In Memoriam

Recent Tributes

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Susan Collins Russell

Susan Collins Russell, age 86, a resident of Washington, DC, died on February 2, 2024, at Georgetown University Hospital. The cause of death was a hemorrhagic stroke resulting from a fall. Born on April 24, 1937, she was the daughter of Joseph Kinney Collins and Grace Mullowney Collins. She spent her childhood and young adult years in Boston, Massachusetts. She attended Newton College of the Sacred Heart, graduating in 1959.

She met her husband, Ron, while teaching elementary school students in the Boston area. Upon marriage she joined Ron in Sabah, Malaysia, where he had moved to work for the Ford Foundation. They started a family in Malaysia, and their life of travel continued when Ron joined the U.S. Agency for International Development. During his career with USAID, he was posted to Argentina, Bolivia, and Panama. She was active all these years in the communities where they lived, while simultaneously running a household.

As her children grew older, she returned to teaching. Following a permanent move back to Washington, she worked at the Department of State, processing freedom of information requests. In retirement she and Ron travelled widely, including to Australia, Thailand, France, and Mexico.

She is survived by her sons Thomas, Andrew and Michael and by her grandchildren Sarah, Aaron, Michael and Melanie. Her husband, Ron, died in 2020. A private memorial service will be held at a later date.

Published by The Washington Post on Jun. 16, 2024.

Sarah Evelyn Wright

Sarah Evelyn Wright, retired education specialist with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), died January 28, 2024, in Chicago, Illinois, at the age of 75. Ms. Wright was born December 9, 1948, in Marianna, Arkansas. She received a bachelor’s degree in 1974 and a master’s degree in multicultural and bilingual education in 1976 from California State University, Hayward. She joined the Peace Corps in 1982, serving in Gabarone, after which she worked for the Botswana Council of Women. Upon returning stateside, she attended Columbia University Teacher’s College and received a master’s and doctorate in education in 1988. After a brief stint working for the Anti-Defamation League in New York City, she joined the School of Education faculty at California State University, Fresno, in 1989. She joined USAID in 1991. Ms. Wright served as a regional education officer in Guatemala City (1995-1998), Lilongwe (1998-2002), Islamabad (2002-2005), Nairobi (2005- 2009), and Washington, D.C. She retired from USAID in 2011. In retirement, Ms. Wright settled in Chicago. She was an active member of the University of Chicago Service League, a parishioner and volunteer of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, and a regular book club member. Ms. Wright is survived by her sisters Samella Johnson and Dorothy Lazard, and a brother, Al-Pierre El. DA

From DACOR, June 2024

David Henry Mandel

David Henry Mandel, retired Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), died January 24, 2024, in Tucson, Arizona, at the age of 82. Mr. Mandel was born April 29, 1941, in Brooklyn, New York. He joined USAID in 1965. In a 35-year career, Mr. Mandel served in Nepal, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Colombia, Lebanon, Oman, Côte d’Ivoire, Botswana, and Uzbekistan. He retired in 1998. In retirement, Mr. Mandel volunteered with the Arizona attorney general’s office, Tucson Botanical Gardens, and as a U.S. Forest service patrol member. Mr. Mandel is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Jill; their children Jennifer, Elizabeth, Douglas, and Duncan; and 5 grandchildren.

From DACOR, June 2024

Elizabeth Schoenecker

November 9, 1945 – May 1, 2024

On May 1, 2024, Elizabeth Schoenecker peacefully passed away at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore with her husband, Lee, and two sons, Steven and John, at her side. She also had five grandchildren.

Elizabeth, or “Liz,” Schoenecker was born November 9, 1945, and raised in Neenah, Wisconsin. She has an undergraduate major in economics from Marquette University and a graduate degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.  From 1966 to 1974 she worked as a housing economist with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development. When her husband went to the State of Wisconsin on a federal employee exchange program, she was very active in the Madison League of Women Voters, including programs on the future of the Presidency.

In her return to Washington, she became heavily involved in an effort to secure one voting Congressman and two United States Senators for the District of Columbia under Article V of the Constitution. It passed the U.S. Congress but failed to get the required three-fourths approval from the 50 states. During most of the 1980s she was involved in numerous civic affairs, including serving as President of the Lafayette Elementary School Home and School Association in northwest Washington, DC.

