    He was nearly killed himself while trying to defuse the aftermath of a knife-turned-shooting argument over a shady business deal between a U.S. employee of Bell Helicopter and an Iranian taxi driver. The hotel where they were ensconced was surrounded by a mob of thousands ready to burn the place down, and police refused to intervene. McGaffey enlisted help from mullahs and got them and the American into a car to escape. “But I didn’t get in and was seized by the mob, shot, stabbed, hanged, and had both of my kneecaps broken.”

    McGaffey received an award for heroism.

     

    Operation Assured Response, 1996: David McGaffey, left, was working with the U.S. Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Here he talks with U.S. Air Force Major Bryan Holt and a reporter while awaiting the arrival of evacuees from Monrovia, Liberia. Photo courtesy Department of State

     

    McGaffey served some months in Tehran with the embassy before departing in fall 1979; 40 days later the embassy was stormed. He served as deputy chief of mission in Guyana and as U.S. representative to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

    He wrote four volumes on diplomacy and a children’s book. He finished a master’s at Harvard’s Kennedy School and a doctorate in international relations at Johns Hopkins. He taught at universities in the U.S., Portugal, and Sierra Leone. He died in April at age 79.

     

    This story appears in the 60th-anniversary edition of WorldView magazine. 

     

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    He left college at age 19 to join the first group of Volunteers to serve in Colombia see more

    Dennis Grubb left college at age 19 to serve in the Peace Corps in Colombia. And for many in the 1960s, he literally became the face of the Peace Corps.

     

    Students in Colombia with Dennis Grubb, who joined the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers serving communities there. Photo courtesy family of Dennis Grubb

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

    One of the youngest and first Peace Corps Volunteers, Dennis Grubb began serving in Colombia at age 19 in 1961. He was a sophomore at Penn State when President John F. Kennedy mentioned the idea of a Peace Corps; Grubb left school and became part of the first group of Volunteers. It changed his life.

    He trained several hundred future Volunteers, and he literally became the Peace Corps poster boy, his face appearing on a flyer displayed in post offices across the U.S. He served as an aide to Sargent Shriver, who esteemed him “one of the first and one of the best” Volunteers. He was a great advocate for Peace Corps on Capitol Hill.

    Equipped with degrees from the Southern Illinois University School of Law and American University, he went to Tunisia on a Fulbright. His international experience translated to work with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and USAID, introducing reforms in major markets across the world, particularly India.

    He worked in 23 countries and visited 60, promoting peace and understanding. At the center were Peace Corps ideals; he served the community as treasurer of the board of National Peace Corps Association. 

     

     

    If I had a hammer: An early Peace Corps poster featuring Dennis Grubb at work in Colombia. Image courtesy Peace Corps

     

    Dennis Grubb died on October 25. A memorial service was held on November 16 at National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Read more about Dennis Grubb here.

    Contributions in his memory may be made to National Peace Corps Association.

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    After his life was cut short, his wife has carried forward that commitment see more

    After his life was ended far too soon, his wife has carried forward that commitment.

     

    Photo courtesy the family of Jeremy Black

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

    Promoting understanding between peoples was Jerry Black’s life’s work. He served as a Volunteer in the Comoros Islands 1992–94 before completing a degree at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, where he met his wife, Cathy Feingold. They worked together at the Ford Foundation before moving to Washington, D.C., where Jerry worked at the Aspen Institute as the director of MicroTest, a program that gave grants to microenterprise development organizations across the U.S.

    Black and his family lived in the Dominican Republic for several years before returning to D.C. He went to work in the Peace Corps Office of the Inspector General, seeking to ensure that the Peace Corps stays true to its mission. He played guitar and trumpet, was a triathlete and a skier; he took up karate with his two sons.

    On June 29, Jerry and Cathy had dinner together with another couple in the Logan Circle area of Washington, D.C. After their meal, they went for a walk. Minutes later, they heard popping sounds: gunfire, bullets spraying on a crowded street. One shot hit Jerry, killing him. He was 53 years old and committed to nonviolence. To carry forward that commitment, Cathy Feingold created the Jeremy Black Memorial Fund at the TraRon Center, to support local programs for children affected by gun violence in the D.C. area.

     

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    She was a Volunteer, trained Volunteers, and was actively involved with the NorCal grants program see more

    She served as a Volunteer in the Philippines, trained Volunteers who served throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific. She was a leader of both the Northern California Peace Corps Association and National Peace Corps Association.

     

    Illustration by Edward Rooks

     

    By Steven Boyd Saum


    Soon after graduating Marquette University in Milwaukee, Susan Neyer left for Peace Corps service in the Philippines, working as a teacher trainer 1962–65. She earned a master’s in urban education from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and went back to Peace Corps, training future teachers in Hawaii and then visiting them in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. She returned to Wisconsin and taught preschool to migrant workers’ children before moving to California to teach Spanish bilingual classes: in Orange County, then Berkeley and Oakland.

    Peace Corps found her again: She served as a board member of Northern California Peace Corps Association and spent a decade as a board director of National Peace Corps Association, including vice-chair and chair. She edited NPCA’s Global Education newsletter and Group Leaders Digest for over 20 years.

    She met her husband Pete Johnson (India 1967–69) through NorCal in the mid1980s, and they enjoyed traveling together to many Peace Corps countries, where they would connect with staff and Volunteers. They married in 1993 in Yosemite and returned nearly every year. They also referred to their home as NPCA West, perhaps only half in jest.

    Susan passed away in September after a three-year battle with cancer. For many years she and Pete were actively involved with the Northern California Peace Corps Association Grants Program, supporting projects around the world. Contributions to the program in her memory are welcome.

     

    Read more about Susan Neyer here.

  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    His research yielded the book Black Parties and Political Power: A Case Study. see more

    He was a scholar, teacher, film producer, and worked with emerging Black political parties in South Africa.

     

    A lesson: Hardy Frye, in his days with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, telling how Black Americans in the South overcame fear to organize community action. Photo courtesy Civil Rights Movement Archive

     

    By NPCA Staff

     

    Tuskegee, Alabama, was where Hardy Frye grew up and learned about Black history from his teachers. After service in the Army, he moved to Los Angeles and became involved in civil rights activism. He picketed the 1960 Democratic National Convention and registered Black voters during Mississippi Freedom Summer. He was a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee field secretary in Mississippi and Alabama 1964–67.

    He earned a Ph.D. in sociology at U.C. Berkeley and went to teach at Yale, then returned to teach at U.C. Santa Cruz for many years. His research yielded the book Black Parties and Political Power: A Case Study and led him to work with emerging Black political parties in South Africa after the end of apartheid.

    He served as Peace Corps country director in Guyana and co-produced the 1994 documentary Freedom on My Mind, nominated for an Academy Award. He retired but did not stop lecturing on social justice and community service. He died in June 2021 at age 82.

  • Molly O'Brien posted an article
    We remember those within our Peace Corps community who recently passed away. see more

    As we mourn the loss of members of the Peace Corps community, we celebrate the lives they led with a commitment to service.

     

    By Molly O’Brien and Caitlin Nemeth

     

    Photo: Anne Hughes — activist and arts patron whose dedication and service led to the city of Portland establishing Anne Hughes Day in recognition of her civic contributions.  
     

    Our tributes include a spirited arts champion and a power lawyer. A former Peace Corps India staff member and a public servant. A physician who dedicated his life to others and a leader in the Florida Peace Corps community. Several teachers and professors. We honor the wide range of contributions made by members of the Peace Corps community who recently passed away.

     

    Aruna (Nayyar) Michie (1944–2021), born in Bombay, grew up with a deep social conscience instilled in her by her parents, who were deeply involved with the Indian Nationalist movement and firmly believed in independence for India. When Michie turned three, independence finally came for her country. In 1966, she graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts with a degree in international relations before returning to India where she was hired by the Peace Corps. As an associate director of the Northern Regional office she oversaw programs and volunteers in the state of Rajasthan. Additionally, she met her husband Barry Michie, a Volunteer serving in Rajasthan at the time, and they were married in 1968 before moving back to the United States to pursue Ph.D. degrees from Michigan State University. Despite obtaining her Ph.D. in political science and living in the U.S. for 53 years, Michie never voted in an election, chosing to remain a green card holder to honor her Indian heritage. Michie had an incredible career at Kansas State University, where she taught and mentored students for many years. Over the years, she received recognition for excellence in teaching, served two terms as the Faculty Senate President, and was an ombudsperson mediating disputes between faculty and administration. Michie, along with her husband, spent over five decades participating in projects in India, particularly in the rural area she had come to know while working for the Peace Corps.

     

    Marguerite “Anne” A. Hughes (1945–2021) was well known for her legendary coffee room, lifelong activism, and art patronage. During her studies at Portland State University, Hughes volunteered for the Valley Migrant League, an organization that was dedicated to connecting seasonal migrant workers in Oregon with community programs and social services. In 1976, Hughes opened her first art gallery, followed by her second in 1979; during this time she was also active in curating art for other gallery owners. One of her memorable contributions to the art world involved curating a gallery showcasing Judy Chicago’s highly controversial feminist work at a local art museum. Hughes ensured the artwork remained open to the public, despite protests from the museum director. Despite Hughes’ art galleries closings in the late 1970s, she remained an important anchor within Portland’s creative community. In 1985, Hughes proposed converting an unused room within Powell’s City of Books into the bookstore’s coffee space; that room marked the beginning of the famous Anne Hughes Coffee Room — a space for shoppers to gather, discuss books, and listen to readings. The Hughes Coffee Room shuttered in 2003, after nearly 20 years, when she allowed Powell’s union workers to organize within the space. Hughes’ dedication to service and her community led to her Peace Corps service in Jordan from 2010–11. On September 21, 2021, — Hughes' birthday — the city of Portland recognized Hughes for her civic contributions to the community by making Anne Hughes Day an annual day of rememberance. Her sons remember Hughes for her dedication to ensuring an inclusive and connective creative community within Portland, a space where people who would not normally interact together are free and encouraged to do so. 

     

    Emily “Cathy” C. Day (1942–2021) was dedicated to teaching and training students and teachers alike. In 1963, after obtaining her B.A. in english from the College of William & Mary, she served in Peace Corps for two years in Lambayeque, Peru. Following this period, Day taught Spanish to incoming Volunteers for a few years. She returned to the United States to complete her M.A. in applied linguistics from the Teachers College at Columbia University. Afterwards, Day started teaching English in Ponce, Puerto Rico for five years before pursuing her Ph.D. in education at the University of Illinois. In 1982, Day was hired on as an ESL teacher at Eastern Michigan University (EMU), training teachers in the same field. Day’s commitment to mentoring and teaching the next generation of teachers led to her advancement of the university’s undergraduate and graduate programs in TESOL, or Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. In addition to Day’s professional duties, she served as the president to EMU’s chapt;er of the American Association of University Professors, frequently presented and spoke at Michigan TESOL conferences over the years; she volunteered for the board of Ypsilanti’s Meals on Wheels chapter for almost a decade; and she was an officer of the Ypsilanti Ladies’ Literary Club. After her retirement, Day remained active on campus by enjoying EMU Emeritus functions and the University Musical Society performances. In her free time, she practiced tai chi, walked her beloved dog, Cherry, and listened to EMU’s radio station.

