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In Memoriam

  • 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.

     

     

     

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Remembering those within the Peace Corps community who recently passed away. see more

    As the year comes to a close and we reflect, we remember the sacrifice, generosity, and benevolence of many within our Peace Corps community who recently passed away.

     

    Dr. Pamela York Klainer (1945-2019) attended The College of St. Elizabeth, followed by a Peace Corps assignment in rural Panama. She received a Doctorate of Education from the University of Rochester. Pam was known as an adventurous spirit, lifelong philanthropist, entrepreneur, author, blogger, and loving friend, mother, and grandmother. From her first visit to Panama in the 1960s, Pam built lifelong friendships with her 'family of the heart,' returning to Panama regularly with friends and family. Pam cared deeply about philanthropy, establishing the Dr. Jeremy A. Klainer Entrepreneurial Scholarship Fund at the University of Rochester School of Nursing to support innovation in nursing, and helped found the Knox Clinic, providing essential medical care to the uninsured of mid-coast Maine. Pam is also the author of two books and published more than 10,000 blog entries.

     

    Helen Armstrong's(1936-2019) personal grief turned her into an advocate for parents with hospitalized children. She was educated at Wellesley College, and earned a Master's degree in teaching from Harvard. With ambition to work overseas, Helen moved to Kenya to work as a high school teacher in the late 1950s. She returned to the U.S. a few years later, met James Armstrong, who shared her interest in Africa. They married, joined the Peace Corps, and moved back to Kenya as teachers. Once back in the U.S., the eldest of their four children died of a congenital heart defect as a toddler. Helen transformed tragedy into impacting policy changes that allowed parents to accompany small children throughout hospitalizations, rather than restricting their presence to rigid visiting hours. This advocacy in healthcare continued when the family returned to Nairobi, Kenya in 1977. Helen consulted and collaborated on a variety of public health and maternal and child nutrition projects. When she relocated to Winchester, Massachusetts in 1990, Helen continued her work with La Leche League, and also became a consultant in UNICEF's Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, which involved travel to many nations to train doctors, health care workers, and program directors.

     

    Joseph Haratani's (1923-2019) life as a teen had been uprooted to a Japanese internment camp. Joe served the public good his entire life. He joined the U.S. Army's 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II, surviving combat in Italy and France. Joe earned degrees at both Stanford University and the University of California, and joined the U.S. Department of State as a civil/sanitary engineer working in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. In 1968, Joe relocated his family from Virginia to become director of the Peace Corps in Ecuador. After two years, he made the unusual move by becoming a volunteer with his wife and family. When the U.S. government made monetary reparations in 1988 to surviving WWII internees, Joe donated his to a trust for Sonora Elementary School with the stipulation that the interest be used for education about civil rights.

     

    Judge Richard Bender Abell (1943-2019) was a member of the Federal judiciary for twenty years. Judge Abell graduated from The George Washington University with a B.A. in 1966 and a J.D. in 1974. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1967 to 1969 in Colombia. Subsequently he volunteered for the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam in 1970. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal for Heroism, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. Richard served as an Assistant District Attorney and Deputy Sheriff in Chester County, Pennsylvania, taught law school at Delaware Law School in Wilmington, Delaware, and was on the staff of Senator Richard Schweiker. During part of the Reagan Administration he served in D.C. in executive positions with the Peace Corps and also with the Department of Justice. In 1991, Richard was appointed to the Federal judiciary in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. President Reagan asked him to consult with the Federal Prison Industries Corporation, the Interagency Task Force on Adoption, the Presidential Commission on Agricultural Workers, National Crime Prevention Coalition, National Institute of Corrections, National Center for State and Local Law Enforcement Training, National Drug Policy Board Enforcement, Drug Abuse Prevention and Health, and Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

     

    Steven Paul Dolan (1948-2019) was a former “Gong Show” winner, a philosophy major, and Fortune 500 communications consultant. He attended Fordham University and the University of Missouri, receiving a B.A. in philosophy after serving two years with the Peace Corps in South Korea. For 28 years, Steven was a communications consultant for Fortune 500 companies. Prior to committing to corporate training, Steven began his working career in the performing arts, winning the Gong Show and appearing on "The Bob Newhart Show" and "McMillan and Wife" in the seventies, as well as traveling with "Laugh In's" Ruth Buzzy Review. His work included writing music that was performed at the White House and creating and producing an album of 24 songs he wrote about loss and recovery.

     

    Bruce Stark Lowney (1937-2019) was one of New Mexico's most talented and eminent artists. He earned a B.A. from North Texas State and his M.A. from San Francisco State. Bruce served in the military from 1962-1964 before joining Peace Corps in Papua New Guinea from 1992-1994. Bruce was a stone lithographer and a painter best known for his surrealistic New Mexico skies. His work is included in private collections throughout the United States and New Mexico. Many museums, universities, and galleries have archived his paintings and prints. His amazing talent and his wondrous imagination earned him numerous fellowships and awards including an Artist in Residence Fellowship in Roswell, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and the Tiffany Foundation Award.

     

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

     

    MULTIPLE COUNTRIES

    John Steven Hartwell (Kenya 1965-67; Colombia Country Director 1969-70), 10/19/19

    Harriet Sue Fox Riehl (Honduras 1967-69; Costa Rica staff 1974-76), 7/19

     

    BARBADOS

    Mary Alice Glenn, 11/11/19

     

    BOLIVIA

    Dale Edward Harris (1965-67), 11/27/19

    James Otis Wright Jr. (1967-69), 11/15/19

     

    CAMEROON

    Ernest Wayne Leonard, 10/29/19

     

    COLOMBIA

    Richard Bender Abell (1967-69), 11/21/19

    C. Charles "Chuck" Benson (1970-71), 12/2/19

    Nancy "Sam" (Temple) Samuels, 11/13/19

     

    ECUADOR

    Joseph Haratani (Country Director 1968-70; Volunteer 1970-72)

     

    ESWATINI (FORMERLY SWAZILAND)

    David Brooks "Dave" McLane (1968-69), 12/5/19

     

    ETHIOPIA

    Bessie Dalton (1972-74), posted 12/5/19

    Sara Hobart Homeyer (1964-66), 12/9/19

    Dr. Joseph Herbert Vogel (1971-73), 12/3/19

     

    INDIA

    Richard Barber Reidinger (1965-67), 12/10/19

     

    IRAN

    Pamela Dean Spencer (1965–67), 12/3/19

     

    KENYA

    Helen Armstrong, 11/17/19

    William Pitassy (1965-67), 11/22/19

     

    LESOTHO

    Thomas Stovall (1992-94), 11/29/19

     

    LIBERIA

    Allan Beiswenger (1970-72), 11/29/19

    Edward Houston McMillion (1964-66), 12/2/19

     

    MALAYSIA

    Joyce Hofman McHugh (1962-64), 12/2/19

    Elena Grace Wendland (1965-67), 11/25/19

     

    NEPAL

    Regina Plunkett Dowling, 12/5/19

    Virginia "Jinny" M. Moore (1965-67), 11/18/19

     

    PANAMA

    Dr. Pamela York Klainer (1967-69), 9/14/19

     

    PAPUA NEW GUINEA

    Bruce Stark Lowney (1992-94), 10/5/19

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Michael Ryan (1978-80), 11/26/19

     

    SAMOA

    Carol Ann Lauzon (1974-76), 8/26/19

     

    SOUTH AFRICA

    Melissa Maese Amaro, 12/4/19

     

    SOUTH KOREA

    Steven Paul Dolan, 10/6/19

     

    TURKEY

    Marsha Goron Dragonetti (1965-67), 12/1/19

    Marilyn M. McMann Kramer, 11/24/19

     

    COUNTRY OF SERVICE NOT SPECIFIED

    William "Bill" Grealish, 12/2/19

     

     

     

     

    If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, contact obituary@peacecorpsconnect.org.