In the late 1980s she went to work for the U.S Agency for International Development (AID), focusing on family planning in developing countries. In that job, she served as a Division Chief for Policy, Evaluation, and Communication until retirement in 2012. In her 2012 retirement, she received the AID Administrators Distinguished Careers Service Award. In retirement she was appointed to the Board of the Population Reference Bureau, including serving as its Chair for two years.

A reception will be held at Joseph Gawler’s Sons Funeral Home, 5130 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20016 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM on Monday, June 3. The funeral Mass will be held at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, in Georgetown, 3513 N Street NW Washington, DC 20007, starting at 10:30 AM on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

Dignity Memorial

Susan Chuwa Easley

Susan

It is with great sadness to share that our dear colleague, Susan C. Easley, passed away unexpectedly in Washington, D.C., on May 13, 2024.  Susan, a career Foreign Service Officer, was in the United States following her assignment in the USAID/Sudan Mission as the Supervisory Executive Officer, and was on her way to serve in a critically important role in South Sudan. Susan leaves behind her two sons whom she absolutely adored and admired, Devin and Gavin Easley, and mother, Mary Kintu. Our deepest sympathies are with them and all of her family and friends during this devastating time.

For more than 37 years, Susan dedicated her life to service, including 22 years in the U.S. Army as a Commissioned Officer. During that time, she worked on DoD-sponsored HIV/AIDS programs in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. She joined USAID in 2009 as an Executive Officer and served overseas in Ghana/West Africa, Afghanistan, Uganda, South Sudan, Haiti, and Sudan. While in Washington, D.C. beginning in 2018, she was the Acting Division Chief for the Overseas Management and Travel and Transportation Divisions supporting Executive Officers in the field and travel customers around the globe. USAID benefited greatly from her enduring commitment to public service and the steady leadership she demonstrated throughout, particularly in times of crisis.

Susan was a trusted colleague and friend to many and she was clearly proud of her two sons, Gavin and Devin. In conversations with her colleagues during trips to the field or over a meal, she always lit up when speaking about them. As a mother, she spoke of how much she wanted to instill a sense of empowerment and proactivity in them, to not wait for others to solve problems. She was so proud of how they grew into adulthood – a testament to their characters and the relationships they cultivated.

Susan’s legacy will live on through the many USAID colleagues and friends who deeply admired her ability to keep the big picture in view while demonstrating unrelenting service to others. We extend our deepest sympathies to Susan’s family, friends, and community.

Susan is carried in the memories and hearts of all who knew her. You can reflect on and honor her memory by signing this virtual memorial book or the physical book that will be located in the lobby of the USAID Annex at 500 D Street starting on May 17, 2024.

Office of Origin: M/MS/OMD, Notice Category: General Personnel
Date of Announcement: May 16, 2024, Distribution: USAID/General Notice

Any questions concerning this notice may be directed to:

— Everton J. Palmer, M/MS/OMD, (202) 921-5024, evpalmer@usaid.gov

Marion Horace “Tex” Ford

Marion Horace Ford, known as “Pug” or “Tex” to his friends, passed away on Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Tyler, Texas. Tex, a valued member of the USAID Peru Alternative Development team, was always focused on helping the poor, the downcast, and the persecuted.

He was born in Paris, Texas, on March 28, 1935, to parents Morris Ford and Sallie Brown. He attended Paris High School, Paris Junior College, and East Texas State University, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences.

After college, Tex worked at the Department of Agriculture in Dallas. Then, he joined the inaugural class of Peace Corps volunteers the year it was created by President Kennedy, saying he might as well since everything he owned already fit in one suitcase. After his first two years overseas in the Dominican Republic, he went on to have a remarkable thirty-three-year career as a foreign service officer with USAID (the United States Agency for International Development), where he designed and implemented agricultural and development projects in Bolivia, Peru, Panama, Vietnam, Cameroon, Morocco, Haiti, and Sudan, before retiring in Cochabamba, Bolivia with his wife, Mariela, and their two daughters, Mariana and Melissa.

Tex’s life was a testament to dedication and service, and he is considered a legend by many for his transformative work in economic development and agricultural projects.

He is survived by his wife Mariela, two sons, Morris and Marion, two daughters, Mariana and Melissa, and oldest sister, Ann Ford.