     

    Elizabeth “Betty” (Frazier) Karplus (1925–2021), a devoted teacher and volunteer, spent her childhood, traveling around the western U.S. with her family as her father visited various communities and congregations during the Great Depression. During World War II, Karplus worked for Yale & Towne as a welder to pay for her education at Oberlin College, where she obtained a B.S. in physics, before moving on to Wellesley College for her M.S. in physics. She married Robert Karplus in 1948, and they moved to Princeton where he began working with J. Robert Oppenheimer while she ran the radiochemistry lab. She also assisted John von Neumann with testing his early computer programs’ mathematical capabilities. In 1954, they moved to California, and Karplus’ husband joined UC Berkeley’s physics department. She earned her master’s in special education after giving birth to her seventh child, who was born with a disability. Afterwards, Karplus worked as a high school resource specialist for special-needs students and their parents. Karplus retired from teaching in 1986, but kept busy in other ways, including leading a science teaching program, serving in Peace Corps Jamaica, teaching English in China, volunteering with AmeriCorps, supporting undergraduate researchers, and conducting hands-on science lessons for elementary school students. For her exceptional contributions over the years to science education, Karplus was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  

     

    Thomas M. Donnellan (1940–2021) was an engaged and dedicated citizen of Flint, Michigan, living and working there for most of his life with his family. Before moving to Flint, he graduated from Queens College and served in Peace Corps Cameroon. After completing his Volunteer service, he earned a law degree from Fordham Law School and kickstarted his law career in 1968 in the Flint, where he started working as a principal drafter of the City of Flint Charter, which later would be adopted by Flint voters. He also worked with the Michigan Municipal League to train other cities on involving citizens with revising municipal charters. In the mid-1980s, Donnellan was appointed to the Flint District Court; eventually he served as an elected judge until 1992 before holding the position of chief judge from 1984 to 1987. When he left the bench, Donnellan became a criminal defense lawyer and was well-known as a “super lawyer” throughout the 35 years he practiced criminal law, during which time he worked as Flint City attorney and district judge. One of Donnellan's most memorable contributions involved assisting Nathel Burtley, Flint Community Schools’ first Black Superintendent, launch the Committee to Save the Flint Public Library. Donnellan believed libraries act as “equalizers” within communities, and he wanted to ensure others could have free access to books and knowledge, just as he did growing up. 

     

    Timothy V. Craine (1943–2021) was a dedicated teacher throughout his career and into his retirement. When he wasn’t in the classroom, he played music, loved to hike and travel, and participated in civil activism. Craine graduated from Oberlin College in 1965 and served for two years in Peace Corps Ghana. When he returned to the States, he taught in public high schools in Detroit and New Haven. In 1984, he earned his doctorate in math education from Wayne State University; that same year, he was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching. Craine transitioned to the math department at Central Connecticut State University in 1993, where he became chair seven years later, until his retirement in 2009. Despite his retirement, Craine continued teaching on a part-time basis through 2020, and he co-authored several textbooks and academic articles. Craine was an active supporter of the Socialist Workers Party for over 50 years, serving as the party’s candidate for governor of Michigan in 1982. As a leader of the Greater Hartford Coalition on Cuba, he protested what he saw as the U.S. government’s economic war on the island. Craine also participated in a delegation demanding the closure of the U.S. bombing range in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

     

    John A. Frantz (1923–2021), a dedicated physician who spent his life in service to others, attended Haverford College followed by the University of Rochester School of Medicine, graduating in 1944. Frantz finished medical school as a U.S. Air Force officer and completed his internship at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He continued his military career, researching the survival of downed airmen under conditions of extreme cold. In 1946, Frantz married Mary Hodge, a fellow medical student, and they practiced together for several years in Colorado and Missouri, before settling in Wisconsin for the remainder of their careers as internists 1956–2007, when they both retired. Fueled by his service-minded attitude, he served in Peace Corps with his wife 1968–70, teaching medicine in Afghanistan. His passion for keeping his patients healthy motivated him to write many informational articles and a book to help educate his patients — and society in general — about common diseases over the course of his career. 

     

    Joan M. (MacDonald) O’Brien (1941–2021) grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts, choosing to attend Lowell State College. In 1962, she earned a B.S. in education and became the second person from Lowell State to join the Peace Corps. O’Brien served in the Philippines 1962–64 as a teacher and health advisor. She began a teaching career in the Lexington Public Schools upon her return to the U.S. and participated in a Harvard University project to improve early education. She married in 1967, teaching for several more years until her first child was born in 1971. However, she remained active in the education world. In the early 1980s, O’Brien served two terms on the Westford School Committee and was appointed to serve on the Nashoba Tech committee, an appointment she held for 20 years. O’Brien also bought and operated three Sylvan Learning Centers, where she provided tutoring and educational support for students. Throughout her career, O’Brien received several awards for her commitment to education and the lives of her students.

     

    Maria “Betty” Bruquetas (1954–2021) was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Solomon Islands 1993–95. She served as the president of the RPCVs of Gulf Coast Florida affiliate group for many years. Bruquetas became well-known for her strong sense of responsibility for all the work she did in various organizations, including the RPCV group. During her term as president, she was considered fondly as the group’s center from which spun ideas, projects, campaigns, celebrations, national and international communications, history-making events. She exuded a sincere interest in each person and cause that came across her path and took an active role with the Gulf Coast group’s Celebration of Service Award, given to community projects in the Sarasota/Manatee area that deal with literacy for immigrants, drug abuse, housing and poverty issues, especially within the local African American community. RPCVs of Gulf Coast Florida have created the Betty Bruquetas Fund in her honor for the next Celebration of Service Award, to be awarded in spring 2022. 

     

    Marc B. Hanson (1975–2021) was a committed public servant who championed for the Peace Corps as the lead foreign policy staff for RPCV Congressman Sam Farr 2007–10. During this period, Hanson helped lead efforts to increase Peace Corps funding by nearly $70 million and introduce legislation to expand and improve the Peace Corps. Hanson also worked for Representatives Norma Torres and Gil Cisneros between 2016 and 2019. Beyond his service to the U.S. Congress, Hanson’s commitment to justice and human rights included work with the SEIU labor union, Refugees International, and the Washington Office on Latin America. Hanson graduated from Santa Clara University and earned a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of California in Los Angeles. In 2003, Hanson served two years as a city planning volunteer in La Ceiba, Honduras.

     

     

    PEACE CORPS STAFF

    Kenneth J. Coffey (Peace Corps Office of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C.), 9/27/21

    Marylinda E. (Wilson) Hishmeh (Peace Corps staff in Tunisia from 1973—74 and Gabon in 1976), 9/11/21 

    Aruna (Nayyar) Michie (Peace Corps staff in India in mid-1960s), 9/5/21

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    John A. Frantz (1968–70), 8/31/21

     

    BANGLADESH

    Melinda A. Heins (2004–06), 8/13/21

     

    BOLIVIA

    Janice M. Harste (1964–66), 9/22/21

    Connie J. (Marquiss) Hendrix (1968), 9/27/21

    Allen D. Jedlicka (1965–67), 9/11/21

    Karen M. Taylor (1966–67), 10/4/21

     

    CAMEROON

    Thomas M. Donnellan (1962–64), 9/3/21

    Gregory G. Jones (1988), 9/14/21

     

    CHILE

    Thomas F. Hendricks (1964–66),  9/1/21

     

    COLOMBIA

    Frederick Z. Jaspersen (1961–63), 8/17/21 

     

    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

    Dorothy T. Millirons (1999–2001), 9/25/21

     

    EASTERN CARIBBEAN

    Michael R. Davis (1967–69), 8/23/21

     

    ECUADOR

    Norman C. Anders (1969–71), 9/25/21

    George Iselin (1969–71), 9/7/21  

     

    GABON

    Charles “Chuck” F. Brenner (1967–68), 9/24/21

     

    GHANA

    Timothy V. Craine (1965–67), 9/25/21

     

    GUATEMALA

    Michael McLeod (1967–70), 9/8/21

    Kenneth R. Wyrick (1965–68), 9/5/21

     

    HONDURAS

    Arnold J. Cote (1987–88), 2/23/21

    Marc B. Hanson (2003–04), 8/25/21

     

    INDIA

    Kevin E. Riordan (1966–67), 9/25/21

    John Wahl (1968–70), 4/21/21

     

    IRAN

    Laila (Jensen) Finnen (1968), 9/5/21 

     

    JAMAICA

    Elizabeth “Betty” (Frazier) Karplus (1991–93), 9/22/21

     

    JORDAN

    Marguerite “Anne” A. Hughes (2010–11), 8/26/21

     

    LESOTHO

    James T. Tashima (1969–70), 9/3/21

     

    LIBERIA

    Joseph D. Short (1966–68), 9/7/21

    Nancy A. Waters (1964–66), 9/21/21

     

    MALAYSIA

    Albert W. Briggs, Jr. (1964–66), 10/9/21

     

    MALI

    Jane M. Pollard (1995–97), 9/19/21

     

    MARSHALL ISLANDS

    James M. Barto (1972), 9/18/21

     

    NEPAL

    Salvatore D. Paradise (1971–73), 9/29/21

     

    NIGERIA

    Robert P. Burchard, Ph.D. (1964–66), 9/28/21

    Peggy N. Simmonds (1961–63), 9/9/21

     

    PAPUA NEW GUINEA

    Jerome B. Moles (1981–83), 8/25/21

     

    PARAGUAY

    James D. Iler (1966–68), 9/30/21

     

    PERU

    Emily “Cathy” C. Day (1963–65), 10/1/21

    James R. Rigney (1969–72), 8/24/21

    Richard “Dick” S. Swift (1964–66), 9/19/21

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Beth (Gillian) Craig (1969), 10/8/21

    Norman E. Kowal M.D., Ph.D. (1963–65), 9/13/21

    Joan M. (McDonald) O'Brien (1962–64), 9/23/21

    William R. Stevens (1984–86), 8/8/21

     

    SIERRA LEONE

    John C. Sartorius (196970), 9/3/21 

     

    SOLOMON ISLANDS

    Maria “Betty” Bruquetas (1993–95), 8/12/21

     

    SOUTH KOREA

    Theodore "Ted" K. Urton (1973–75), 9/17/21

      

    TANZANIA

    Patsy J. Mason (1962–64), 9/3/21

     

    THAILAND

    John F. Moriarty III (1968), 9/10/21

     

    TONGA

    Betha “Bert” T.  Spector (1982–83), 8/30/21

     

    TUNISIA

    Francis J. Egan (1966–67), 9/7/21

     

     

     

    If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, please reach out to us at obituary@peacecorpsconnect.org

  • Molly O'Brien posted an article
    We remember those within our Peace Corps community who recently passed away. see more

    As we mourn the loss of members of the Peace Corps community, we celebrate the lives they led with a commitment to service.

    By Molly O’Brien and Caitlin Nemeth

     

    Photo: Jan Knippers Black — scholar and activist whose work influenced generations of students. Photo courtesy Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

     

    Our tributes include a prominent scholar and a foreign correspondent. An award-winning research ecologist and a lifelong educator. A former medical director of Peace Corps and a dedicated physician who delivered over one thousand babies. A notable chemist and a civil rights lawyer. Several civil servants and many teachers.


    We honor the wide range of contributions made by members of the Peace Corps community who recently passed away.

     

    Jan Knippers Black, Ph.D. (1940–2021), professor emerita, world traveler, most beloved role model and mentor to thousands of students, singer and songwriter, advocate and ally: these are just some of the many terms one could use to describe Black, a prominent scholar and human rights activist. She wrote the definitive book on U.S. interference in post-colonial Brazil—some years after she was invited to play piano in Elvis Presley’s bandBlack was well known for her expertise on political dynamics within Latin America, specifically about the intersection of American affairs in the region and the relationships between America and several of the Latin American countries. Black's first degree was a B.A. in art and Spanish from the University of Tennessee. She then served among the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers in Chile in 1961. When she returned stateside, Black earned her M.A. in Latin American studies from American University’s School of International Service, as well as her Ph.D. in international studies. Black's career took her all over the United States, as she went on to work as a public administration research professor at the University of New Mexico, an editor for American University's Foreign Area Studies division, and as part of the faculty for University of Pittsburgh's Semester-at-Sea Program. In addition to her research and teaching, Black held many grants and fellowships, including Fulbright and Mellon, which led her to visit and hold honorary faculty positions in countries within the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as India and England. In 1991, Black became a professor of the Monterey Institute of International Studies (now known as the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey), and she would continue to teach and mentor students at MIIS until she retired in 2018. Black was well known for organizing and facilitating immersive overseas programs for her students all over, including Cuba, Chile, Bhutan, Iran, and the Balkans. Upon her retirement at the school, Black established the Jan Knippers Black Fund for Human Rights in order to financially support student work and speakers within the human rights field. In addition to Black's work in education, she was elected to the National Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA in 2011, one of over 20 advisory and governing positions she took on throughout her life. She carried on her father’s commitment to politics; she served on the Monterey County Democratic Central Committee and as an elected member of the executive board of the California Democratic Party for over 20 years. Black had an incredible life that touched many people; her wit and wisdom will be missed.