    Thanks to Betty Pyle for her assistance in preparing this month's In Memoriam page.

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    We remember those in 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: The late filmmaker and educator Judy Irola. Photo by Douglas Kirkland, courtesy of American Society of Cinematographers

     

    Our tributes include pioneering filmmaker Judy Irola and a leader in bioethics. A former Peace Corps Costa Rica Country Director and an award winning architect. A Black leader in education and a member of Peace Corps’ first public health group in South Korea — who went on to lead a long career in nursing. An American Museum of Maple Syrup Hall of Famer. Inspiring educators, veterans, and community leaders.

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

     

    Judy Irola (1943 – 2021) was a pioneering filmmaker, documentarian, and educator. Her interest in film began in her childhood, when she and her sisters spent Saturdays at the local movie theater. Irola attended Central California Commercial College, learning secretarial skills in order to work abroad. In 1966, she joined Peace Corps, seeking to put her skills to better use, serving in Niger. She worked to improve water and sanitation systems, build schools and provide vital health education. Her work in Niger later inspired her to create a documentary about her service, “Niger ‘66 — A Peace Corps Diary” (2010), for which she returned to her village with some of her fellow Volunteers. Following Peace Corps service., Irola pursued a career in film, becoming one of the few women cinematographers working at the time. Over the course of her career, she was a trailblazer, co-founding several organizations for filmmakers and technicians, and shooting groundbreaking films. She worked as a freelancer in California and New York, creating films and content for major networks and shows, winning many awards before taking on teaching responsibilities at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. She taught cinematography for 26 years and was head of the department for 15 before retiring in 2018. Her numerous awards include the Award for Excellence in Cinematography at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival; she was the third woman invited to join the American Society of Cinematographers in 1995. Irola leaves behind an outstanding legacy in cinematography and the Peace Corps community.

     

    Robert “Bob” Veatch, Ph.D. (1939 – 2020) was a founding figure in the field of bioethics. After serving in Nigeria from 1962–64, Veatch became a respected member of the bioethics field, serving in many ways, as a teacher, a prolific author, a member of advisory committees and editorial boards, and as an ethics consultant to important legal cases. He earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in religion and society from Harvard University, with a focus on medical ethics. He also held a B.D. from Harvard Divinity School, an M.S. in pharmacology from the University of California, San Francisco, and a B.S. in pharmacy from Purdue University. Veatch spent over 40 years of his career at Georgetown University’s Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Institute of Ethics and served as director of the institute from 1989 to 1996. He was a prolific author, writing multiple books, book chapters, and articles that were published in leading medical journals. He began the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal (1991) and served as senior editor until 2011. He co-founded and edited the Ethics and Intellectual Disability Newsletter. Over the course of his career, Veatch received many awards, such as the National Book Award from the National Medical Writers Association, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities (2008), and the Distinguished Service Award of St. George’s University School of Medicine (2014).

     

    Phillip B. Olsen (1931 – 2021) was a first-generation American who loved flying and traveling the world. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1953 and from UCLA in 1958. He served as a U.S. Air Force as a pilot, and with the Peace Corps was in the first cohort sent to the Philippines. He continued to serve Peace Corps in the capacity of director of training in Hilo, Hawai’i. Before long, Phillip returned to his true passion – flying – as a chief corporate pilot for Alexander & Baldwin. He also served as the commander of the Civil Air Patrol Aloha State Search and Rescue Squadron. In addition to his careers as an administrator and pilot, Olsen was a powerful advocate for prostate health. After his diagnosis of prostate cancer, he was a founding member of the National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions and the Hawai’i Prostate Cancer Coalition. He received two awards for his work in prostate cancer awareness; one for his spirited advocacy, the James West Spirit Award, and another for “making a difference in the fight against cancer,” the Harry Pinchot Award. Olsen had also earned several awards over the years for his flying, including the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity and the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.

     

    Aaron Barlow, Ph.D. (1951 – 2021) was a valued writer in the Peace Corps community. He was awarded a Senior Fulbright Fellowship as a Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso from 1985 to 1987. Following this experience, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo 1988–90. Barlow earned his B.A. at Beloit College and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. He had a special interest on the impact of technology on contemporary American culture, writing many articles and books on various aspects of the subject.  In 2011, he edited a volume of essays written by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, One Hand Does Not Catch a Buffalo, as part of the Peace Corps at 50 Story Project. The book received a commendation on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps from the U.S. House of Representatives and won a silver medal in the travel essay category of the 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards. He had a love for collaboration and mentorship, illustrated by his time as a cultural studies scholar and professor of English at New York City College of Technology.

     

    Lawrence “Larry” B. Myott (1944 – 2021) was an award-winning agricultural agent with Vermont Extension (USDA), associate professor emeritus at the University of Vermont, devoted community leader, and longtime patron of the maple syrup industry. Over the course of his lifetime, he dedicated himself to service in many different capacities, beginning in his college career when he served abroad in Peace Corps Nigeria, returning home to finish his undergraduate degree and pursue a graduate degree, which allowed him to lecture in a dozen American states and Canadian provinces on various aspects of the maple syrup industry. His dedication to the industry led to his induction for outstanding service into the American Museum of Maple Syrup Hall of Fame in 2004. That same year, Myott retired with 30 years of federal service, 28 of those years with Vermont Extension as the Chittenden Agricultural Agent with the USDA. But his work did not cease; he switched gears to volunteering as an EMT, serving as the district governor for a year for the Vermont Lions Club chapter, and editing a few seasonal newsletters for his retirement and lake communities.

     

    James Wyndham Evans (1956 – 2021) had an active life and a deep love for travel and the outdoors. In high school he earned the rank of Eagle Scout during his time with the Boy Scouts of America. After his graduation, he joined the U.S. Marines and served five years in Japan and Korea as a structural mechanic on aircraft. Several years after his completion of military service, Evans completed a bachelor’s degree at the University of Idaho and pursued a career with the U.S. Forest Service. However, it was not long before he joined the Peace Corps and served in Mali 1993–95, working on guinea worm control. A life of travel resumed for Evans; he worked in Uganda with a nonprofit and at the South Pole with the U.S. government. He traveled extensively, often with his brothers, one of whom served in Peace Corps Mongolia. When Evans returned to the United States, he accepted a full-time position with the U.S. Forest Service in California, where he managed the off-road trail network in the Plumas National Forest. He greatly enjoyed his job, working with the Forest Service for 15 years before retiring in 2018.