Tex was preceded in death by his parents, his two brothers Jack and Billy, and his two sisters Delma and Myra.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 4th at 10:30am in Fry Gibbs Funeral Home, 730 Clarksville Street, Paris, Texas.

Obituary published on Legacy.com by Fry-Gibbs Funeral Home – Paris on Apr. 26, 2024.

I. Austin Heyman

On Monday, April 15, 2024, I. AUSTIN HEYMAN, of Bethesda, MD.  Son of the late Irving A. Heyman and Madeleine Strauss Heyman Sliosberg. Beloved husband of the late Barbara (LeVine) Heyman. Devoted father of Stephen M. (Susan Steinman) and David F. (Victoria White) Heyman. Dedicated grandfather of Madeline, Henry and Miles Heyman. Dear brother of the late Marilyn Heilprin. Austin was born in 1931 in New York, NY. He graduated from Harvard College, Harvard Law School, earned a Certificate from the Academy of International Law at the Hague, and a Master’s Degree in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). After law school, he served in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Ft. Sheridan outside Chicago, IL, where he met his future wife, Barbara He returned to New York City to practice law before moving with Barbara to Washington, DC to join the U.S. government as part of President Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress. He served as the U.S. representative in Paris for the U.S. Agency for International Development on the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD). After 25 years of federal service, and at a time when his volunteer life and civic engagement in his local community advocating for and bringing younger and older people together became his calling, he founded Interages and served as its first Executive Director until 1997.

His community service included serving as the first Chair of the Montgomery County Commission on Children and Youth, President of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, member of the Maryland Task Force on Guidance and Counseling, and founding board member and Vice-Chair of the Volunteer Partnership Montgomery. He initiated and chaired the Montgomery County Vital Living Steering Committee and twice served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging. He also served as moderator for two county cable television programs—’Seniors Today’ and ‘Montgomery Citizens Agenda.’ For his more than 50 years of service to Marylanders of all ages, he was awarded the AARP Maryland Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned many other honors, including the Award for Distinguished Service to Public Education from the Montgomery County Board of Education and the Montgomery County Paths of Achievement Award and was inducted into the Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame in 2009.

Services will be held at Temple Sinai in Washington, DC on Sunday, April 21 at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the JCA Heyman Interages Center at the Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington, 12320 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD 20852. Arrangements entrusted to TORCHINSKY HEBREW FUNERAL HOME, 202-541-1001.

Mary Huntington

(No obituary yet)

Richard Elliot Benedick

Richard Elliot Benedick passed away on March 16, 2024, at the age of 88 after battling advanced dementia. Ambassador Benedick retired from the U.S. Department of State after serving 35 years primarily as a Foreign Service Officer with diplomatic postings in Iran, Pakistan, France, Germany and Greece. He played a pivotal role in global environmental affairs as chief U.S. negotiator and a principal architect of the historic 1987 Montreal Protocol on protection of the ozone layer, and he also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Environment, Health and Natural Resources and Coordinator of Population Affairs.  He joined the International Cooperation Administration (ICA), Washington, DC, in 1958 and served as the Greece/Turkey/Iran Desk Officer in Tehran, Iran 1959-1961, Program Economist, USAID/Karachi, Pakistan 1962-1964, and Program Economist, USAID, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris 1965-1967 (detailed from USAID).

He was Special Advisor to the Secretaries General of the 1992 UN Earth Summit (UNCED) and the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, served on Battelle’s International Advisory Board before becoming Deputy Director in the Environmental and Health Sciences Division and then Senior Advisor to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory-University of Maryland Joint Global Climate Change Research Institute, and was named President of the Committee for the National Institute for the Environment.

Over his illustrious career, Ambassador Benedick also was a Senior Fellow at World Wildlife Fund, Honorary Fellow of the Population Reference Bureau, Visiting Fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and Stimson Fellow in International Relations at Yale University.  He received the highest presidential career public service honors: the Distinguished (1988) and the Meritorious (1983, 1990) Service Awards. He also received the State Department’s John Jacob Rogers medal (1993) and was elected to the World Academy of Art and Science (1992) and American Academy of Diplomacy (2002) and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Toenissteiner Kreis (Germany).

Ambassador Benedick is the author of several publications, most notably his book Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet (Harvard University Press) which was selected for an anthology of twentieth-century environmental classics and has frequently been cited as the definitive work on the Montreal Protocol.