     

    Paulette L. Ford, Ph.D. (1965–2021) was an award-winning research ecologist, humanitarian, and lifelong volunteer. Ford attended the University of New Mexico for her undergraduate degrees in biology and psychology; there she discovered her interest in field biology, and would go on to seize every opportunity to work on mammalogy and marine biology field trips, including the notable all-female field crew in charge of trapping mammals for the Museum of Southwestern Biology in Bolivia. In 1989, Ford served in Peace Corps Paraguay before returning to stateside for her master's in biology. Ford briefly worked with the Partners in Flight exchange program before she began her nearly 30-year long career with the U.S. Forest Service within the cooperative education program at Rocky Mountain Research Station. In addition to her work with the the forest service, she co-led the Southern Plains USDA Climate Hub, served on the Natural Inquirer Board of Directors and The Wildlife Society's Technical Review, edited the journals BioScience and Rangeland Ecology and Management, and mentored students for the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the University of New Mexico. Ford’s volunteer work included assisting with Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts; working with local sponsors to host conservation events and provide educational supplies to underserved communities; volunteering for Habitat for Humanity; and participating in long-distance cycling fundraisers for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. After completing her doctorate in 2000 at the University of Arizona, Ford became a full-time research ecologist focused on climate and climate variability. Ford’s dedication to mentoring students went beyond her official position; she hosted and mentored dozens of undergraduate students from numerous Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Colleges and Universities, including the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, as well as graduate students from the University of New Mexico, Highlands University, New Mexico State University, and Northern Arizona University. Other notable moments from Ford’s illustrious career include her 25 awards for merit, achievement, and civil rights from the Rocky Mountain Research Station; two accolades for her work on grasslands and drought for the forest service; and her undergraduate research on eight new species of parasites – one of which was named in her honor, Eimeria paulettefordae.

     

    Richard B. Vierling, Ph.D. (1945–2021) had an adventurous and active spirit. As a young man, he worked in a hardware store and was a drummer in a band before deciding to pursue a teaching degree from California State University, Fullerton. After a few years of teaching, Vierling decided to join the Peace Corps and served in St. Kitts, Eastern Caribbean 1969–71. As a Volunteer, Vierling wrote original plays for his students to act out and built the first library on the island. Upon his return to the U.S., he taught grades four through 12 in California and Arizona. Vierling earned his doctorate in education from Arizona State University, driving long distances to attend school while teaching. A passionate educator, Vierling strongly believed in education for everyone. One of his greatest achievements was spearheading the creation of the Globe Alternative School for at-risk students in Globe, Arizona. Vierling's career in education included being principal of Globe High School and assistant superintendent for the Globe Unified School District. Even in retirement, Vierling was active in education. He was a consultant to the Gila County School Superintendent’s Office as associate superintendent and director of Juvenile Detention and Jail Education. Vierling was a remarkable educator who will be remembered by his many students.

     

    Steven M. Weinberg, M.D. (1942–2021) had a knack for learning from a young age and was considered to be a renaissance man with various interests and talents. Weinberg began his studies at the University of Oklahoma, then earned his M.D. from the University of Iowa. He trained at UT Southwestern Medical center and practiced as a general surgeon for several years. Later, Weinberg began a second career as an attorney, studying at Oxford and earning his law degree from SMU. His interests were varied, and Weinberg spent time teaching at Tarrant County College; working in real estate development, oil and gas, ranching, and private equity. He was the Associate Director and Medical Director of Peace Corps, the Chief of Surgical Services at Ramey AFB in the U.S. Air Force, and was part of the TX Alcohol and Beverage Commission. Outside of work, Weinberg was a long-time church member, making several mission trips. He also was a Rotarian and served as the President of the Hurst, Euless, and Bedford Rotary Club. When not working or volunteering, Weinberg loved spending time with his family, being active through activities like golfing, hunting and fishing, skiing, piloting, and getting behind a microphone.


    Judith A. Hofrichter, M.D. (1946–2021) was a phenomenal physician who delivered over 1,000 babies over the course of her career. Hofrichter grew up in North Madison, Connecticut where she was the valedictorian of Daniel Hand High School class of ’64. She continued her education at Pembroke College at Brown University and earned her degree in English. After graduating, Hofrichter became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Turkey 1968–69. After her return to the U.S., she assisted in the birth of a friend’s son and realized that she wanted to be a physician. To be able to enroll in medical school, Hofrichter had to take all of the pre-med courses she hadn’t taken in college, but that did not deter her. In 1985, she enrolled in Wesleyan University’s graduate liberal studies program, completing her required courses. Then she joined the University of Connecticut Medical School as the oldest person to be accepted at that time. After graduation, she completed her residency in OB-GYN at SUNY Health Science Center in Syracuse, New York. Hofrichter became board certified and joined the Women’s Health Group of Manchester, where she would work until she retired in 2016. In retirement, she enjoyed producing award-winning country wines and spending time with her husband.

     

    Ronald C. Burger (1948–2021) led a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention into ground zero at the World Trade Center on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001. He spent 88 days working in the remains of the towers, watching first responders for signs of secondary diseases that may have come from the dust and smoke of the wreckage. Burger’s career in public health was inspired by his Peace Corps service in Ghana. After obtaining a teaching certificate in biology from Millersville University, Burger taught science for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer. At the end of his service, there was a severe outbreak of a gastrointestinal disease. This crisis prompted Burger to become a field leader for the Ghanian Ministry of Health team that was trying to contain the outbreak. Upon his return from service, Burger took on a variety of roles at the New York City Department of Health, the Florida Department of Health, the Department of Homeland Security, and the CDC. His work saw him traveling to work in large-scale disasters, including the smallpox outbreak in Southeast Asia in the 1970s, Deepwater Horizon, the Flint water crisis, and several hurricanes. Burger’s dedication to serving his country will not be forgotten by the many he helped.

     

    Matthew J. Briggs (1989–2021) was an engaging teacher, prolific poet, loving husband, playful uncle, and caring friend. Briggs graduated from East Longmeadow High School, and he received both his B.A. in English literature and his M.A. in education with a concentration in urban education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. While Briggs loved literature, his true passion was connecting with his students and helping them understand the material, learning from them just as much as they learned from him. His path to becoming a teacher began when he was student teaching at Chestnut Middle School in Massachusetts, eventually working full time at various schools including the Commonwealth Academy in Virginia and Archbishop Carroll High School in D.C. In 2011, Briggs met his future wife Victoria during their college tenure. After they married in 2015, they went on to serve in Peace Corps Uganda for the next two years within the education sector. Just a few years after their return stateside, Briggs was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. Until his death, he kept making connections and learning from others, sharing and accepting love and strength from so many people around him. Briggs leaves behind a legacy of radical acceptance and humility.

     

    Curtis B. Stuckey (1946–2021) was a civil rights lawyer, a supportive family man, and a loyal and accepting person. He graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 1967, and then served in Peace Corps Venezuela 1967–69. Following his return to the U.S., Stuckey went to law school at his alma mater in Bloomington. He would go on to teach at the University of Tennessee College of Law, where in 1975 he met his wife Brenda. Stuckey led a notable career as a civil rights lawyer, winning several major cases, including the first jury trial victory related to the Fair Housing Act in East Texas and Kendall v. True, the class action suit in Kentucky that struck down involuntary commitment of individuals to mental hospitals without proof of dangerous intent. In 1982, Stuckey founded the civil rights firm now called Stuckey & Garrigan Law Offices, PPC, representing community members who were discriminated against because of their race; individuals whose rights had been violated by police; and people who suffered under cruel conditions within the prison system. Stuckey retired in 2014 which allowed more time for him to enjoy watching ball games and old movies, as well as spending time with his family.

     

    Virginia “Ginger” C. Greene, Ph.D. (1934–2021) graduated from Sweet Briar College in 1955 with high honors in chemistry. She continued her education in chemistry, earning a M.S. from Tulane University in 1957 and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1963. Greene began a career in chemistry, supervising a clinical laboratory at the University of Virginia and teaching at Longwood College. In 1969, she accepted a position as a research chemist with the FBI laboratory in Washington, D.C. She was the first member of their newly-established research department and was instrumental in organizing and overseeing the unit. Greene finished out her illustrious career as an intelligence analyst with the Foreign Science and Technology Center (now the National Ground Intelligence Center) before retiring in 1994. However, she remained active in retirement, bringing her expertise in chemistry to her Peace Corps service in South Africa. From 2007–09, she served as a high school teacher where she organized and supervised a chemistry lab and trained teachers how to perform and teach laboratory experiments. Greene was involved in her community throughout retirement, volunteering in many places, including at Charlottesville Area Riding Therapy stable.

     

    Scott Smith (1971–2021) was a dedicated journalist, even working until he passed away, planning for future jobs while still sick in the hospital. After graduating from California State University Chico with a master’s in literature, Smith volunteered for the Peace Corps and served in Uzbekistan 1996–98. He taught English and facilitated a training for Uzbek journalists on gathering information and news without government interference. Smith returned to the U.S. and spent over 10 years at The Record in Stockton, California. His reporting was instrumental in uncovering facts about the “Speed Freak” serial killer. In 2014, Smith joined the Associated Press and began reporting from Fresno, California on farmers and neighbors battling drought and its impact on local communities. In 2017, Smith moved to Caracas as a foreign correspondent for AP. His curiosity and drive won over Venezuelan government supporters and opponents alike. Smith’s dedication to hearing from many different people led to his coverage of fishermen working in a polluted lake, street gangsters hurting from rising bullet prices, and families of the victims of a prison fire. Smith’s humor, bravery, and devotion will be sorely missed.

     

    Edwon G. Yedlik (1945–2021) was a man with many skills and passions. Yedlik pursued a degree in radio technology from Brown Institute in Minneapolis. He began a career as a radio announcer, engineer, newsman, and program consultant for various radio stations in Colorado. In 1972, Yedlik joined Peace Corps and served as a Volunteer in Afghanistan. After his service, he returned to Colorado and worked for the U.S. Postal Service and also served as a director and actor for the Leadville Civic Theater and Crystal Comedy Theater. Later, Yedlik returned to Iowa and continued working as an actor and director in the local theater. He also spent time as an organic agriculture and environmental design consultant. Yedlik loved working with students as a substitute teacher, encouraging them to become “addicted to learning” much like he was. Yedlik didn’t pause his pursuit of learning over the course of his life, earning several more degrees from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science; Permaculture Institute in Australia; and Iowa State University. Outside of his active career, Yedlik was a master gardener, clerk of Maplewood Cemetery, and a member of the Iowa Pyrotechnics Association.