     

    Amos Isaac, Ph.D (1934 – 2021) was a dedicated educator and community leader who made a lasting impact on everyone he met. His passion for education started with his Peace Corps service in Liberia 1962–64. He would return often to Africa after his service, continuing his efforts to improve educational opportunities there. Later, Isaac earned a M.A. at the University of Redlands and a Ph.D. in Education from Claremont Graduate School. During his long education career, he served as a teacher, administrator, and an educational consultant, through his own company. Isaac was committed to creating a more equitable and inclusive school district by running repeatedly for a seat on the Redlands Unified School District Board and joining Concerned Citizens, a coalition of political and educational leaders and community service organizations. For Isaac, education was the key to life and his legacy continues to inspire future generations.

     

    Korrinne K. Kanne (1945 – 2021) had a heart for others, attending nursing school at Naeve Hospital School of Nursing, Albert Lea after high school. Upon graduation, she joined Peace Corps, serving in the first public health group in South Korea. Her service to this country did not end there. A few years after Kanne returned home from her Peace Corps service, she joined the U.S. Air Force, serving for 20 years. In 1992, she retired with the rank of major, with decorations including a Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. During her military service, she was able to continue her nursing education, completing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Mobile, Alabama. She served all over in her military career, but was proud to be able to return to South Korea as an Air Force nurse. Kanne continued to work as a nurse after her military service while also traveling on many medical mission trips to Sierra Leone with a team from AfricaUplifted.

     

    Ángel Manuel Cabán (1934 – 2021) was a talented architect who graduated with a bachelor of architecture degree from the University of Florida after serving in the U.S. Navy. Upon completing his education, he returned to his native Puerto Rico, where his modern designs earned him multiple industry awards and features in Architectural Digest. He was elected to be chapter President of the American Institute of Architects and also served as an adjunct professor at Inter-American University’s School of Architecture. He was particularly involved in restoration of historical colonial buildings across Old San Juan. In the mid-1980s, he also served as the Peace Corps Country Director in Costa Rica, overseeing more than 120 staff and Volunteers. He and his wife, Isabel, enjoyed traveling and visited more than 40 countries during their nearly 60 years of marriage.

     

    Suzanne Strom Wotring (1933 – 2021) was an inspirational teacher, having taught for both American Airlines and the Sarasota County School System in Florida. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1955 and was a proud member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She later earned a master’s degree in education while teaching in Florida. She was active in her retirement, joining Peace Corps to teach life skills in Jamaica from 1986 to 1988. She also spent time working with Burmese refugees for international outreach organizations in Thailand.

     

    PEACE CORPS STAFF

    Ángel Manuel Cabán (Costa Rica 1983–86), 4/3/21

    Gina Clapp (US), 3/12/21

    James “Jim” Warren Gould (Malaysia 1965–66), 3/13/21

    Weston Wakefield Ware (Panama 1966), 4/6/21

    Hilary Evans Whittaker (India, Togo, Sierra Leone, Mali, and United States), 1/10/21

    Ronald Gene Wilson (Thailand), 3/23/21

     

    MULTIPLE COUNTRIES

    Michael J. Reidy (Somalia; Saint Vincent 1969–71), 3/31/21

     

    BOLIVIA

    Margaret Ong (1966–68), 3/29/21

    Wanda Echevarria Rosen (1966–69), 3/22/21

     

    BRAZIL

    Larry Gluckman (1974–75), 3/30/21

    Glenda Moyer Milner (1965–67), 3/25/21

    Carolyn Marie Murray Lundberg (1970–72), 3/20/21

    Ann Raquel Nunez (1964–66), 2/12/21

     

    CAMEROON

    Edward Greene (1962–64), 3/27/21

     

    CHAD

    Sandra Walters (1967–69), 2/3/21

     

    CHILE

    Diane Zinke Loomis (1966), 3/26/21

     

    COLOMBIA

    Alison Butterfield (1965–66), 3/15/21

    Robert Koehler (1963–65), 3/29/21

     

    COSTA RICA

    Ellen Smith (1966–67), 3/27/21

     

    ECUADOR

    Richard Farinato (1968–69), 3/13/21

    Vera A. Preston-Jaeger (1962–64), 3/29/21

     

    EL SALVADOR

    Richard Haines (1976–77), 3/25/21

     

    FIJI

    Beverly Lyon Clark (1971–74), 3/18/21

     

    GRENADA

    June Clark (1990–92), 3/20/21

     

    HONDURAS

    Michael Allen McKinney (1967–69), 3/11/21

     

    INDIA

    Richard “Dick” McWilliams (1966–69), 3/24/21

    George Albert Nepert (1966–69), 3/21/21

    Donald H. Niederkorn (1970–71), 4/10/21

    Robert Carl “Bob” Parta (1965-67), 3/6/21

    James W. Vink (1966–68), 3/17/21

     

    IRAN

    Andrea Getze (1965–67), 3/29/21

    James H. Grant (1964–66), 4/1/21

     

    JAMAICA

    Suzanne Strom Wotring (1986–88), 3/28/21

     

    KENYA

    David Zarembka (1966–68), 4/1/21

     

    LIBERIA

    Amos Isaac, Ph.D. (1962–64), 1/20/21

    Ryan A. McLaughlin (2011–14), 4/3/21

     

    MALI

    James Wyndham Evans (1993–95), 4/1/21

     

    MALAYSIA

    Josephine Ann Wise Travis (1971–73), 4/4/21

     

    MICRONESIA

    Robert “Bob” Ren Harrison (1972–74), 3/15/21

     

    NIGER

    Judy Irola (1966–68), 2/21/21

     

    NIGERIA

    George “Pete” T. Eaton (1961–63), 3/18/21

    Larry B. Myott (1964–66), 3/18/21

    Mary E. Smith (1963–66), 3/23/21

    Robert M. Veatch, Ph.D. (1962–64), 11/9/20

     

    POLAND

    Oliver Arthur Chilson (1999–2001), 3/16/21

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Norma Gilman (1965–67), 3/29/21

    Curtis Malmberg (1972–73), 3/23/21

    Phillip B. Olsen (1962–64), 3/18/21

     

    RUSSIA

    Michel A. Straub (1992–94), 4/3/21

     

    SAINT LUCIA

    Martha A. Thrasher (1991–93), 3/30/21

     

    SENEGAL 

    Erica Cummings (2005–07), 3/27/21

     

    SOMALIA

    Franklyn J. Dunne (1968–69), 4/7/21

     

    SOUTH KOREA

    Korrinne K. Kanne (1967–69), 3/25/21

    Susan L. Proctor (1980–81), 4/4/21

     

    THAILAND

    Carl Richard Fassler (1965–68), 3/15/21

     

    TOGO

    Aaron Barlow, Ph.D. (1988–90), 1/11/21

     

    VENEZUELA

    Robert N. Munson (1964–66), 3/11/21

     

    YEMEN

    John P. DiBenedetto (1988–90), 3/21/21

     


     

    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
    Remembering those who recently died and honoring their Peace Corps service. 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 Jonathan Pearson

     

    Our tributes include recognition of Peace Corps’ first Country Director in Pakistan, who was also an international lawyer. A nationally known archeologist and forensic researcher. An international business degree recipient who helped bring greetings and joy to countless people around the world.

    We honor the wide range of contributions made by members of the Peace Corps community who recently passed away and commemorate their hard work and dedication to service throughout their careers. 