Dr. Benedick holds an A.B. summa cum laude from Columbia University, an M.A. in economics from Yale University, a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and was Evans Fellow at Oxford University in metaphysical poetry.

Born and raised in New York City, Richard would say “you can take the boy out of the Bronx but you can’t take the Bronx out of the boy”. He was an intrepid explorer, had an insatiable quest for knowledge, and loved nature and animals. He enjoyed yoga and lap swimming, music from The Beatles and Barry White to Offenbach and J.S. Bach, poetry by Rumi and Billy Collins, and was known to eat chocolate ice cream daily.

Richard Elliot Benedick is survived by his son Andreas Peter Anselm Benedick, his daughter Julianna Valeska Benedick, and his granddaughter Vanessa Oria Benedick Guerrero and two great-grandchildren Xander and Serina. He was predeceased by his long-time lady friend, Irene Federwisch.  His surviving family will honor Richard privately.

Published by The Washington Post on Apr. 5, 2024. (Edited to include USAID service.)

William Topolsky

William Topolsky, born in 1932 in Pittsburgh, PA, passed away on March 12, 2024, in Rockville, MD with his beloved wife, Linda, at his side. He is preceded in death by his parents, Morris and Henrietta Topolsky, and brother Boris Tarpell. Surviving are his wife, Linda Pryor; her children Howard Pryor and Gesine Pryor-Azevedo (Jason); brother David Topolsky (Susan), sisters Joan Sweet and Frances Santore (John); sister-in-law Noreen Tarpell, and a host of cousins, nephews, a niece, great-nephews and great-nieces.

Bill was an alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh and American University, and lived most of his adult life in Washington, DC working for the State Department’s Agency for International Development (USAID) and Institute of International Education (IIE) as a Program Officer writing the programs for and often escorting visiting Fulbright and other scholars during their tours of the U.S. In the sixties, he also taught English to Congolese at the Universite’ Lovanium in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bill was culturally curious, linguistically focused, fluent in three languages with knowledge of many, a voracious reader and had an acerbic wit. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Though Bill traveled widely for his work and in retirement with his wife Linda, he always considered Pittsburgh his home, and it is fitting that he returned there for his last voyage, where he was interred on March 15, 2024.

Published by The Washington Post on Mar. 31, 2024.

Kurt Keith Kunze

Kurt Keith KUNZE, retired Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), died December 14, 2023, in Salem, Virginia, at the age of 80. Mr. Kunze was born March 6, 1943, in Chicago, Illinois. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Elmhurst College in 1965, and a master’s degree from Northern Illinois University in 1968. From 1967 to 1977, he was active duty in the United States Air Force, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserves before his honorable discharge in 1992.

In 1977, Mr. Kunze joined USAID and served as a regional inspector general in Panama City (1977-1981), Nairobi (1985-1989), and Cairo (1992-1995). He was USAID’s special agent in charge of central offices, Eastern Europe, and the Near East when he retired in 1997.

After retirement, Mr. Kunze settled in Buchanan, Virginia. Over the next 26 years, he renovated his 19th century home with his wife, cultivating a welcoming space for hosting family and friends. Mr. Kunze’s love of nature, classical music, culinary pursuits— including gardening, foraging, and canning—and the companionship of his dogs defined his retirement years.

Mr. Kunze is survived by his wife, Amparo; three children, Erik, Emily, and Katia; and his brother Donald (Eleanor Smith). He was predeceased by Bessie Church, Hattie Meyers, Otto Kunze, and Muriel Johnson.

Peter W. Shirk

Peter Wesley Shirk was born on April 4, 1942, in Findlay, Ohio.  He passed away from this life on May 19, 2023, from Cookeville Regional Medical Center, Cookeville, TN.  In January 2023, he suffered a stroke which affected his ability to swallow.  The cause of death was aspiration pneumonia.

He graduated from Ohio State University in 1968.  He joined the foreign service and worked for USAID from 1971 until he retired in 1996.  Overseas postings include: DaNang, Vietnam; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Sana’a, Yemen; Nairobi, Kenya; Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire; and Jakarta, Indonesia.  Later, Peter Shirk worked for MacFadden in Washington, D.C. as a senior grants specialist until 2013.

In retirement, enjoyed traveling around the United States visiting Mount Rushmore, seeing the Giant Redwoods, the Grand Canyon, fishing, and occasionally, a slice of prime rib and a glass of wine.