     

    PEACE CORPS STAFF

    Marilyn R. (Medley) Long (Founding staff member of Peace Corps), 8/11/21 

    Steven M. Weinberg (Associate Director and Medical Director of Peace Corps), 8/20/21

    George Zeidenstein (Nepal Country Director from 1965–68), 8/21/21

     

    MULTIPLE COUNTRIES

    Timothy A. Burr (Nigeria 1962–64, U.S. Staff 1965), 9/8/21

    Willie M. Donovan (Samoa 1978–80, Yemen 1982–84), 8/19/21

    Laurence E. Eubank (India 1970–72, Russia), 9/1/21

    Homer M. Hayes III (Ethiopia 1966–69, U.S. Staff, Volunteer Placement Officer, Ethiopia/Uganda Desk Officer 1969–75), 9/12/21

    Joshua L. Johnson (Romania 2007–09, Ukraine 2011–12), 6/21/21

    John M. Schwartzbauer (Azerbaijan 2005–09, Moldova 2010–14), 8/21/21

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    Barbara “Barb” B. Hammes (1972), 8/12/21

    Edwon G. Yedlik (1972–74), 8/27/21

     

    BRAZIL

    Adele L. (Maechling) Alsop (1968–70), 9/2/21

     

    CAMEROON

    Thomas M. Donnellan (1962–64), 9/3/21

    Gerard “Jerry” Gorman (1969–71), 8/12/21

     

    CHILE

    Jan C. (Knippers) Black, Ph.D. (1962–64), 8/15/21

     

    COLOMBIA

    Leila G. (Goldfinch) Bass (1964–66), 9/9/21

    Steve L. Burgess (1964–66), 8/10/21

     

    COTE D'IVOIRE

    John W. Ainsworth (1963–64), 8/30/12

    Terrence “Terry” M. McGovern (1970–72), 8/24/21

     

    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

    Luther Wilson (1966), 8/5/21

     

    EASTERN CARIBBEAN

    Thomas W. Hobbs (1978–79), 8/17/21

    Robert “Rob” D. Skelley II (1974), 7/4/21

    Richard B. Vierling, Ph.D. (1969–71), 8/4/21

     

    ECUADOR

    Joseph “Jay” H. Casey (1971–75), 8/13/21

     

    ETHIOPIA

    David L. Withers (1972), 8/21/21

     

    GHANA

    Ronald C. Burger (1970–71), 8/21/21

    Newell Flather (1961–63), 8/30/21

    Jeanne G. Wisner (1977), 8/28/21

     

    HONDURAS

    Jeff M. Benik (1975–77), 8/26/21

     

    HUNGARY

    Carol A. Baker (1993–95), 8/2021

     

    INDIA

    Mary “Fran” F. Kennedy (1966–68), 8/31/21

     

    IRAN

    Donna J. (Zimmerman) Patterson (1968–69), 8/28/21

     

    LESOTHO

    Luke Pfeiffer (2020 Invitee), 8/25/21

     

    MALAWI

    Laird A. Scott Jr. (1965–68), 8/29/21

     

    MALAYSIA

    Marcella A. (Fallon) Jenkins (1974–75), 8/30/21

     

    NAMIBIA

    Marie P. Shockley (2002–04), 5/10/21

     

    NIGER

    Theodore W. Clarke (1974–79), 8/29/21

     

    PARAGUAY

    Paulette L. Ford, Ph.D. (1989), 8/28/21

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Steven T. Queen (1973–75), 8/26/21

     

    POLAND

    Jeanne M. (Ford) Poliachik Cross (1999–2001), 8/16/21

     

    SIERRA LEONE

    Joy E. Marburger (1969–72), 7/19/21

     

    SOUTH AFRICA

    Virginia “Ginger” C. Greene (2007–09), 8/12/21

     

    SOUTH KOREA

    Ross N. Wiggins (1967–69), 7/31/21

     

    THAILAND

    Jean “Dee” B. (Ficken) Smith (1965–67), 8/25/21

     

    TURKEY

    Judith A. Hofrichter, Ph.D. (1969–70), 8/23/21

    James W. Pritchard (1962–64), 8/6/21

     

    UGANDA

    Matthew J. Briggs (2015–17), 8/25/21

     

    UZBEKISTAN

    Scott Smith (1996–98), 8/19/21

     

    VENEZUELA

    Gerald “Jerry” R. Shaye (1966–70), 8/22/21

    Curtis B. Stuckey (1967–69), 8/10/21

     

    COUNTRY OF SERVICE NOT SPECIFIED

    Lenore M. Frey, 8/24/21

     

     

     

    If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, please reach out to us at obituary@peacecorpsconnect.org

     

     September 16, 2021
  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    A diplomat committed to peace and prosperity in the Caribbean see more

    He began his career as a teacher with the Peace Corps | 1949–2021

     

    He was a diplomat who devoted decades to advancing peace, prosperity, equality, and democracy in the Caribbean. Peace Corps service set him on that path. Equipped with a bachelor’s from Emory University, he headed to Liberia as a Volunteer (1971–73) and taught general science, biology, math, and chemistry. He admired the commitment of U.S. Embassy staff he met.

    He completed graduate degrees in African studies and education, then embarked on a career that took him to the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Ecuador before he was appointed ambassador to Honduras (2002–05) by President George W. Bush. He served as president and CEO of the Inter-American Foundation, focused on grassroots development in Latin America and the Caribbean, expanding support for underserved groups, including African descendants.

    President Barack Obama tapped Palmer to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean (2012–16); Palmer concurrently served as ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He understood the value of building relationships in person.

     

    A moment with the press: Larry Palmer after speaking with the president of Honduras in 2002. Photo by Esteban Felix / AP

     

    A story he shared, from a conversation with Alejandro Toledo, who, Palmer said, “always talks about his experience as a young student when a Peace Corps Volunteer identified him as a potential excellent student and leader and pushed him and gave him the courage that he needed to move on, further his education … And of course he ended up as president of Peru.” Larry Palmer died in April at age 71.

    —Steven Boyd Saum

  • Molly O'Brien posted an article
    We remember those within our Peace Corps community who recently passed away. see more

    As we mourn the loss of members of the Peace Corps community, we celebrate the lives they led with a commitment to service.

    By Molly O’Brien and Caitlin Nemeth

     

    Photo: William B. Robertson — Peace Corps country director and the first Black senior decision-maker in any governor’s office in the South. By John Frischkorn, Virginia Department of Highways. Courtesy of the William B. Robertson Library, Bluefield State College, West Virginia.

     

    Our tributes include a lifelong nurse and teacher. A talented architect and public servant devoted to education. One of the founders of the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience and a strong Peace Corps supporter.  A well-traveled teacher-scholar and veteran.

    We honor the wide range of contributions made by members of the Peace Corps community who recently passed away.

     

    William B. Robertson (1933–2021) was the first Black American to serve as an aide to a Virginia governor and went on to serve presidents in international affairs. Before his passing, he was finishing work on his memoir, Lifting Every Voice: My Journey from Segregated Roanoke to the Corridors of Power, to be published in spring 2022 by the University of Virginia Press. One historian notes that his book, like his life, serves as a rallying cry for continued activism to bring about justice and equity for all. He was born in 1933 in Roanoke, Virginia. He earned two degrees in education from Bluefield State College, a historically Black college in West Virginia. In the 1960s he became well-known as an educational leader and active in civic affairs. He was then approached by a Republican candidate for governor, Linwood Holton, to run for office — and help defeat the segregationist, conservative Democrat “Byrd Machine” that had dominated Virginia politics for decades. Robertson initially demurred; but in 1969 he switched his party to Republican and ran for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. He lost, but Holton won — and Holton asked Robertson to serve on his staff. Robertson broke ground as the first Black man to serve as a senior advisor to any governor in the South. He was a man of courage and compassion; when a mental patient took one of his guards hostage — this, shortly after 43 prisoners and guards died in the Attica prison rebellion in New York — Robertson offered himself as a hostage to replace the guard and negotiated a settlement. He went on to serve presidents — from Ford to Carter to Reagan to Bush I: as country director for the Peace Corps in Kenya and the Seychelles, as assistant secretary of state for African affairs, as co-chair of a task force. When he retired, he returned to the classroom to teach in an inner city school in Tampa, Florida. For many years he brought groups of young students to visit his alma mater and encourage them to pursue a college education. “Only in recent years,” noted one remembrance, “did the racialization of the GOP and Robertson’s passionate support for Black Lives Matter drive him out of the Party of Lincoln.” He died on June 23. He was 88 years old.

     

    Sally F. Fitch (1940–2021) grew up in Washington and was an active member of her high school as a teen. She was the salutatorian and part of the first class to graduate from Davis High School in 1958. She remained active in social life during college at the University of Washington and participated in many clubs while earning her bachelor’s degree in history and language. Fitch was married after graduation and joined Peace Corps with her husband in 1966. They served in Chile, where Fitch taught villagers how to use sewing machines and her husband, Jim, taught them to better their wine grape production. They deeply loved their Peace Corps experience and it influenced their lives for many years. Fitch’s main passions were travel, textiles, and teaching. Fitch was awarded a Rockefeller fellowship to study Mayan culture in Guatemala and later to study the Aymara and Quechua in Bolivia. She also received a Fulbright fellowship to study Pakistani culture. It was a great honor for her to experience other cultures and share them with those back home. She would often bring home textiles from the places she traveled and created wearable art to share with her friends and family. Not only did Fitch get to experience much of the world, but she shared it with her students as a teacher of 30 years. She taught various subjects, but particularly enjoyed Spanish and world history. She was recognized with a National Endowment for the Humanities Award as Washington State’s Outstanding Teacher-Scholar. Her stories and impact will live on through her students, friends, and family.

     

    T. James “Jim” Truby (1942–2021) was a community leader and talented architect. He attended Carnegie Mellon University where he received a bachelor of architecture degree. Truby continued his education and pursued a M.A. in social anthropology from the American University in Washington, D.C. In 1965, Truby left to serve in Tunisia as a Peace Corps volunteer. He applied his background in architecture to improve housing in his country of service. His passion for architecture would continue on after service. Truby joined the Maryland Aviation Administration in 1972 and helped plan the expansion of Baltimore’s airport into Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI). Later he would continue his work at BWI as he planned and opened an Amtrak station at the airport. In 1994, Truby founded a consulting firm that helped nonprofits develop buildings for their use. The firm managed development of buildings for education and senior housing, arts programs, medical practices, and museums. Many of the projects have won awards for design, construction, and historic preservation. Some examples of projects and clients include: the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Phillip Merrill Environmental Center (the first building in the United States to receive LEED Platinum Certification), the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Maryland Science Center. Truby also served on various community boards in the formative years of his town, New Town of Colombia, MD. His commitment to his community made a lasting impact on the town and its organizations. Outside of work, Truby loved to spend time with his family and stay active through travel and his many hobbies, though he never lost his passion for his community.

     

    Tammy J. Lind (1966–2021) was inspired by her Peace Corps service to pursue a long career in healthcare. Lind grew up in a very large family in Minnesota. She was the valedictorian of Rush City High School class of 1984 and attended St. Olaf College, where she earned a degree in chemistry. After graduation, she joined Peace Corps and served as a Volunteer in Samoa. Lind was inspired by her service to help others and become a nurse. She decided to go back to school and received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Winona State. As a nurse, Lind worked for several years at Mayo Clinic Hospitals in Rochester, Minnesota. Still wanting to help others, Lind decided to pursue missionary work. She went back to school again to pursue biblical studies at Columbia International University. She then served as a nurse in Cambodia for three years through Overseas Missionaries Fellowship International (OMF). When she returned to the United States, Lind worked as a hospice nurse, before finishing her career as a home health nurse. Lind cared passionately for others as a nurse and as a friend. She loved to travel and spend time with family and friends. Gone too soon, she passed away after a long battle with an autoimmune disease. She will be remembered for her kind spirit and love for others.

     

    Martin L. Kaplan (1935–2021) was a passionate supporter of Peace Corps his entire life. Kaplan was born in New York City and attended City College of New York. He graduated in 1956 with a degree in chemistry. He obtained his master’s from Florida State University where he also met his future wife. Kaplan joined Peace Corps in 1962 and served for two years in the Somali Republic. It was a powerfully formative experience, and he remained active in the Peace Corps community for the rest of his life. Upon his return from service, Kaplan started what would be a 53 year marriage. After his Peace Corps service, he worked as a research chemist for Bell Laboratories in New Jersey for 30 years. In his spare time, he also earned a Juris Doctorate and practiced law. He co-founded the organization working to create the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience. In retirement, Kaplan moved to Oregon and became a teacher once again, teaching chemistry at a community college. He will be remembered through his many scientific publications and the lives he touched, including those in the Peace Corps community.