     

    F. Kingston “King” Berlew (1930–2021) was a graduate of Wesleyan University and Harvard Law School, where he was an editor for the Harvard Law Review. Following a tour of duty in the U.S. Army, Berlew clerked at the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts and later became an associate at the law firm of Ropes and Gray in Boston. Sixty years ago, when the Peace Corps was launched, Berlew responded to the call. He served as the first Country Director in Pakistan and then served as an associate director in Washington under Sargent Shriver. In 1966, he returned to the private sector, where he worked in international business and continued his practice of law. He founded and was the first President of the World Law Group in 1988. Today, the group is a coordinated network of 21,000 lawyers representing law firms in 89 nations. For more than 30 years, Berlew served on numerous boards and commissions, including serving as a trustee at Wesleyan University, chairman of the International Bar Association Subcommittee on Biotechnology, director and president of the French American Chamber of Commerce of New England, and director of the Japan Society of Boston.

     

    Paul Johnson (1941–2021) left the Illinois Institute of Aviation to join one of the early Peace Corps groups, serving in Ghana from 1962 to 1964. Upon his return, he made a switch in his career path, entering the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and earning a master’s degree in forestry. He joined the U.S. Forest Service, but left as he returned to Ghana. He was joined by his wife Pat, and both taught at Ghana’s School of Forestry. After returning to the United States, Johnson and his family moved to Iowa. He was elected to the Iowa State House of Representatives three times in the late 1980s and early 1990s, where he championed legislation advancing conservation and sustainable agriculture. In 1994, President Clinton brought Johnson to Washington to run the U.S. Soil Conservation Service. He would return to direct the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. He retired in 2004 following an unsuccessful run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

     

    David E. Bailey (1943–2021) graduated from the University of Denver in 1966 with a degree in business and education. After marrying his first wife, Julie Norton, the couple joined the Peace Corps, serving two years in Costa Rica. Following service, David embarked on a career in banking, eventually becoming President of Northwest Bank and serving as President of Wells Fargo Colorado/Wyoming until his retirement in 2002. He served on numerous boards and commissions. He was Chair of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Alumni President at the University of Denver. He also served on the boards of the Colorado Symphony, St. Joseph Hospital Foundation, Denver Art Museum, and the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry. Just before retirement, Bailey was honored in a number of ways for his community service. That was especially the case in 2000. The University of Denver named him as the recipient of its Evans Award. That year he also was named the Banking and Financial Executive of the year by the Denver Business Journal. He also received the Denver Chamber Award in 2000 honoring his dedicated work to support small business. That award has now been renamed the David E. Bailey Small Business Award.

     

    Susan Corcoran Pigg (1958–2021) graduated with a bachelor of science in biology from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. As a researcher for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pigg coauthored numerous articles for medical journals. Her Peace Corps service came four years later, with an assignment in 1984 as a volunteer in Paraguay. She returned to Pennsylvania following service, working at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. She then enrolled at Michigan State University, earning her M.S. in resource development, with a focus on community and economic development, and natural resource management. Pigg was hired by the Michigan Department of Transportation, where she first served as director of community development and housing for Eaton County. She would continue in other roles, including director of economic development for Delta Township, and executive director of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. At various times in her career, she served as president, treasurer and head of the Education Committee for the Michigan Economic Development Association. A dedicated volunteer, she served in various community service roles supporting her local high school, church and hospital.

     

    Cliff Boyd (1952–2021) was a nationally known archeologist, forensic researcher, and one of the longest tenured professors at Radford University. He was also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in the 1970s in Colombia. For more than 35 years, Cliff taught in the school’s Department of Anthropological Sciences, winning various awards and authoring three books and over 300 publications on eastern U.S. archaeology. For many of those years, he worked side-by-side with his wife, anthropologist Donna Boyd. Cliff won several awards such as the Professional Archeologist of the Year award from the Archeological Society of Virginia, the Foundation Award for Creative Scholarship from Radford University, the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education of Virginia, and the Ellis R. Kerley Foundation Outstanding Research Award from the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Cliff assisted in hundreds of forensic death investigations in Virginia, and trained thousands of law enforcement agents on proper search, excavation, and recovery of remains from covert graves with the Virginia Forensic Science Academy.

     

    Jody (Moser) May (1972–2021) attended the University of Wisconsin–LaCrosse, earning a degree in Business and Spanish. Soon after graduation, May joined the Peace Corps, serving two years in El Salvador. She returned to Wisconsin following her service, attending the University of Wisconsin–Madison, receiving the coveted Nielson Scholarship, and earning a graduate degree in International Business. She moved to Kansas City, where she worked for Hallmark Cards in its Spanish language cards division. Despite her longstanding battle with Huntington’s Disease, May was an avid runner. She completed a marathon in 2012 during the early stages of her disease. She regularly participated in the annual HDSA 5K fundraiser in Kansas City and the annual Re-Prom in Madison. She volunteered as a parent helper at her son’s school. She was an active member of the Grace Episcopal Church.

     

    PEACE CORPS STAFF

    F. Kingston Berlew (1961–66), 2/21/21

    Allen W. Rothenberg  (Philippines/US 1966–71), 3/11/21

     

    MULTIPLE COUNTRIES

    David C. (Nee: VanVleck) Lightwine (Colombia 1963–65; Nicaragua staff 1970–72), 1/16/21

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    Michael Rieger (1971–74), 2/23/21

     

    BOLIVIA

    Patricia Hargadon (1962–64), 2/11/21

     

    BOTSWANA

    Robert C. Rokos Jr. (1972–74), 2/25/21

     

    BRAZIL

    William F. Robinson (1968–71), 3/6/21

     

    CHILE

    John P. Dooley (1967–69), 2/28/21

    William Fallon (1964–66), 2/18/21

    Eugene Fioravanti, 3/1/21

    Chris Weedy (1978–81), 3/10/21

     

    COLOMBIA

    Cliff Boyd, posted 3/12/21

    William Rodgers (staff 1963–66), 2/20/21

    Albert Lavenson Wahrhaftig (1961–63), 1/15/21

     

    COSTA RICA

    David E. Bailey (1966–68), 2/26/21

    Robert C. Simons (1976–78), posted 3/10/21

     

    ECUADOR

    William John Heurich (1963–65), 2/22/21

     

    EL SALVADOR

    Jody (Moser) May (1995–97), 2/17/21

     

    ESWATINI

    Eliot Luhlanga (staff 2003–19), posted 3/21

     

    ETHIOPIA

    Sally Bushong Davidson (1964–66), 3/2/21

     

    FIJI

    Page Hutchinson (1977–80), 2/2/21

    Richard M. "Rick" Schlauder Jr. (1979–81), 3/2/21

     

    GHANA

    Paul Johnson (1962–64), 2/15/21

     

    GUATEMALA

    Gail Marie (Olsen) Harder (1979), 2/28/21

     

    KENYA

    Richard Otis (1967–69), 2/28/21

     

    LIBERIA

    Shirley Hinnant Bell (1963–65), 3/11/21

     

    MALAWI

    Glade William Roberts (1988–90), 2/17/21

     

    MALAYSIA

    Nancy Kleppe (1965), 2/19/21

     

    MOROCCO

    Amy Harrington (1989–91), 3/3/21

     

    NEPAL

    C. Michael Farmer (1963–65), 2/26/21

     

    NIGERIA

    John Egan (1965–67), 2/20/21

    Robert Hanson Graham (1963–65), 2/21/21

    David Radmore (1962–64), 1/18/21

     