Peter is survived by his siblings, A.V. and Leslie; two sons, Andy and Aaron; and two grandchildren.

The links below will take you to a virtual celebration of life video for Peter W Shirk on his memorialized Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/1146039497/videos/3707198282892655/ or:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1j5aAxlyjtHVwhejyBGQBrBzI6S7O9wzU/view?usp=drive_link

 Contact Information:  Andrew Shirk, Relation to deceased: Son, shirk.andrew654@gmail.com

Amy Ada Haratani

Amy Ada Haratani (nee Ada Kiyeko Yamasaki) born May 27, 1926 — renowned artist, persistent educator, courageous activist, inquisitive befriender of new acquaintances, and situational socialite has journeyed onward on March 1, 2024. The last surviving Nisei of eight children born to Harumi and Shizuka Yamasaki, immigrants from Japan, she was so small her siblings carried her around their cooperative San Joaquin Valley farm in a bucket and compared her to a bird, especially after a spill broke her arm, prompting a wing- like splint.

As a teenager her entire family was incarcerated due to their ancestry without any legal trial or formal charges (despite the 14th Amendment guaranteeing her the full rights of American citizenship).  Ada chose to focus on the positive aspects of imprisonment (behind barbed wire with armed guards facing inward) and, socializing with a larger peer group than farm life would allow, her new clique of ‘sophisticated girls’ called themselves “the Continentals.” She recounted prewar, Depression era farm life sitting on the water tower cross-brace watching distant trains, dreaming of traveling far away from scrubbing carrots in freezing ditch water for market. Camp prisoners were allowed to leave confinement if they could secure a job on the East Coast and Ada traveled days alone by train having acquired a job in a frozen vegetable processing plant. Upon arrival she found the company had gotten “Yamasaki” typed as “Yamaski” – once seeing she didn’t seem to be Polish, they told her the position wasn’t available.  Fortunately, her older sisters already back East were able to help her find another job as a domestic worker. (Learning later that the FBI mistakenly identified her as “Amy” in her war file, she adjoined that typo to her birth name, saying she tired of childhood teasing of being called “Aduh….”).

The wartime experiences and lifelong prejudices she experienced scarred her deeply, but Amy Ada persevered and demonstrated grace and fortitude in maintaining a positive outlook on life. Postwar she returned home and attended Modesto Junior College where she met Joe Haratani, a gangly 442nd Regimental Combat Team mortar squad veteran, who had been incarcerated with his family in the same camp as the Yamasakis. Holding 8,000 displaced souls, they never met at ‘Camp Amache’, “Granada War Relocation Center”, in the sand blown Colorado desert; but in Modesto they fell in love and Joe gave her the world. His engineering career with the United States Agency for International Development enabled them to travel the globe while Amy Ada pursued her dreams of motherhood, teaching, painting, socializing, and enjoying life on a level of sophistication that the Continentals would swoon over.

Morphing into the first ever Peace Corps Volunteer family (3 dependents) she set up house in a wood & lava rock shack in the Galápagos Islands. Amy Ada demonstrated her own adaptability to living with rudimentary water, power & resources. She befriended many from all walks and even spent weeks camping on remote Hood Island assisting two female researchers from the Charles Darwin Station.  This rugged lifestyle enabled her to adjust to her third quarter of life when the Haratani family settled near the gold rush town of Columbia, California. Nixon scuttled their retirement plans, leaving them cash strapped while Joe sought a stopgap federal job (thank you USFS !). While dealing with harsh winters, power outages (no water) and woodstove heat, Amy Ada continued her work ethic with a variety of jobs ranging from roadside fruit selling, receptionist at the local junior college, to office work at the Employment Development Department (where she sadly encountered racism by an administrator which resulted in her leaving the job but eventually winning a protracted legal suit).