     

    Nancy R. Jiracek (1945–2021) was a lifelong public servant devoted to helping her community. Jiracek grew up in Wisconsin and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After her graduation, she joined Peace Corps and served as a volunteer in Honduras. This began a life of travel and working in other countries. Jiracek moved to Tasmania in Australia, where she would remain for the next 50 years. Her career in public service involved managing family and social planning with adult education at Technical and Further Education (TAFE), which is similar to community colleges in the U.S. In retirement, Jiracek accepted a two-year position with UNICEF to assist with unexploded ordnance issues in Cambodia and Laos. Jiracek also cared deeply about Native American issues and the arts. She and her partner had a summer residence in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they were actively engaged in supporting native culture. Jiracek told her story in the book Building Up: Tales from Below, which described her early life growing up in a basement-house in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

     

    Peter J. Cryan (1944–2021) was a dedicated servicemember, family man, volunteer, coach. After completing his B.S. from Boston College and MBA from Suffolk University, he went on to join the Peace Corps and serve in Puerto Montt in southern Chile. He returned to the U.S. and joined the U.S. Army in 1968. He fought in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division and earned a Bronze Star; he was discharged with the rank of captain. Cryan began his professional career in healthcare administration at Children’s Hospital Boston. Later on he and his wife co-founded and co-led Cryan Associates, a small organization managing professional associations. After retirement Cryan continued to do consulting work as a trade show manager. Cryan participated in many organizations throughout his life, including Rotary International through the Sudbury chapter and a Paul Harris fellowship; he coached many sports teams; led several mission trips to Honduras; volunteered with Mobile Ministries; and was a proud member of the Padanaram Wharf Rats, the local men’s group.

     

    Delores A. (Primus) Orman (1943–2021) grew up in Iowa and was active in her community from a young age. She was involved in 4-H, her church youth group, helping at her parents’ appliance store, and worked as a lifeguard as a teen. Orman earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics and interior design from Iowa State University Ames in 1965. After graduation, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger. During her service she met and married her husband, Paul. Upon their return home, Orman began teaching art and home economics in Nome, Alaska. They remained there for 18 years, raising their family. Orman was an active member of her church and volunteer with 4-H. She was also a talented gardener and would frequently share her produce with friends and neighbors. In 1985, Orman and her family moved to Nebraska, where she continued to make a great impact in her community through teaching and volunteer work.

     

    Edward J. Budi (1955–2021) was a devout family man who loved traveling the world. Budi was born and raised in Illinois and graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a B.A. in accounting. He was known for believing the journey was always the destination. He enjoyed his time in Fiji as a Peace Corps Volunteer immensely, and he passed on his passion for adventure to the next generation, encouraging his children to experience the world. Budi and his wife met in Fiji and they eventually settled down as a family in Glen Allen, Virginia, where Budi worked as an international tax specialist with the IRS and was a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was also very involved with Friends of Fiji, and his dedication to service continued throughout his life.

     

    PEACE CORPS STAFF

    Walter Cuskey (Trainer in Puerto Rico), 5/10/21

    Nancy K. (Henney) Elsea (Sierra Leone), 7/22/21

    Jerry A. Harrold (Malawi), 7/18/21

    William B. Robertson (Country Director of Kenya and Seychelles), 6/23/21

     

    MULTIPLE COUNTRIES

    Sally A. DeCicco (Ghana 1978—80, Philippines 1989—90), 8/4/21

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    Helen M. (Herrick) Michoud (196365), 7/24/21

     

    BOLIVIA

    George "Don" Donald Beck (1967—69)

     

    CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

    Rev. Thomas G. Schaefer (1974—77), 7/3/21

     

    CHILE

    Peter J. Cryan (1965—67), 8/4/21

    Sally F. Fitch (1965—67), 7/7/21

     

    CHINA

    Robert Joseph Eller (1999—2001), 8/4/21

     

    COSTA RICA

    Michael James Parcher (1980—83), 6/16/21

     

    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

    Ernest C. Conry (1989—91), 6/8/21

    Mary "Gail Marie" Gail (McDonough) Forte (1979—82), 7/21/21

    Helena E. (Mokray) Reed (1964—66), 7/8/21

    Danny "Dan" M. Thibault (1973—74), 7/21

     

    EASTERN CARIBBEAN

    Rolfe A. Leary, PhD (1961—63), 7/20/21

     

    ECUADOR

    Joseph J. Aquino (1964—66), 8/1/21

    Samuel F. McPhetres (1962—64), 7/24/21

     

    EL SALVADOR

    John P. Spare (1966—68), 8/1/21

     

    FIJI

    Edward J. Budi (1986—88), 7/29/21

     

    GABON

    Melinda R. Bauman (1994—96), 7/15/21

     

    GUATEMALA

    Stephen (Clark) Issa (1988—90), 3/15/21

     

    HAITI

    Ellen Ruth (Harris) Daiber (1992—93), 7/5/21

     

    HONDURAS

    Kathleen T. Durning (1982—85), 7/10/21

    Nancy R. Jiracek (1968—69), 7/10/21

     

    IRAN

    Harry E. Conklin (1968—71), 7/8/21

    Edward W. Davis (1964—66), 5/8/21

    Arthur "Steve" S. Evans (1967—69), 4/1/21

    Ray Alan Frieden (1969—71), 4/27/21

    Robert A. Friedman (1966—67), 6/6/21

    James H. Reed (1964—66), 3/6/21

     

    JORDAN

    Sandra "Sandi" K. (Wheelhouse) Sauvage (2006—08), 7/21/21

     

    KAZAKHSTAN

    Linda L. Bradshaw (2002—04), 7/10/21 

     

    LESOTHO

    Willa Lemken (1997—99), 7/22/21

     

    LIBERIA

    Robert "Kent" K. Fisher (1963—65), 7/8/21

    Anita L. (Sowell) Terry (1972), 8/5/21

     

    MALAWI

    John Martin Geraghty (1965—67), 7/29/21

     

    MOLDOVA

    Frank L. Mays (2000), 1/7/21

     

    MONGOLIA

    Michael K. Jerryson (1997), 7/9/21

     

    NEPAL

    James W. Morris (1967—70), 7/18/21

     

    NIGER

    Delores A. (Primus) Orman (1965—67), 8/7/21

     

    NIGERIA

    Beverly J. Granger (1962—64), 6/14/21 

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Kyle J. Rickert (2004—06), 7/25/21

    Luke E. Williams (1984—87), 7/27/21

     

    SAMOA

    Virgina A. (Blake) Clark (1978—80), 7/14/21

    Tammy J. Lind (1988—90), 7/19/21

     

    SENEGAL

    Betty C. Harding (1986—88), 6/21/21

     

    SOMALIA

    Martin L. Kaplan (1962—64), 6/20/21

     

    THAILAND

    Arlene A. (Schwalben) Darick (1973—76), 7/24/21

     

    TUNISIA

    Edward S. Bright (1983—85), 2/21

    T. James "Jim" Truby (1965—67), 1/21/21

     

    VENEZUELA

    Aubrey Parsons Owen, 7/8/21

     

    COUNTRY OF SERVICE NOT SPECIFIED

    Kate Edwards, 7/28/21

    Michael Graham, 7/11/21

     

     

     

    If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, please reach out to us at obituary@peacecorpsconnect.org

  • Steven Saum posted an article
    As a scholar, he profoundly shaped the study of African literature. And contributed to WorldView. see more

    A remembrance: As a scholar, he profoundly shaped the study of African literature. And his work illuminated the pages of WorldView magazine for years.

    By David Arnold

    Charles Larson. Photo courtesy the Larson family.

     

    When his papers were archived at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, African literature scholar Charles R. Larson told an interviewer that in two years teaching as a Peace Corps Volunteer, “Nigeria totally altered my worldview. When I returned home I was determined to see that works by African writers were reprinted in American editions.” He was true to that determination.

    Larson, who served in the Peace Corps from 1962 to 1964 and died in May, was for more than 50 years a major influence in a movement to introduce the works of African writers to university classrooms across America — and to New York book publishing. He taught literature at American University in Washington, D.C. for 46 years.

     

    For more than 50 years Charles Larson was a major influence in a movement to introduce the works of African writers to university classrooms across America — and to New York book publishing.

     

    Longtime readers of WorldView were also beneficiaries when for 11 years Larson was our magazine’s books and fiction editor. He proposed the position when we first met at a 1995 Peace Corps gathering at the American University gymnasium. National Peace Corps Association had turned the magazine’s attention to giving its readers news, opinion, and reporting about current social, political, and cultural dynamism of the countries where we had served as Volunteers.

    'Larson’s proposal was a perfect fit for the magazine and provided us with fresh and wide-ranging literary voices from the rest of the world. Beginning with his own article in 1996 about Nigeria’s celebrated writer and executed activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, Larson organized a cohort of returned Volunteers, academics, and published novelists, and poets and intellectuals from Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East to review half a dozen books in each issue of our magazine. We were enriched even more by his acquisition of WorldView rights to fiction from the likes of Somalia’s Nuruddin Farah, Lebanese writer Hanan al-Shaykh, Haiti’s Edwidge Danticat, Indian writer Meena Nayak, and many more.

    Charles Larson broadened our worldview. The family requests that he be remembered by donations to National Peace Corps Association.

     

    READ MORE tributes to Charles Larson in The Washington Post, on the American University College of Arts and Sciences website, and in  CounterPunch.   


    David Arnold is editor emeritus of WorldView magazine. 

  • Molly O'Brien posted an article
    We remember those within the Peace Corps community who recently passed away. see more

    As we mourn the loss of members of the Peace Corps community, we celebrate the lives they led with a commitment to service.  

    By Molly O'Brien & Caitlin Nemeth

    Photo: Tommy Schultz III, talented writer and photographer, gone too soon. His service with the Peace Corps in the Philippines taught him the importance of marine conservation.

     

    Our tributes include an innovative playground designer and play expert. A talented travel writer and photographer. A scholar and expert on African Literature. Several lifelong educators and a social worker. Servicemen who continued their devotion to their communities. 

    We honor the wide range of contributions made by members of the Peace Corps community who recently passed away.

     

    Paul Hogan (1928 – 2021) was the innovative founder of the “Playgrounds for Free” movement. Growing up in Philadelphia, Hogan often accompanied his father, a building developer, to building sites. He earned his B.A. from Goddard College and served the United States in both the Merchant Marine and in the Eleventh Airborne Division. From 1965 to 1967, Hogan served as the Regional Director of Peace Corps in Colombia in what was a life-changing experience for him and his family. The concept for his playground career was inspired in 1958, when he volunteered at Charlestown Playschool. At the time, he was the Director of Construction for the Neighborhood Renewal Corps of Philadelphia, and organized his community to build a playground. This was the first “playground for free” that started a national movement and inspired Paul to write his first book. Later, he would publish PlayPlans magazine as part of the International Play Association (IPA) and publish more books on playground construction and safety. Over the years, Hogan would travel globally, consulting and promoting safe play. He co-invented the Triax 2000 portable surface impact testing device, which allows municipalities globally to create safe surfaces for play. President Jimmy Carter appointed him as Honorary Commissioner of the U.S. National Commission for the International Year of the Child in 1979, a great honor for Paul. His passion for his community and play will be long remembered.