    PANAMA

    Dr. John Dennis Baker M.D. (medical staff 1967–69), 1/26/21

    Janet Lucile Donohew (1962–64), 2/23/21

     

    PARAGUAY

    Susan Corcoran Pigg (1985–88), 2/21/21

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Farrar Atkinson (1962–64), 1/15/21

    Zena Michelle Lyons (formerly Margaret "Peggy" Ponton) (1982–83), 2/25/21

    Judy Rae Brooks McGinn (1967–69), 3/8/21

    Francis Charles "Frank" Murphy (1966–68), 1/21/21

    John Langdon Timmons (1968–70), 2/16/21

     

    SIERRA LEONE

    Thomas Brooks (1962–64), 3/9/21

    David Pilkington (1985–87), 2/7/21

    Nancy Jo Shelker (1972–74), 2/7/21

    John Tuck (1990–92), 2/18/21

     

    SURINAME

    William H. Mauk Jr. (2010–12), 1/22/21

     

    THAILAND

    Norman Edwin Fite (1969–72), 2/22/21

    Gerald Hendin (1966–68), 2/13/21

    Robert Stephens (1965–67), 2/23/21

     

    TOGO

    Andrew J. Franklin (1977–79), 3/9/21

     

    TUNISIA

    Thomas George Bast (1965–67), 2/11/21

     

    UKRAINE

    Thomas Easthope (1996–98), 2/26/21

    Daniel Wayne Hayden (2012–14), 2/27/21

     

    UZBEKISTAN

    Aja D. Kniep Pelster Ph.D. MPH (2004–05), 3/11/21

     

    COUNTRY OF SERVICE NOT SPECIFIED

    Jimmy H. Carpenter, 3/13/21

    Mary Driskell, 3/3/21

    Mildred R. Greisamer, 2/20/21

    Benay Joy Rosenthal (Africa), 3/4/21

    Virginia Marie Wessing, 2/25/21

     


     

    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 Peace Corps community members who served our nation with honor and distinction. 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 Jonathan Pearson

     

    Our tributes include recognition of a lifetime legal servant from western Wisconsin who established the first victim-witness protection program, a groundbreaking leader at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and an education leader in Southern California.

     

    Roger William LeGrand Jr. (1946 – 2021) devoted his lifetime to service beginning with his time studying to be a Catholic priest in the Servite Order at Our Lady of Benburb Priory in Northern Ireland. After graduating from St. Louis University, LeGrand served domestically as a VISTA volunteer, working with migrant workers in central Florida. Soon after, in 1969, he joined the Peace Corps, where he was assigned to train English teachers in southern India. Following Peace Corps, LeGrand enrolled at the University of Wisconsin Law School. He was president of the student bar association and received the Salmon Dahlberg Award as the outstanding graduate in the class of 1975. He began a law practice in La Crosse, taught business law at two schools, and was a member of the La Crosse City Council from 1979 to 1983. Soon after, he became a member of the school board. LeGrand became district attorney for La Crosse County. During his tenure he established his first victim-witness program and founded the La Crosse Domestic Violence Task Force. At the end of his career, he served as the Family Court Commissioner and was appointed as a Circuit Court Judge. In retirement, LeGrand served on many boards and commissions including the La Crosse Community Foundation, the La Crosse Public School Foundation, and the local Rotary Club.

     

    Rebecca “Becky” S. Rootes (1951 – 2021) served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines and also served our nation for nearly three decades in various positions with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A graduate of Southampton College, Rotes earned her master’s degree in public administration while serving as a marine extension agent with the Texas A&M Marine Advisory Service. In 1983, she was awarded a Grant Knauss Fellowship, beginning her NOAA career as a legislative fellow, serving as a staff member of the former Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee within the House of Representatives. Early in her career, she helped establish the Women’s Aquatic Network, which brings together professionals with interests in marine, coastal, and aquatic affairs and promotes the roles of women in these fields. Rootes represented NOAA as a delegate to the International Whaling Commission and International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna. After retiring nearly ten years ago, she relocated to Onancock, Virginia. She became an accomplished artist and was active with the Eastern Shore Art League, the Historic Onancock School, and the Historical Society of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

     

    Dr. Amos Isaac (1934 – 2021) began his personal relationship with East and West Africa when he and his wife, Lorraine, served as Peace Corps Volunteers in the early 1960s. That served as the first of many sojourns to the continent to advance educational opportunities. After moving as a child to San Bernardino, California, Dr. Isaac would become a noted educator and community leader in the state’s Inland Empire region. He earned a master’s degree from the University of Redlands and a Ph.D. in education from Claremont Graduate School. Dr. Isaac became the second Black person to teach in the Redlands Unified School District. Over his long career in education, Dr. Isaac served as a teacher, administrator, and educational consultant. He also was a longtime member of Concerned Citizens, a coalition of political and educational leaders, and community service organizations dedicated to improving the quality of education for all in the Redlands Unified School District.

     

    Marcia Karen Lang (1941 – 2021) was an early Peace Corps Volunteer, assigned to Guatemala in 1963. A graduate of Miami University in Ohio, she earned a master’s degree in social work from Fresno State University.  Lang traveled the world with her husband, living and working in Colombia, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Honduras, Indonesia, Russia, Egypt, and Guatemala. She was a consultant for CARE and other international development organizations during her time in Guatemala, Indonesia, and Russia. Upon her return to the United States, she settled in Sarasota, Florida, and was active with the local Returned Peace Corps Volunteer group, the Democratic Party, and the local Episcopal Church.

     

    Thomas P. Kelly Jr. (1943 – 2021) traveled through Europe during the years of his studies at Whitman College in southeast Washington. Upon graduation in 1966 with a degree in fine art, Kelly married his first wife, Marilyn. Together, they joined the Peace Corps, volunteering for three years in Tanzania and Uganda. Returning to the United States, they settled in Eugene, Oregon, where Tom opened a graphic design business. In 1986, he joined the advertising agency Cappelli Miles Wiltz, becoming senior art director and part owner. For more than 20 years he donated his design services to nonprofit organizations in the local community.

      

    MULTIPLE COUNTRIES

    Joseph Albert Doucet (Nigeria 1965–66; Tanzania 1968–69), 1/22/21

    Dr. Arthur John Eisenhower (Afghanistan/El Salvador 1973–76), 2/3/21

    Thomas P. Kelly Jr. (Tanzania/Uganda 1966–69), 1/14/21

    Louis D. “Mike” Michel III (East Timor/Bulgaria 2000–03), 

     

    AFGHANISTAN

    Shelton Pitney III (1970–73), 1/26/21

     

    BRAZIL

    Dr. Rebecca L. Cassell (1960s), 1/31/21

     

    COLOMBIA

    Paul Bankerd (1967–68), 1/14/21

     

    ECUADOR

    Polly Bednar, 2/8/21

    J. Edward Johnston (early 1960s), 1/13/21

    Judith L. Thrasher (1966–68), 2/3/21

     

    EL SALVADOR

    John Raymond Bellenoit (1970–71), 2/11/21

    Anne Gabele (1971–73), 1/25/21

     

    FIJI

    Richard Beman, 1/13/21

     

    GUATEMALA

    Marcia Karen Lang (1963–65), 1/24/21

     