Weathering adversity, both parents rebounded over time to become a successful overseas consultant (Joe), and a beloved painter of landscapes and abstracts. Amy Ada also continued her education earning her Masters degree in education. Joe and Amy Ada consistently worked the long hours required of poll workers near their final Sonora home, not for the minimal pay, but because they knew the vital necessity of participating in a hard-won democracy. From each sons’ birth, Amy Ada instilled a passion for reading, justice and knowledge…

Amy Ada is survived by sons Guy (Joyce), Richard (Kathleen), and Saji (Nicole) and their daughter Jazmine and son Jean-Patrik and myriad nieces and nephews and their families. She was preceded in death by her husband Joe. She was well cared for by her second husband Heinie. A Celebration of Life will be held March 23, 2024, in Tuolumne County in conjunction with a tribute to Joe whose memorial was postponed due to the pandemic. In lieu of flowers and gifts please vote to preserve equal rights and opportunity. (The dual Amy and Joe remembrance will immediately follow a “Pebbles in a Pond” presentation on community engagement, including a story from their life. Resilience Center 18241 Bay Avenue, Tuolumne, California. Full program begins at 2 p.m., Amy & Joe portion will start after 3:45 p.m.)

Published by The Washington Post on Mar. 17, 2024.

Achsah Nesmith

Achsah Nesmith, a former journalist who covered the Civil Rights Movement and later became a speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter, died March 5, 2024, after a brief illness.  Mrs. Nesmith, who lived in Alexandria, VA, was 84.

One of the first women to be hired as a speechwriter for a U.S. president, she worked for President Jimmy Carter for all four years of his administration. She collaborated with him and Rosalynn Carter on the book Everything To Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life and also wrote his Nobel speech in 2002. Rolling Stone magazine said she was President Carter’s favorite scribe.

Mrs. Nesmith prided herself in finding the right words, free of government-speak and cliches, to help the president express himself – in his own words. “It’s not that you put these great words in his mouth and he spouts them out like a puppet,” she once told a journalist. “Speechwriters are not ventriloquists—they are helpers.”

Eudora Achsah Posey was born on Nov. 16, 1939, in Atlanta, Georgia, daughter to Eudora and Frank Posey, a nurse and a storekeeper. She attended Southern Methodist University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in history in 1961. While at SMU, she worked as a freelancer and talent scout for Mademoiselle magazine and was featured in a photo spread on the fashion of college “coeds.”  After university, she worked for the Atlanta Constitution, covering federal courts, the legislature and key moments in the Civil Rights Movement. That’s where she met a peanut farmer named Jimmy Carter who was running for governor. She covered his campaign, following him all over the state of Georgia.

She also wrote Martin Luther King’s front-page obituary for the Constitution and covered several Apollo missions. It was in the Constitution parking lot where she met Jeff Nesmith, a journalist who would become her husband of nearly 57 years and with whom she covered those Apollo missions.   Mr. Nesmith died last year.  Achsah was extraordinarily proud of the day that President-elect Carter’s chief of staff called and offered her a job, which she turned down because she said she was busy raising two little children. She recounted how when she told her husband about the call that evening, he insisted that she try to get that chief of staff back on the phone and take that job. She cherished the fact that, at a time when many men would not have considered uprooting their own careers because of their wife’s career, Mr. Nesmith insisted on it, telling her “I can raise babies.”  Their partnership taught their children more than any book could have, and they insisted their children read all the books.

The family moved to Washington in 1977. After the Carter administration ended after one term, Mrs. Nesmith spent several years freelancing and volunteering in their church, the Old Presbyterian Meeting House. She later worked as a speechwriter for Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia and as a writer in the communications office of the United States Agency for International Development.

“Achsah had a quiet and caring but very strong voice, with a depth of knowledge across many areas,” said former Sen. Nunn. “She was a talented and wonderful partner for those of us in the arena of public service. I was very proud to be the beneficiary of Achsah’s wonderful character, her wisdom and her sound judgment. She was able to read a room on every occasion.”

Mrs. Nesmith was proud of her professional accomplishments, but also of the life she and Jeff built together. She always said that the greatest gift she gave her children was choosing the right father for them. Mrs. Nesmith loved to travel, visiting Tanzania in the early 1960s with Crossroads Africa. She and Jeff continued to travel, climbing Machu Pichu in Peru as a young couple, and traveling as a family to Mexico, Greece, Vietnam, Cambodia, and most recently France, a few months before Covid locked down travel.

She also shared Carter’s dedication to service and went on several Habitat for Humanity home-building blitzes with the Carters. Mrs. Nesmith also enjoyed the time she volunteered at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House, working to establish a bag lunch program for homeless residents of Alexandria. When she called all of the other Alexandria churches and told them that OPMH was going to start a bag lunch program, the other churches told her they didn’t think there was sufficient demand for that. So, Mrs. Nesmith and a few friends made the lunches, and when they ran out of meals the first week, she called the other churches back with her evidence of the need. With her push, the other Alexandria churches stepped up. Mrs. Nesmith also worked to secure the funding and political support to open Carpenter’s Shelter, which serves the unhoused in Alexandria.