     

    Charles R. Larson, Ph.D. (1938 – 2021), was a pioneering educator in comparative literature and profoundly influenced the growth of scholarship on African Literature in the United States. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature, Larson considered himself just a budding researcher of literature when he joined Peace Corps Nigeria in 1962. According to Larson, his time in West Africa altered his world view, leading him to understand the limits of his own schooling and to pursue a broader education through a doctorate in African literature. However, he was unable to find a program, and decided to pursue a degree in African American literature at Howard University. After transferring to Indiana University, he received his Ph.D. in comparative literature. Starting in 1970, he joined American University’s faculty as a professor of African literature, and taught students for over 40 years until his retirement in 2011. Dr. Larson’s first major critical work was The Emergence of African Fiction, a piece notable for challenging readers to consider African literature within the context of African oral tradition, rather than judging based on American or Western ideals of character and plot. His other works include anthologies of African writers, highlighting novelists and authors China Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Amos Tutuola, Ben Okri, Nuruddin Farah, Camara Laye, and Grace Ogot, among others; a retelling of The Scarlet Letter called “Arthur Dimmesdale”; a scholarly work on Native American literature; a biography of two noted Harlem Renaissance writers, Jean Toomer and Nella Larsen; and several works of fiction.

     

    Stella Martinez See (1927 – 2021) was a passionate educator. In 1950, Stella married Robert See, moving from Nevada to become a Midwestern farm wife. She and Robert had three daughters and later moved the family to Fort Collins, Colorado. When her children were older, Stella resumed her education, earning her B.A. in 1969 from Colorado State University and a M.A. in 1971 from University of Northern Colorado. Later, she would earn a public school administrator’s certificate from University of Colorado. Stella See loved teaching. She taught everything from Spanish to junior and senior high students, to reading to elementary students, to ESL and GED classes. She was a teacher trainer for those changing careers and for professionals working with diverse populations. Outside of classroom teaching, See recorded textbooks for blind students, translated for Crossroads Safehouse, and worked with Spanish-speaking clients at the Homeless Prevention program. From 1993 to 1994, See served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras, working with teachers to improve teaching standards and methods. See received awards such as Woman of the Year by the YWCA and Volunteer of the Year from Front Range Community College. When not giving her time to others, See loved to travel, read, and spend time with her family.

     

    Thomas A. Schultz III (1975 – 2021), known as Tommy, was a talented writer and photographer, gone too soon. Schultz graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Environmental Science in 1998. After graduation, he worked as a fly fishing instructor and guide. This led him to be hired by Trout Unlimited, a national nonprofit conservation organization. He became the director of marketing, discovering an interest in outdoor photography. In 2004, Schultz made the life-changing decision to join the Peace Corps and served in the Philippines as a coastal resource management Volunteer. His time there taught him the importance of marine conservation. After his service, Schultz engaged in writing and photography full time, traveling extensively in Asia, eventually settling in Bali, Indonesia. There, he worked on an innovative National Geographic–sponsored project called Photovoices, which involved sharing stories from remote communities through photography. Schultz remained in Bali for over 14 years, working on various stories which appeared in publications for National Geographic, Patagonia, and World Wildlife Fund, as well as travel and airline flight magazines. He was a strong advocate for the health and protection of the ocean, having made so many lasting memories in and around it. 

     

    Richard C. Andresen (1939 – 2021), known by his nickname Dick, was an entrepreneur and involved business owner. Following his graduation from Ferris State University in Michigan, Andresen joined the Peace Corps, developing co-ops for farmers in Malawi. Out of his Peace Corps experience came two of the most meaningful things in his life. The first was the realization that he wanted to be self-employed, which would lead to several successful business ventures over the next few decades. The second was meeting his wife, Lynn, on his way home from Africa. They were married in 1968 and shared a nearly 53-year marriage. After his return from Peace Corps service, Andresen developed 29 Burger King restaurants throughout Michigan, established “Alibi” Nightclubs in several cities, and became the president of eight corporations. Never one to rest, he also bought and remodeled an inn and founded Mt. Pleasant Oil and Gas. In 1984, Andresen was named alumnus of the year from Ferris State University. When he was ready to retire, Andresen sold his Burger King Restaurants to four of his key employees. At the time, his company had over 2,300 employees. In his retirement years, Andresen enjoyed boating and fishing, as well as piloting his plane, but was also happiest as PaPa to his three granddaughters. 

      

    Wiley R. Carmack (1935 – 2021) was a dedicated serviceman, worker, and volunteer throughout his life. He joined the United States Air Force right out of high school, and upon returning stateside he attended UCLA and later earned his master of science in geology. In 1963, he served in Peace Corps Sierra Leone, an experience that would inspire him to travel throughout his life, as well as work in central and northern Mexico. Carmack had earlier established himself in Silverton, Colorado, and he would spend the next 60 years in his community, with a few notable exceptions for his world travels. While he lived in Silverton, he owned and operated several retail businesses throughout the years, and during the winter months he worked as a hard-rock miner and mill operator. Carmack was essential in the founding of Silverton’s first volunteer ambulance service, and he went on to serve as an EMT for 15 years. His continual devotion to his community was evident throughout his life, as he served his community in many capacities including town council member, municipal judge, theater board member, Chamber of Commerce president, town deputy, and member of Blair Street Gunfighters, Silverton’s very own community group that assists with the filming of Western movies and television shows.

     

    Lelia E. Johnson (1922 – 2021) was an exemplary teacher and dedicated missionary. Johnson and her family moved to France when she was just five years old. Becoming fluent in French, she would later have to relearn English when they moved back to the U.S. She was one of the first Black students to graduate from Dorsey High School in California, and would go on to be instrumental in the integration of West Coast military base housing and local schooling after her marriage to Lt. Colonel Rupert Johnson, a WWII Tuskegee Airman. Her activism work would lead her and her young children to meet Martin Luther King, Jr. In her mid-40s, Lelia Johnson attended California State University, Northridge, for both her B.A. and M.A. in French. After graduation, Johnson served in Dakar, Senegal as an English teacher, and would go on to also serve as a Catholic Missionary in American Samoa. After she received her teaching credentials in 1985, she spent many years as an elementary school teacher and CCD instructor.

     

    Simon A. St. Laurent (1941 – 2021) graduated from the University of Notre Dame’s general program of liberal studies and NROTC. Following graduation, he served in the U.S. Navy until returning stateside to attend University of Chicago’s business school for his MBA. He and his wife, Mary, served in Peru to assist locals with business development. After their service, Simon St. Laurent worked in the accounting department for Corning Glass Works for many years, working in several cities in Pennsylvania and Seoul, Korea, as well as traveling to assist on Corning projects in India, Mexico, Germany, Malaysia, and China. After St. Laurent retired in 2001, he focused his time on volunteering as the president of the advisory board of the Steuben County Office for the Aging, and he continued to travel and fish until his death.

     

    Maureen A. Sweeney (1969 – 2021) was a persevering and dedicated social worker. She received her B.S. in liberal studies and completed a certificate program in child welfare studies. She worked for the Pennsylvania State Division of Nursing Care Facilities as a Health Facility Quality Examiner. Maureen was an avid advocate for nursing home residents, and this passion and dedication led to her involvement with many other community-driven programs, including joining Peace Corps Namibia in 2015. She also volunteered as secretary on the Helping Hands Board in Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania, a program dedicated to facilitating enrichment programs for individuals with disabilities; and participated in the Youth Aid Panel, an innovative program for providing second chances to youth in the criminal justice system.

     

    PEACE CORPS STAFF

    Nona L. Bailey (Peace Corps Recruiter), 5/21/21

    Jon K. Groteluschen (Puerto Rico), 6/2/21

    Paul Hogan (Colombia 1965–67), 2/19/21

    Charles T. O’Connor, M.D. (Deputy Chief Psychiatrist of Peace Corps), 5/16/21

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    Alice M. Roddy (1963–65), 5/20/21

     

    BELIZE

    Frank Phelan (2001–03), 6/1/21

     

    BOTSWANA

    Marilyn A. Conger (1989–91), 5/9/21

     

    BRAZIL

    Thomas J. Brock (1976–79), 5/23/21

    Katia (Buchler) Lund (1968–70), 6/14/21

    Douglas L. Toews (1962–64), 5/25/21

     

    CHILE

    Collier N. Smith (1966–69), 2/11/21

     

    COLOMBIA

    Charles "Tony" Christy (1968), 6/8/21

    Carl Mallory (1963–65), 6/14/21

     

    COSTA RICA

    Laura “Betty” Deavours (1966–68), 6/8/21

     

    EASTERN CARIBBEAN

    Fern E. Jackson (1971–72), 5/30/21

    Noel F. Sabine (1970–72), 5/30/21

     

    ECUADOR

    John A. A. Meyer (1964–66), 12/17/20

    Karl A. Stadler (1967–69), 6/15/21

     

    ESWATINI

    Kenneth L. Alvey (1992–95), 5/16/21

     

    FIJI

    Mark R. Schiffer (1969–71), 6/8/21

     

    GUATEMALA

    John H. Dolan (1993), 6/13/21

     

    HONDURAS

    Stella (Martinez) See (1993–94), 5/21/21

     

    LIBERIA

    Mary Katherine “Kathy” Poese (1977–79), 6/11/21

     

    MALAWI

    Richard “Dick” C. Andresen (1964–66), 5/30/21

     

    NAMIBIA

    Maureen A. Sweeney (2015), 5/14/21

     

    NICARAGUA

    Richard Domingo Uberuaga (1973–76), 6/4/21

     

    NIGERIA

    Charles R. Larson (1962–64), 5/22/21

    Lawrence “Larry” H. Shafer (1965–67), 6/9/21

     

    PAPUA NEW GUINEA

    Margel “Lee“ Parker Craig (1985–88), 5/25/21

     

    PERU

    Simon A. St. Laurent (1967–70), 6/12/21

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Kenneth R. Rashid (1961–63), 6/6/21

    Thomas A. Schultz III (2004–06), 6/4/21

     

    SENEGAL

    Lelia E. Johnson (1972–75), 5/26/21

     

    SIERRA LEONE

    Wiley R. Carmack (1963–64), 6/2/21

     

    THAILAND

    William Dennis Haden (1968–69), 5/12/21

    David Michaels (1961–63), 5/26/21

     

    TUNISIA

    Nancy (Townsend) MacDonald (1969–71), 6/4/21

     

     

     

     

    If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, please reach out to us at obituary@peacecorpsconnect.org

  • Molly O'Brien posted an article
    We remember those within our Peace Corps community who recently passed away. see more

    As we mourn the loss of members of the Peace Corps community, we celebrate the lives they led with a commitment to service.

    By Molly O’Brien & Caitlin Nemeth

     

    Our tributes include former U.S. Ambassador Larry L. Palmer, left, and an award-winning musician. A decorated State Department diplomat and a public health official specializing in infectious diseases. Educators with a lifelong commitment to their students. A dedicated physical therapist and a doctor who served as an instrumental member of the NPCA Board of Directors.

    We honor the wide range of contributions made by members of the Peace Corps community who recently passed away.

     

    Ambassador Larry L. Palmer, Ph.D. (1949 – 2021) was a dedicated civil servant and diplomat. He earned a bachelor’s in history from Emory University, a master’s of education from Texas Southern University, and a doctorate in higher education and African Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington. Palmer served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia from 1970 to 1972, which inspired him to join the Foreign Service. That led to postings in multiple U.S. Embassies around the world as part of the Senior Foreign Service. He served in the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Ecuador before being appointed U.S. Ambassador to Honduras (2002–05) by President Bush. During his tenure in Honduras, he oversaw more than $250 million in development programming from USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Upon completing his term as ambassador, he became the president and CEO of the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) from 2005–10. He was energetic and focused on generating economic impact during his time at IAF. He helped IAF expand their approach to funding and supporting underserved groups, including African descendants. After his time with IAF, Ambassador Palmer served as the U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean under President Obama (2012–16), where he concurrently served as the ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Ambassador Palmer was a wonderful connector and diplomat, working tirelessly in many roles to forge prosperous relationships between the U.S. and many parts of the world.