    INDIA

    Roger William LeGrande Jr. (1969–71), 2/8/21

    John Alden Metcalfe (1962–64), 1/26/21

     

    IRAN

    Mary J. (Wertz) Fiscus (1967–69), 2/10/21

     

    JAMAICA

    Mike John Curry (1972–74), 1/21/21

     

    KENYA

    Carl V. M. Benander (1998–2000), 1/23/21

    Dennis Lohr (1970–72), 12/2020

     

    KIRIBATI

    Mary Jane (Hughes) Crowther, 1/21/21

     

    LIBERIA

    The Most Rev. Dr. Lorraine Bouffard (1963–65), 1/31/21

    Wendy L. Murray (1970's), 12/26/20

     

    LIBYA

    Eleanor Stuart Blue (late 1960's), 1/27/21

     

    MALAYSIA

    Sowchan Vandenakker (staff), 1/22/21

     

    NEPAL

    Robert L. Gilbert Jr. (1972–74), 2/8/21

    Joyce E. Merritt, 1/17/21

     

    NICARAGUA

    Michele Wilkie (1971–73), 1/17/21

     

    NIGERIA

    James Proctor Brown III (1962–64), 1/4/21

     

    PAPUA NEW GUINEA

    Evelyn Agnes Murrill, 2/1/21

     

    PARAGUAY

    Francis B. “Frank” O'Hara (Country Director 1979–84), 12/17/20

     

    THE PHILIPPINES

    George Dennis Drake (1982-84), 1/20/21

    Kenneth Ross Ingle (1965–67), posted 1/27/21

    Richard K. Putt (1970–72), 1/24/21

    Rebecca S. “Becky” Rootes, 2/5/21

      

    SAMOA

    Julie Myers (1983–85), 1/29/21

     

    SENEGAL

    Jill Larsen, 5/27/20

     

    TANZANIA

    Enoch E. Evans, 1/7/21

    John Oliver, 12/31/20

     

    TONGA

    Paul Justus (1973–75), 1/20/21

     

    VENEZUELA

    Nancy Frances Tuft (1964–66)

     

    COUNTRY OF SERVICE NOT SPECIFIED

    Dr. Isaac Amos (Africa early 1960s), 1/21/21

    Edmond Dale “Ed” Johnson, 12/12/20

    Bruce McAtee, 2/11/21

    Vernell Johnson Tyler, 1/3/21

     


     

    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 honor and remember the contributions of those we’ve lost in the Peace Corps community. see more

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

     

    Count among those we have lost recently a man who was considered to be the greatest athlete in the world — a man whose athletic achievements in his youth were paired with a lifetime of humanitarian commitment. 

     

    Rafer Johnson (1934–2020) was the world’s greatest athlete, winning the gold medal in the decathlon and setting a new world record during the 1960 Summer Olympics. That was just one of the many awards and honors he received in his lifetime both inside and outside of sports. The Olympic gold marked Johnson’s retirement from competitive sports and catapulted him forward in the fight for racial and social justice. Johnson began his civil rights work assisting the NAACP and Urban League 60 years ago, taking part in initiatives to combat housing discrimination and voting rights. Inspired by President John F. Kennedy, Johnson worked with Peace Corps during the early days of its founding. On the heels of Olympic victory, he lent his prestige and renown to launch the Peace Corps. “I really believed that it wasn’t what my country could do for me,” he said years later. “It was what could I do for my country?” He also became extremely active in the Special Olympics led by Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Johnson was at the side of Senator Robert F. Kennedy on the night Kennedy was assassinated, and Johnson helped subdue the gunman. Overcome with grief, he was encouraged to channel his emotions by establishing a West Coast branch of the Special Olympics. He used his alma mater – UCLA – as his base of operations. UCLA has hosted more than 20 Special Olympics, most recently in 2015.

     

    Dr. Ronald Ausbrooks (1942–2020) attended D.C. Teacher’s College, Howard University, and the State University of New York at Buffalo, earning a master’s of social work. In 1972 Ausbrooks accepted a position in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service and became a U.S. Public Health Service Officer. He continued his education and went on to earn a master of science in public health administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a doctorate of education with a concentration in mental health administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Prior to his service in the Commissioned Corps, Ausbrooks was deeply involved in the civil rights movement, including being an active member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He was hired to work with both VISTA and Peace Corps. He was a founding member of Blacks in Government. Throughout his life he openly expressed his opposition to racial and economic injustice. In 2014 Ausbrooks was inducted into the Washington D.C. Hall of Fame with The Legacy Award in Health.

     

    Betty M. Palfy (1932–2020) was a teacher and lab technician before joining the Peace Corps in 1975. Her service as a health Volunteer in Niger marked the beginning of a 40-year career as a medical missionary, which included several years in Nepal with the Dooley Foundation, time in a Somalian refugee camp with Church World Service, and four years at the Hospital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti. Her medical service led her to eight additional countries around the world. It was not simply service abroad. Palfy’s trips and travels stateside led to time spent helping to resettle refugees at Jubilee Partners in Comer, Georgia; cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina; and teaching science for a year in Sitka, Alaska. Palfy’s deeply caring spirit is perhaps best defined by her 25-year commitment to the leprosy and tuberculosis patients she cared for in Liberia at the Ganta Leprosy and TB Clinic. Working alongside the Consolata Missionary Sisters, Palfy compassionately tended to the needs of many people whose lives had been affected by years of civil war, disease, and the stigma of leprosy.

     

    Irene Bristol Allen (1940–2020) taught biology as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines. She continued teaching high school biology when she returned to Brookline, Massachusetts. She combined her interests in art and computer science by working in computer graphics at Technical Education Research Centers (TERC) in Cambridge. With her husband, Tony Allen, she co-founded Barrington Books, which they operated for 22 years. Irene created abstract paintings to celebrate the color and energy she saw in nature. She regularly entered her work in regional exhibits, winning several awards. She was active in the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, serving on its board for many years. Irene was active in environmental causes, particularly with the Civic Alliance for a Cooler Rhode Island (CACRI). Her last art work was a collection of posters for the Livable RI Poster Campaign, an exhibit of environmentally-friendly activities that opened at the state Health Department and then traveled through the state.

     

    Benton “Ben” Leslie Moyer (1941–2020) joined Peace Corps shortly after graduating from Yale University in 1964. After serving as a Volunteer in Colombia, Ben went to Cornell Business School and then joined the international department of the Bank of Boston in 1969 with a first assignment to Australia for two years. That began a 17-year period in which he worked in five other countries. In 1993, following the leadership roles of his parents, he joined the Board of Copper Cannon, a summer camp in Franconia, New Hampshire for underserved young people in the state. In 1996 Ben joined Wainwright Investment Counsel where he worked for the next fifteen years. In 2002, he joined the Board of ProMujer International, a micro finance institution providing micro loans to women in Central and South America, and for two years served as CEO.