Later in life, Mrs. Nesmith earned a Master of Arts degree in Liberal Studies in 2000 from Georgetown University. She also volunteered to help teach children in City of Alexandria Public Schools to read. In her final years, she became concerned about the disparity that African American mothers faced in health care outcomes. When she was no longer in a position to give her time, she donated to Mamatoto Village, which helps mothers and their babies in Ward 7 of the District of Columbia.

She is survived by her daughter, Susannah Achsah Nesmith (Charles Rabin), of Miami, FL; her son, Hollis Jefferson Nesmith, III, (Tara Ronzetti), of Arlington, VA; her grandchildren, Siena Kaya Nesmith and Dominic Nesmith; and her cherished niece, Debbie Middleton. Arrangements are being handled by Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home in Alexandria. The family is holding a private service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Mamatoto Village, the Carter Center or the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

Published by The Washington Post on Mar. 12, 2024.

Wade F. Gregory

Wade F. Gregory died peacefully on November 7, 2023, at Goodwin House Alexandria. Born in Weatherly, PA on June 30, 1924, Wade grew up on the family farm. He graduated from Penn State University receiving undergraduate and masters’ degrees in agricultural economics, followed by all but dissertation from the University of Chicago. The greater part of Wade’s professional career focused on international development, working with the Economic Research Service (USDA), World Bank, Organization of American States, Harvard Institute of International Development and Pragma Corp, to name a few. This work provided the opportunity to live and travel extensively throughout the world, visiting remote areas and sampling local fare. A member of the University of Chicago team setting up an economic research center in Santiago, Chile, Wade and his family lived there for three years. They also lived in Bogota, Colombia, while Wade worked on an AID contract with the Ministry of Agriculture. After retiring from USDA, Wade and his wife lived in Nairobi, Kenya, working with the Harvard Institute of International Development.

Wade was predeceased by his wife and life partner of over 73 years Ann B. Gregory, on July 26, 2023. Their courtship began while they attended Penn State. They moved to Arlington, VA in 1961, and were active in their community, church, and local and national politics. Wade was particularly engaged in expanding Arlington County’s Sister Cities program. Wade and Ann were avid and adventurous travelers visiting many domestic and international “off the beaten track” destinations.

Wade is survived by his son Gregory (Becky), and daughters Charlotte and Molly; five grandchildren; and five great grandchildren.  Wade will be remembered for his loving, kind, and compassionate nature, his rich green thumb, and his wonderful sense of humor. He loved gardening, prolifically growing flowers and vegetables that he shared generously with family, friends and neighbors. His ability to insert one-liners with perfect timing was impeccable and very endearing, defusing and diverting awkward situations masterfully. He was truly a prince of a guy and a wonderful human being.

Memorial service information for Ann and Wade Gregory are being finalized and will be provided once available. In lieu of flowers, kindly make donation to The Parkinson’s Foundation.

Published by The Washington Post on Mar. 10, 2024.

Elmer Melvin “Mel” Cook

Elmer Melvin “Mel” Cook (CW-4 U.S. Army Retired) passed away peacefully in his sleep on Leap Day, February 29, 2024, at home in Alexandria, VA, with his wife Bette, well-known in USAID, and son Joe by his side. He succumbed, at age 97, to congestive heart failure.

Born on October 7, 1926, in Delavan, IL, Mel was a descendant of military men who fought in every war this country has been engaged. Mel continued the legacy and served 32 years in the U.S. Army through three wars – World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam – entering the military as a Private in 1945 and retiring in 1980 as a Chief Warrant Officer W-4. Among the many medals and awards he received during his military career were the Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service, Air Medals, Army Commendation, and Purple Heart. The capstone of Mel’s career was induction into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame where he was cited as “the epitome of the finest traits and capabilities of our flying warrant officers.” In 2000, he was invited by President William J. Clinton to accompany his final Presidential delegation to visit Vietnam. In Mel’s mind, however, his most important honor was being the father of his son Joseph and a loving husband to Bette. Of their 67 years together, Bette remembers Mel’s romantic side and their special times like horseback riding on a Caribbean beach.