     

    Mary L. Walker (1926 – 2021) was a musician, but her professional career began as a research assistant with the Wright Patterson Aeromedical Laboratories. This preliminary research was a precursor to the U.S. space program; Walker participated in trials to determine the effect of decreased oxygen levels on humans at high altitudes. Her career took a creative turn when, at 48, Walker taught herself how to play guitar; she would go on to complete eight albums. Her music can be described as entertaining and informational, and her inspiring impact was felt by the Catholic church and her local community, with songs such as “Advent Song” and “Everybody Has a Song.” Mary was awarded the Popular Award every year from 1984 to 1994 by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. From 1990 to 1992, Walker served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji, where she presented a weekly children’s radio program called “Shared The Sunlight.” Over the years, she went on to receive the Arts Partnership Award from the Chemung Valley Arts Council and was recognized as a Woman of Excellence Today by Girl Scouts of the USA. In addition to “Shared The Sunlight,” other shows Walker hosted and performed on include PBS programs “Weekend Radio” and “Woody’s Children,” ITV’s “Saints Alive,” and the musical “Children of the Earth,” a production by Mary and Serge Banyevitch. Her extensive work over the years as a creative performer cemented Walker’s dedication to promoting fairness, love, and inclusion for the community's future — children.

     

    David C. McGaffey, Ph.D. (1941 – 2021) was an incredibly smart and talented man with many interests. At the age of 15, he enrolled at the University of Detroit and completed his education with majors in theater, folklore, psychology, and math. During his time at U of D, he met his future wife, Elizabeth. Together, they joined Peace Corps after their wedding, serving in Afghanistan 1964–66. Upon their return, McGaffey joined the State Department, traveling the world and representing the United States in various capacities. His storied career involved managing the safe evacuation of 2,500 Americans from Iran during the 1979 revolution, serving as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Guyana, and holding a position as the U.S. representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. He managed to find time to publish four non-fiction books about diplomacy and write a children’s book. While working for the State Department, McGaffey received his master’s in systems analysis at Harvard University, then furthered his education in retirement, completing a Ph.D. in international relations at Johns Hopkins University. He did not slow down, returning to teaching at several universities abroad in the U.S. He was passionate about teaching and assisted in the development of many programs at various international universities. David was an incredible civil servant and made a positive impact upon everyone he met. 

     

    David B. Wolf, Ph.D. (1942 – 2021) was a leader in higher education in California. Wolf attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he also earned his master’s in economics. After marrying in 1965, David and Ruth Wolf served in the Peace Corps in Malaysia 1966–68. Upon their return, David pursued his doctorate in organization and education at Stanford University. He began his career in education in earnest; he was hired as the dean of Los Angeles Mission College, then later took on administrative roles at other colleges. He taught for many years and was later promoted to accrediter for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Wolf was passionate about his students and wanted every student in California to receive access to higher education. His retirement from teaching did not last long before he went back to work. He co-founded the Campaign for College Opportunity advocacy group in 2002, which has since grown into one of the only statewide nonprofits to focus exclusively on public higher education. Due to his work in his organization, hundreds of thousands of students in California have been able to achieve access to higher education and brighter futures.

     

    H. David Hibbard, M.D. (1937 – 2021) followed JFK’s call to service, joining the very first Peace Corps group in Nigeria, then later serving as a Peace Corps doctor in India 1967–69. An Oberlin College graduate, Hibbard continued his education at Case Western Reserve Medical School and the University of North Carolina, where he earned his public health degree. Remembered by patients as a kind and compassionate doctor, Hibbard contributed to the medical community in a variety of ways. He created the Advanced Medical Directive forms that are used nationwide, served on the Boulder Community Hospital Integrated task force, and co-founded the Malaria and Health Care Project with his wife, Chris, in Uganda. He remained active in the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer community, serving on the NPCA Board of Directors, making a lasting impact on NPCA’s advocacy efforts. 

     

    Michael J. Bangs, Ph.D. (1956 – 2021) was a dedicated public health agent to the communities he served, working across the globe in southeast Asia, Central America, and Africa. Inspired by his three years working on malaria prevention as a Peace Corps Volunteer in northern Borneo, Bangs obtained his master’s in medical entomology and infectious disease epidemiology. He spent 21 years as a U.S. Navy public health entomologist in the capacity of a preventive medicine officer in Indonesia, during which time he was sponsored as a Ph.D. candidate in medical entomology. Following his retirement from military service in 2006, he continued working overseas as director of vector-borne disease control programs for a private medical assistance company. Throughout his years as a public health worker, he authored over 250 articles that analyzed his research on vector-borne disease epidemiology. Bangs also consulted with major foundations on malaria prevention initiatives, and he taught as an adjunct professor and advisor to many students at world-renowned institutions such as the Universities of Oxford and Notre Dame.

     

    Marian B. Rowe (1939 – 2021) was a three-time Peace Corps Volunteer. From a young age she was involved in the organization 4-H, owning a horse and sheep that participated in 4-H competitions. Rowe’s devotion to animals led her to obtain her bachelor’s in zoology from the University of California Davis, and later on to pursue her master’s in wildlife biology through the University of Idaho. Her other passions included travel and education, and in 1962 she was part of the first Peace Corps group to arrive in Venezuela, where she worked in community development. She would go on to serve twice more in Peace Corps, but during the intervening years, she dedicated herself to working as an educator, teaching Spanish to high schoolers in California schools and teaching ESL to immigrants in local communities. In 1992, she served in Peace Corps Morocco as a large animal husbandry expert. She served for a third time as an English educator in Paraguay from 2009 to 2011. Her love for traveling, education, and animals continued for the rest of her life, and she passed on a deep appreciation for these to her children and grandchildren.

     

    Francisco A. Sisneros (1948 – 2021) was a respected education administrator, researcher, and author. He spent several years in his late teens and early 20s independently in Latin America, studying and working, and by 1971 served as a Volunteer in Honduras. Following his Peace Corps service, Sisneros worked at the Bilingual Institute and the University of New Mexico, and conducted bilingual materials research at the University of Arizona in Tucson until 1981. He then switched gears and spent 20 years as a school administrator within the Socorro, New Mexico school district. In his spare time, Sisneros enjoyed researching his Hispanic ancestors, tracing his family ties to the mid-1660s in New Mexico. He helped establish the Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico, and was a senior research associate at the center. He was also a well-known writer and researcher in the field of New Mexico Hispanic history.

     

    Hugh T. Compton, Ph.D. (1944 – 2021) served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica, working as a teacher and job counselor. Upon his return from service in 1969, he earned his doctorate in literature from the University of South Carolina. Compton joined the university faculty, inspiring thousands of students over the course of three decades. He served in many leadership positions at the university and contributed to a wide range of topics such as 18th-century literature, censorship, theatre history, Southern literature, and African American theatre and literature. Hugh was also the recipient of many University honors and awards, including the University of South Carolina Educational Foundation Award for Faculty Service and the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Distinguished Teaching, Research and Service in Furtherance of Social Justice.

     

    Gwendolyn K. Forbes-Kirby (1953 – 2021) was a dedicated physical therapist for over 35 years. After she graduated from the University of California, Davis, she joined the Peace Corps in 1976 and served in South Korea, where she met her future husband. After marriage, they traveled together and spent time in Switzerland, Japan, Hawai'i, and the state of Georgia. During her time in Atlanta, she used her extensive experience working as a certified lymphedema therapist to join the Board of Directors for the Lighthouse Lymphedema Network.

     

    PEACE CORPS STAFF

    Mercer Gilmore (US Staff), 4/5/21

    Paul L. Guise, M.D. (West Africa 1961–64), 5/5/21

    John L. Kuehn, M.D. (US Staff 1966), 4/25/21

    Tobe Johnson, Ph.D. (US Staff), 5/7/21

    Walter O. VomLehn, M.D. (Dominican Republic), 3/8/21

     

    MULTIPLE COUNTRIES

    Kathryn I. Chase (Hungary 1995–97, Eastern Caribbean 1998), 4/6/21

    Marian B. Rowe (Venezuela 1962–64, Morocco 1992–94, Paraguay 2009–11), 5/8/21

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    John M. Flynn (1965–67), 5/18/21

    David C. McGaffey (1964–66), 4/14/21

    Sandra J. McNeilly (1971–73), 4/12/21

     

    BANGLADESH

    Michael B. Backus (2003–04), 5/12/21

     

    BENIN

    Monica M. Justice (1989–91), 1/15/21

     

    BOTSWANA

    Gary M. Bean (1968–69), 5/18/21

     

    BRAZIL

    Michael B. Fero (1965–67), 10/28/20

    Rodolfo Ramirez (1966–69), 5/1/21

     

    BURKINA FASO

    Peter Brostrom (1985–86), 3/30/21

     

    COLOMBIA

    M. Dickey Drysdale (1966), 5/9/21

    Michael S. Owen (1966–68), 4/13/21

    Donald R. Torrence (1962–64), 4/25/21

     

    EASTERN CARIBBEAN

    Jake M. Beddoe (201819), 5/27/20

     

    ECUADOR

    Robert Donner (1966–68), 4/27/21

     

    ETHIOPIA

    Charles L. Clark (1963–65), 4/27/21

    Elizabeth J. Hamm (196465), 4/11/21

    Lois S. Mirkin (1962–64), 12/22/20

    Gwendolyn S. Smith (197374), 5/4/21

     

    FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA

    Esther M. Gray (1987–89), 4/28/21

    Sharon N. Ruzumna (196769), 4/24/21

     

    FIJI

    Mary L. Walker (1990–92), 4/29/21

     

    GUYANA

    Frank X. McGough (1966–68), 4/24/21

     

    HONDURAS

    Francisco A. Sisneros (1971–73), 5/1/21

    Jackson E. Tegarden (1977), 5/14/21

     

    INDIA

    Grant B. Anderson (1963), 5/18/21

    Ruth Benziger Cahill (1968–70), 4/17/20

    Conrad F. Fingerson (196365), 4/30/21

    Bill A. Hetzner (1965–67), 4/15/21

    James “Jamie” Oates (196871), 4/14/21

    Roland M. Poirier (1968–69), 3/9/21

     

    IRAN

    Jeffrey D. Shorn (1966–68), 4/20/21

     

    JAMAICA

    Marvin A. Cochran (196567), 4/27/21

    Hugh T. Compton, Ph.D. (1967–69), 4/28/21

     

    KENYA

    James R. Linville (197073), 4/19/21

     

    LIBERIA

    Amb. Larry L. Palmer, Ph.D. (197072), 4/22/21

    Frank A. Peterson, Jr. (1963–65), 4/10/21

    Marie L. Woodward (1977–80), 4/7/21
     

    MALAWI

    John A. Turnbull (1963–65), 4/13/21

     

    MALAYSIA

    Michael J. Bangs, Ph.D. (1979–82), 3/9/21

    David B. Wolf (196668), 4/9/21

     

    NIGER

    Kent M. Helmer (1979–81), 4/21/21

     

    NIGERIA

    Eric E. Goodale (1964–67), 4/25/21

    H. David Hibbard, M.D. (196163), 4/7/21

    Gwendolyn E. Skeoch (196567), 5/2/21

    Carl White (1964–66), 5/8/21

     

    PANAMA

    William A. LeMaire (1967–69), 3/29/21

     

    PARAGUAY

    Richard Headen Inman, Sr. (1968–70), 3/13/21

     

    PERU

    Carl S. Ebert (1966–68), 4/21/21

    Frederick P. Romero (196466), 3/26/21

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Bruce C. Campbell (1961–63), 5/10/21

    Veronica D. Casale (1966–68), 1/6/21

    Ernest N. Way (1965–67), 5/21/21

     

    SAINT LUCIA

    Jane O. Mohney (1982–83), 5/7/21

     

    SIERRA LEONE

    Jeffrey N. Phillips (1973–75), 4/14/21

    Diane Williams (1987–90), 4/5/21

    Brenda Wilson (1973–76), 4/15/21

     

    SOUTH KOREA

    Peter Bartholomew (1967–71), 5/11/12

    Gwendolyn K. Forbes-Kirby (1976–78), 4/9/21

     

    TANZANIA

    Noel C. Hankamer (196568), 4/6/21

     

    COUNTRY OF SERVICE NOT SPECIFIED

    Jerry D. Nash, 4/12/21

    Ann Neuenschwander, 4/20/21

     

     

     

     


     

    If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, please reach out to us at obituary@peacecorpsconnect.org

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    We remember members of the Peace Corps community who recently passed away. see more

    Remembering those we’ve recently lost in the Peace Corps community

     

    A Cuban exile who became a country director. A leader in Peace Corps’ early efforts of training volunteers on college campuses. Returned Volunteers in western Massachusetts who were leaders in their communities in so many ways. These are among those who recently died, and whom we recognize for their service.