     

    PEACE CORPS STAFF

    Ronald Ausbrooks (1966–68), 10/13/20

    Rafer Johnson (1960s), 12/2/20

    Edward Scott Sr. (PC HQ Staff 1968–70; South Korea Country Director 1971–73), 11/25/20

     

    MULTIPLE COUNTRIES

    Phyllis A. Luff (Sierra Leone 1971–74; Armenia) 12/3/20

     

    BOLIVIA

    Robert Pruitt, 11/20/20

     

    CAMEROON

    Sharon Alister (1974-75), 12/3/20

    Hans Boerner (mid 1970s), 11/13/20

    Joseph Harris (staff 1964-66), 12/4/20

     

    CHILE

    Dr. Gary Bernard Wetterberg PhD (1967-69), 12/1/20

     

    COLOMBIA

    Donald G. Bellefeuille (1966–68), 11/29/20

    John Joseph Greven (1964–68), 11/22/20

    Thomas Lenovich, 11/22/20

    Benton BenLeslie Moyer (1965–67), 11/16/20

     

    ECUADOR

    Steven “Steve” Nelson Carter (1962–64), 12/1/20

    Richard W. Martyn (1973–75), 12/5/20

     

    ETHIOPIA

    E. Merritt Hulst (1968–70), 11/16/20

     

    FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA

    Norman Skarstad (1966–67), 12/12/20

     

    FIJI

    Renee Phillips Robbins (1971–73), 11/26/20

     

    GHANA

    Karen Fernstrom (1970–71), 12/2/20

     

    GUATEMALA

    Edwin “Ed” Samuel Clark (1988–90), 12/11/20

     

    HAITI

    Patricia Weis (1987), 11/13/20

     

    INDIA

    William “Bill” M. Howe, posted 11/26/20

     

    IRAN

    Ronald Edward Hofsess (1965–66), 12/3/20

     

    JAMAICA

    Grace Mary Riley (1988–90), 11/29/20

    Ann Wilson, 3/6/20

     

    KENYA

    William “Will” Maxfield Alexander (1979–81), 6/27/20

    Robert Glazer (1971–74), 11/22/20

     

    LESOTHO

    Michael “Mike” James Carney (1970s), 12/7/20

     

    MALAWI

    Deborah McCane, 6/7/20

     

    MALAYSIA

    Kathleen M. (Murray) Devanna (1962–65), 12/6/20

    Kevin Frederick Lind (late 1970s), 11/25/20

    Joan C. Poepoe (1964–66), 12/12/20

     

    MOROCCO

    Thomas Edsell (1974–76), 12/2/20

    Stephen Kurth (1963–65), 12/8/20

     

    NIGER

    Betty M. Palfy (1975–77), 12/7/20

     

    NIGERIA

    Hershel Zelig Herzberg (1961–63), 11/20/20

    Carol Rose Howes (1968–70), 12/10/20

     

    PAKISTAN

    Abeda Mohamed (staff), 12/3/20

     

    PERU

    Conway Olmstead (1960s), 12/11/20

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Irene Bristol Allen (1964–66), 12/2/20

    Marilyn Brown (1962–64), 11/20/20

    Carol A. Hong (1964–66), 11/17/20

    Mary McFate (1962–64), 11/24/20

    Shirley Arlene (Miller) Stevens (1985–87), 11/16/20

    William Van Noy Taylor (1960s), 11/28/20

     

    SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

    Janet Ruth LaGrave (late 1970s), 11/23/20

     

    SAMOA

    Marcia Louise Nenno (1975–77), 12/6/20

     

    SOLOMON ISLANDS

    Mary Theresa Merna (late 1970s), 12/12/20

     

    SOUTH KOREA

    John Edwin Boone, 12/3/20

     

    THAILAND

    M. Sue Henry (1963-65), 11/20/20

     

    TOGO

    Cynthia "Cyd" Coogan, 9/14/20

     

    TUNISIA

    Harvey A. Himberg (1968–70), 12/14/20

     

    COUNTRY OF SERVICE NOT SPECIFIED

    Steven Campbell (1970's), 12/10/20

    Gregory D. Maronick, 11/7/20

    Steven Poquette, 11/24/20

     


     

    If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, please reach out to us at obituary@peacecorpsconnect.orgThanks to NPCA intern Kaylee Jensen for assistance in preparing this post.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    We honor those members of our Peace Corps community whom we recently lost. see more

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

     

    Whether in law, government, social work, or the arts, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and former Peace Corps staff are leaders and visionaries in their selected fields. We honor those leaders who recently passed away.

     

    Drew Saunders Days III (1941-2020) graduated from Hamilton College with a degree in English Literature before receiving his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1966. A year after graduating law school, Days served in the Peace Corps in Honduras from 1967 to 1969. After serving, Days became a successful civil rights lawyer focusing on police misconduct, school desegregation, and employment discrimination. Additionally, he worked at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York City for eight years. He then joined the faculty at Yale Law School where he taught classes that focused on subjects including civil procedure, federal jurisdiction, Supreme Court practice, and many more. In addition to teaching, Days was the founding director of the Law School’s Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights, and wrote several books and articles regarding Supreme Court jurisprudence and civil rights. In 1977, Days was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as the first African American U.S. assistant attorney general for civil rights. He played a large role in advocating for upholding affirmative action in universities as litigated in the famous Supreme Court case Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. In 1993, he continued to demonstrate his lifelong commitment to social justice and the law when Bill Clinton nominated him to serve as solicitor general in the Department of Justice, where he argued a total of 26 cases before the Supreme Court. 

     

    In 1977, Drew S. Days III was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as the first African American U.S. assistant attorney general for civil rights.

     

    Hugh Jesse Arnelle (1933-2020) graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1955. He was the first Black student body president in the school’s history. An excellent athlete, Arnelle was drafted by both the NFL and NBA, and ultimately chose to pursue professional basketball. After retiring from the NBA, Arnelle served as an officer in the United States Air Force. He then earned an LLB from Dickinson School of Law before serving as a Peace Corps Director in Turkey for two years, and in India for one year. Once he returned to the United States, Arnelle practiced law at the San Francisco Federal Public Defender’s Office and eventually started a solo practice focused on criminal and civil law. He also spent 45 years on the Penn State Board of Trustees before participating as an active member on the boards of Waste Management, Gannett Company, the Metropolitan Life Series Fund, Eastman Chemical Company, Textron Corporation, Armstrong World Industries, and Florida Power & Light. Additionally, in 1969 he was elected to the PSU Board of Trustees, and served as the president from 1994 through 1996. He also co-founded the Penn State Renaissance Fund, which works to increase and support minority students at the university. 

     

    An excellent athlete, Hugh Jesse Arnelle was drafted by both the NFL and NBA, and ultimately chose to pursue professional basketball.


    Genevieve Rafferty (1922–2020) earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Ambrose College, where she co-organized the creation of the Iowa-Illinois Information and Referral Service. She managed this program up until her retirement in 1992, making sure every student was provided with the resources that they needed. Rafferty was a member of Junior Board Rock Island and Project Now, which participated in outreach efforts for issues such as housing, senior services, and child services within the community. She also held board positions at the Just For Kids Daycare and Directors for Transitions – Mental Health. Rafferty was named Social Worker of the Year by the Association of Social Workers before joining the Peace Corps in 1992, volunteering within cities along the ancient “Silk Road” in Uzbekistan. Upon her return to the United States, Rafferty continued to prove her dedication to civic engagement when she received the Civic Service Award as well as the Keys of the city of Rock Island Illinois. Additionally, she was recognized in “Who’s Who of American Women” and “Who’s Who in the Midwest.” In 2003, Genevieve received The Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service, where an awards ceremony was held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

     

    Jack Roderick (1926–2020) received his education from Yale, Harvard, and the University of Washington. Before he became the regional director of the Peace Corps in India, Roderick worked as a truck driver in Anchorage, spent some time in the oil exploration business, and practiced law. Five years after his service in the Peace Corps, he became mayor of the Greater Anchorage Area Borough from 1972 to 1975. As a mayor in Alaska, Roderick took pride in advocating for environmental preservation of parks and the establishment of trail systems such as the Campbell Creek trail, community councils, and the People Mover public bus system. Additionally, he had a passion for getting others in the community involved in civic engagement and local government. Roderick himself held a few positions in state government, before teaching at local universities and publishing a memoir about witnessing the downfalls of Alaska’s oil economy, titled “Crude Dreams: A Personal History of Oil & Politics in Alaska.”