    Photo: Francis Lauren Keegan, who worked with universities early on to train Peace Corps Volunteers.

     

    Francis Lauren Keegan (1925 – 2020) graduated from Santa Clara University and earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame after service with the Merchant Marine during World War II. He was a research fellow at the Institute for Philosophical Research in San Francisco before beginning a long career in higher education. This started with his hire as associate director of college curriculum study at St. Mary’s College of California. He would return to Notre Dame as an assistant professor, assistant dean, and co-founder of the Jacques Maritain Center. He was hired as president of Salem State College in Massachusetts but later faced a no confidence vote from faculty and was subsequently fired. While at Salem State, he initiated controversial reforms and marched to protest the Vietnam War. In an interview following his ouster, Keegan said “If you don’t crack eggs, you can’t have omelets. I’m a guy who cracks eggs.” It was in 1962 that Keegan took on a six-month assignment at the request of Sargent Shriver to work with universities to train Peace Corps Volunteers. He also served in 1965 as a program advisor in higher education for the Ford Foundation in Mexico City. During his life he wrote several poetry and illustrated history books.

     

    Ambassador Jose S. Sorzano (1940 – 2020) (pictured above) was born and raised in Cuba. A member of the Cuban national championship basketball team, Sorzano fled communist Cuba and came to the United States at the age of 20. His first job in the U.S. was to mop kitchen floors at the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel in Virginia. He learned English and later enrolled at Georgetown University, earning a degree in international affairs and a PhD in political philosophy. Georgetown later hired him and Sorzano worked for 18 years as an associate professor of government. Peace Corps brought on Sorzano to serve as Country Director of the Colombia program, which would become the second largest program during his tenure. In 1981, President Reagan appointed him U.S. Representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and then as Deputy Permanent Representative, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Ambassador Sorzano served in that role for five years. In 1987, he was appointed to the National Security Council as special assistant to President Reagan and senior director for Latin American Affairs, serving for almost two years. After leaving government service, he was the president of the Cuban American National Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting a free, independent, and democratic Cuba.

     

    Robert Laurence Nason (1946 – 2021) graduated from Villanova University in 1968. He did not originally plan to earn a degree in political science, but it proved helpful in his future. Bob’s Peace Corps service took him to Colombia, where he helped build one-room schoolhouses, and he worked on agricultural diversification while living high in the Andes mountains. A conscientious objector to the war in Vietnam, Bob was assigned to work in Spaulding Rehab Hospital in Massachusetts. Following this assignment, he began a long career in public service. He worked on affordable housing issues with the Melrose and Chelsea Housing Authorities. This was followed by positions with the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. In 1968, he moved to the town of Lee, Massachusetts, where he served as Town Manager for the next 19 years. Upon retirement, Bob was an active volunteer. He was a member of the local Lions Club and taught ESL through the Literacy Network of the Southern Berkshires. At the time of his death, he was being trained as a mediator with the Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority.

     

    Shirley Scott Williams (1941 – 2020) majored in English and history at Stephen F. Austin State University. She joined the Peace Corps and taught English at Ozamiz City in the Philippines. This was the start of a career that would take her to Kauai, Hawaii, and back to Stephen F. Austin. Williams then settled north of the university, teaching English and chairing the English department at Longview High School. She was honored at the 2002 Region VII Secondary Teacher of the Year and was the recipient of the Cornerstone Award through the Longview ISD Foundation. She was active with the school’s National Honor Society, the Academic Decathlon teams, and the high school literary magazine. After retirement, Williams remained active in her community, volunteering with the Gregg County Historical Museum, the Shakespeare Club, and the First United Methodist Church School for Little Children.

     

    Hedy Lipez Burbank (1940 – 2021) graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in philosophy. She earned an RN at Berkshire Community College in Massachusetts, was trained as a nurse practitioner at Northeastern University, and earned a master’s in psychiatric nursing at Yale. Burbank devoted her life to serving her community in so many ways. She was well known in Berkshire County for her work at Doyle Detox, the Neighborhood Health Center, and Williams College, as well as her private counseling practice. She traveled overseas to serve in the Peace Corps, with assignments in Ethiopia and Zambia. She also volunteered numerous times with the Red Cross, and locally (back in western Massachusetts) with the Elizabeth Freeman Center (the Rape Crisis Center), and the New Ashford Volunteer Fire Department. She also ran an HIV/AIDS support group for many years, as well as an eating disorder support group. After retiring from the volunteer fire department, Burbank took pride in serving her community as a poll worker on election days.

     

    PEACE CORPS STAFF

    David Dichter, 12/28/20

    Adriel “A.C.” Gray, 1/10/21

    Francis Lauren Keegan (1962), 12/15/20

    William “Buzzy” Patterson, 1/7/21

    Steven Steigleder, 12/24/20

     

    MULTIPLE COUNTRIES

    Hedy Lipez Burbank (Ethiopia/Zambia), 1/10/21

    Lynn W. Gallagher (Tanzania/Kenya mid/late 1960s), 12/15/20

    Kathleen Pastryk (Philippines 1961–63; Botswana 1971–74), 1/1/21

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    Janet Kutny (late 1960s) 12/20

     

    ARMENIA

    Loretta Jane Land (1996–98), 1/1/21

     

    BELIZE

    Carol Saunders-White, 12/14/20

     

    BOLIVIA

    Judith “Julia” Moore (1967), 12/29/20

     

    BRAZIL

    Marjorie Rebecca Davis (1967-69) 12/26/20

    Harold B. Hawkins M.D., 12/31/20

    James O'Donnell (early 1970s) 12/22/20

    James C. Reed, posted 1/3/21

    Katharine Wylie (1966–68), 1/15/21

     

    CAMEROON

    Arthur Albert Theisen (staff), 12/26/20

     

    COLOMBIA

    Bernal Doyle “Bernie” Brock, 12/26/20

    Archie Hogan Jr., 10/13/20

    Robert Laurence Nason (1968–70), 1/5/21

    Janet Obando (1974–76), 12/16/20

    Raphael “Skip” Semmes III, 12/31/20

    Jose Sorzano (Country Director), 12/29/20

     

    EL SALVADOR

    James Portman, 1/5/21

     

    ESWATINI (SWAZILAND)

    Carolyn Ann Brown, 1/7/21

     

    ETHIOPIA

    Kermit Holderman (1970s), 3/31/20

    Charlotte Lockner (1965–67), 1/2/21

     

    JAMAICA

    Delores Sumner Byrd (1963–65), 12/22/20

    Todd Radenbaugh (1992–94), 10/26/20

     

    KAZAKHSTAN

    Althea R. "Thea" Hyde (2007–09), 12/21/20

     

    KENYA

    Mary Jo Hays, 1/10/21

     

    LIBERIA

    Dr. Paul J. Lavin (1963–65), 12/31/20

     

    MALAWI

    Jenifer Ahlstrand (1967–69), 1/6/21

     

    MALAYSIA

    Elizabeth Jane Eggleston (1960s), 1/2/21

    James R. Hulbert (1967–69), 12/8/20

    Joyce Porter (staff 1974–76), 12/26/20

     

    MAURITANIA

    Claudia Ruth Lamparzyk, 11/16/20

     

    NEPAL

    Robert Bell (1983–85), 12/22/20

     

    NIGERIA

    Murray W. Frank (staff, early 1960s) 1/3/21

     

    PANAMA

    Diann Ballesteros (1962–64), 1/1/21

    Harold David Walters (1967–69), 12/14/20

     

    PERU

    Robert Armendariiz, posted 1/5/21

    Laura Kapka-Borchert, 12/26/20

     

    THE PHILIPPINES

    Shirley Scott Williams (1960s), 12/29/20

     

    POLAND

    Marcia Anne Brocato Maynard (1990s)

     

    PERU

    Barbara ”Bunny” Frey, 1/6/21

     

    SAMOA

    Rita A. Dunn (1986–88), 12/18/20

     

    SENEGAL

    Pierre McNally (1971–73), 12/16/20

     

    SIERRA LEONE

    Tom Scott De Martini (1981–83), 12/27/20

    Don C. Henson Jr. (1967–68), 12/26/20

     

    SOLOMON ISLANDS

    Robert Stirling (1984–86), 1/1/21

     

    SOUTH KOREA

    Leslie H. Silver, 12/21/20

     

    TANZANIA

    Matthew P. “Pete” Wright (1961–63), 1/3/21

     

    THAILAND

    Danny Korte, 1/9/21

     

    TUNISIA

    Charles Woodrow Wilson (late 1960s), 1/1/21

     

    TURKEY

    Steve Baim (1967-69), 11/17/20

     

    UKRAINE

    Jason C. Cleary (1997), 12/12/20

     

    VENEZUELA

    Larry Coy (1966–68), 12/18/20

     

    YEMEN

    Darunee Wilson (1984–86), 12/30/20

     

    COUNTRY OF SERVICE NOT SPECIFIED

    Peter Henri Belanger (West Africa), 12/10/20

    Michael “Elmo” Drilling, 1/14/21

    Lawrence John “Larry” Franke, 12/29/20

    Patricia Jean George, 12/19/20

    Samuel Pettus Hall III, 12/21/20

    Don Scott Hatcher (Africa), 12/15/20

    Morris W. Hitson Jr., 1/7/21

    Charles Norman, 1/16/21

    Barbara O'Meallie-Wilson (1993–95), 11/30/20

    Joann Kateri Peters (mid 1970s), 1/1/21

     

     


     

    If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, please reach out to us at obituary@peacecorpsconnect.org

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    A remembrance of Paul Johnson see more

    A remembrance of Paul Johnson

    By Jake Arce

     

    Paul Johnson understood what it means to tend the earth. He was a farmer and a state and national leader in the movement to conserve soil and water. As chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, he led the agency to produce a national report card on the state of America’s private lands. He called it “A Geography of Hope.”

    Johnson joined the Peace Corps in 1962, serving in one of the first groups in Ghana. After returning to the United States in 1964, he completed studies in natural development, earning a master’s in forestry at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources. He married an RPCV from the Philippines, Patricia Joslyn, in 1965; they later traveled together to teach in Ghana’s School of Forestry and started a family abroad. 

     

    “The foundation of our farm’s productivity is our soil, a complex, living system that, although largely unrecognized as important in our national environmental policies, is in fact the basis of all life.”

     

    They settled in Iowa in the 1980s. Of his land there Johnson once wrote, “The foundation of our farm’s productivity is our soil, a complex, living system that, although largely unrecognized as important in our national environmental policies, is in fact the basis of all life. If we farm our soil well, its productivity will be sustained by recycling what was once living into new life.”  

    He was elected to the Iowa State House of Representatives and served three terms. He co-wrote the Iowa Groundwater Protection Act to stop contamination from surface pollutants and underground tanks. He garnered bipartisan support for progressive action on the environment and crafted Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection program, funding parks, trails, and wildlife enhancement. 

    He also knew what was not enough. Speaking to the Des Moines Register in 2000, he said: “A land comprised of wilderness islands at one extreme and urban islands at the other, with vast food and fiber factories in between, does not constitute a geography of hope.” He died in February at age 79.