     

    Stacy Elko served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco between 1988 and 1992. In 2005 she joined the faculty of the Texas Tech University (TTU) School of Art. In addition to teaching and mentoring students in printmaking, drawing, and video/transmedia, she also served as MFA Coordinator and engaged in research with collaborators from across the nation. A multi-dimensional artist, Elko’s work stretched beyond printmaking to embrace time-based media, music, and performance art, as well as interactive environments that were epitomized in her sculptural airships, “Flying Machines.” Elko took special pride in her work with an interdisciplinary research team to create a tablet-based application that would enable persons with aphasia — a language and cognition disorder that frequently appears after a stroke — to communicate with healthcare providers and other clinicians. This application, known as the Visual Interactive Narrative Intervention, or VINI, united Elko’s three great passions: her love of the digital interface and its gaming aspects, her extensive artistic background and talent, and her belief that the arts as a whole have meaningful and useful contributions to make through interdisciplinary collaborations that improve lives and quality of life. Her pathbreaking work on this project was a critical component in the college’s award of its first major federal grant, a National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab. The TTU School of Art plans to establish a scholarship in Stacy Elko’s memory.

     

     

    PEACE CORPS STAFF

    Hugh Jesse Arnelle (Country Director Turkey, India 1960s), 10/21/20

    Sharon Sue Hale (1960s), 10/24/20

     

    MULTIPLE COUNTRIES

    Ronald Wayne Bengston (Ecuador 1993-95; Honduras 1999-2001)

    Margaret O'Brien Donohoe (Ethiopia staff 1962-64; Somalia staff 1966-68)

     

    BELIZE

    Robert Earl “Bob” Evans (late 1970s), 10/19/20

     

    BRAZIL

    Maxwell Creighton (1968-70), 11/7/20

    Sylvan ”Gene“ Prell (1963-65), 10/24/20

     

    CHILE

    Therese “Tess” Pawelecki Carolan (1966-68), 10/22/20

     

    COLOMBIA

    David Goodrich Gabel (late 1960s), 10/18/20

     

    COSTA RICA

    Kenneth James Freebury (staff 1966-68), 10/31/20

     

    ECUADOR

    Philipp A. Auer, 10/15/20

    Greg Radinovich (1993-94), 10/22/20

     

    FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA

    William H. Hielscher (late 1960s/early 1970s), 10/18/20

     

    FIJI

    Donald Hemenover (1972-74), 11/15/20

     

    GUATEMALA

    Martina McCormack, 11/6/20

     

    HONDURAS

    Drew S. Days III (1967-69), 11/15/20

     

    KENYA

    Kathleen Anne Rick (early 1970s), 10/16/20

     

    LESOTHO

    Ruth W. Johnson, 11/12/20

     

    LIBERIA

    Harold Hersch (1965-67), 11/9/20

     

    MALAWI

    Ronnie E. Alff (1962-64), 11/2/20

     

    MOROCCO

    Stacy Elko (1988-92), 8/26/20

     

    NEPAL

    Purita Molina Dayawon, 11/12/20

     

    PERU

    Joan Carter (1962-64), 11/10/20

     

    PHILIPPINES

    Helen R. Cooper (1980-82), posted 11/11/20

     

    ROMANIA

    V. Edward Bates, 10/10/20

    Michael James Belsom (1997), 10/29/20

     

    SAINT VINCENT

    Wayne A. Aprill (1980-82), posted 11/6/20

    Frances English Moore (1991-93), 11/12/20

     

    SENEGAL

    Judith A. (Pierson) Beggs (1990's), 11/6/20

     

    THAILAND

    Robert Richard Charles (staff – early 1970s)

    Gary Steven Izo, 11/21/20

    Wilbur Taylor “Bill” Little III, 8/31/20

     

    TUNISIA

    Bruce James Abbey (1966-69), 10/26/20

     

    TURKEY

    Richard K. “Rick” Beebe Jr. (1967-69), 10/23/20

     

    UGANDA

    Barbara Anne Morin (1969-72), 11/11/20

     

    UKRAINE

    Eileen M. Kelly (2012-14), 11/1/20

     

    UZBEKISTAN

    Genevieve Rafferty (1992-94), 11/13/20

     

    VENEZUELA

    Roger A. Ackerman (1962-64), 10/17/20

     

    COUNTRY OF SERVICE NOT SPECIFIED

    Lyle Wayne Graf, 10/17/20

    Mary A. Korneman (early 1970s), 11/1/20

    Bruce F. Lawhead, 11/12/20

    Gordon Authur “Pete” Maue (1962-63), 11/13/20

    Jean E. Rainey, 10/30/20

     


     

    If you have information you would like to share for our monthly In Memoriam post, contact obituary@peacecorpsconnect.orgThanks to NPCA intern Kaylee Jensen for assistance in preparing this post.

  • Steven Saum posted an article
    He fought for racial equality and served as Solicitor General of the United States see more

    He also served as Solicitor General of the United States. He was a man of principle and devoted much of his life’s work to racial equality.

    By Steven Boyd Saum

    Photo courtesy Yale University Law School

     

    The Peace Corps community mourns the loss of a pioneer for our nation: Drew S. Days III, the first African American to lead the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice — and the first Black man to lead any division at Justice. He was appointed in 1977 under President Jimmy Carter. Later, under President Bill Clinton he also served as Solicitor General of the United States — a position often referred to as the “tenth justice” of the Supreme Court. 

    He was gentle and courageous and kind and a man of principle. So much of his career was committed to striving for racial equality. He was born in Atlanta in 1941 and grew up in Tampa, Florida — and at the age of 30 won a lawsuit that desegregated the schools where he was educated. He studied English literature at Hamilton College and law at Yale.

    He sang — and it was at Yale Russian Chorus rehearsals that he met Ann Langdon. They wed and joined the Peace Corps and served in Honduras 1967–69 and were married for 54 years.

    After Peace Corps service, Drew Days worked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Education Fund in New York City. Tapped for his role with the justice department, he tackled racism in blatant forms in school districts and sought to ensure more effective discipline for police who abused their authority.

    He joined the faculty of Yale Law School in 1981 and took a leave of absence to serve as solicitor general of the United States. He argued 17 cases before the Supreme Court and supervised nearly 200 more. He was founding director of the Orville Schell Jr. Center for International Human Rights Law at Yale. 

    He died Sunday, Nov. 15 at the age of 79. Our hearts go out to Ann, their children, and the family who meant so much to Drew.

    You can begin to understand more of the scope of what Drew Days did in the stories by Yale University Law School, the  New York Times, and the Washington Post chronicling his remarkable life and work.