Some highlights from Mel’s exceptional career include:

• In 1945-46 during WWII in the Asian-Pacific Theater, he later found he was scheduled to participate in the invasion of Japan, which was negated by Japan’s surrender, thus ending the war, and saving millions of lives, including Mel’s!

• He returned to the Army in 1950 after a five-year civilian stint to further his education. This time, Mel was assigned to Japan under different circumstances and enjoyed meeting the people and learning their culture.

• Mel was accepted into the U.S. Military Attache service and assigned to the American Embassy in Tunisia in 1959-61. There, in his off-duty pursuit, he earned the first private pilot license – Tunisian Government License #4 (the first three licenses were honorary) – issued by the newly independent country. In 2019, he was invited to meet with staff, students, and spouses of the Attache course at Fort Meade, MD, to talk about the differences 60 years ago in the Attache field!

• Mel was also granted an age waiver (he was five years over the 30-year age cap) to attend the first class of the re-opened U.S. Army Primary Helicopter School in 1961. As a graduate rotary-wing pilot, he trained at Fort Knox, KY, and deployed as the advance party to set up camp in Vietnam for the 114th Aviation Company, the first air mobility unit in combat. For a Master Paratrooper trained to jump from airplanes into combat, this was a welcomed way to be transported into battle.

• Mel was quickly transferred from Vinh Long to the U.S. Army Support Command headquarters in Saigon to serve as Assistant Aviation Officer and personal pilot for Commanding General Joseph Stilwell, son of the famous WWII “Vinegar Joe.” Stilwell chose not only to command the air missions but also to be Mel’s aircraft door gunner. Holes in the aircraft after combat missions were not uncommon.

• During two assignments (1965-68 and 1970-74) with the Aviation Warrant Officer Branch at the Pentagon, Mel participated in the rapid expansion of the Warrant Officer aviation program from 1,700 to 7,000 pilots, and the development of studies and plans that resulted in the creation of a new W-5 rank. In 2019, Mel was invited to meet with W-5 officers at a professional development session at the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command headquarters at Fort Belvoir and was pleased to learn the impact his work had on the Warrant Officer Corps was still being felt today.

• While a dual-rated fixed wing pilot at the Priority Air Transport Division, Fort Belvoir, VA, Mel served as a personal pilot for Secretary of the Army, Clifford Alexander, the first Black Army secretary, who granted him a waiver of the 30-year retirement requirement for Regular Army personnel. While mandatory retirement was not waived at that time, it has become more common today.

• After retirement, Mel served 18 years as the Director of Play at Army Navy Country Club, Arlington, VA, where he was privileged to become a friend and golf partner with a President. On September 11, 2001, while standing on the first tee, he witnessed an airplane fly low overhead and down the hill into the Pentagon. In shock and distress, Mel spent the day sending staff in golf carts down the hill to assist workers leaving the Pentagon for the clubhouse to call their families, rest, and recover.

• Mel continued military camaraderie through professional associations such as the Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA), the National Museum of the U.S. Army (founding member), Friends of the National World War II Memorial in Washington DC, U.S. Army Warrant Officer Association, Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, 114th Aviation Company “Knights of the Air”, American Legion (Auxiliary Post 39), and Army Navy Country Club.

Mel will be dearly missed by his family and friends. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Bette Mayes Cook, and son Joseph Cook of Alexandria, VA; nephews Gale Johnson and wife Karen, Douglas Johnson, Dennis Johnson and wife Tina, Patrick Baillargeon, and Christopher Baillargeon; nieces Patricia Nelson Halper and husband Wayne, and Cynthia Oryall Gregg; and many loving grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his mother Josephine Van Buskirk and father Joseph Melvin Cook, sister JoAnn VanBuskirk Johnson and husband George Johnson, and nephews Robert Nelson and James Leroy Tauberschmidt.

Relatives and friends will be received at Jefferson Funeral Chapel, 5755 Castlewellan Drive, Alexandria, VA 22315 on Friday, March 8, from 4:00 – 8:00 pm. Mel’s funeral service will be convened at Old Post Chapel with interment at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his honor to a charitable organization of your choice or to the National Museum of the U.S. Army at Fort Belvoir, VA, or the American Red Cross (Service to the Armed Forces). All are invited to view and sign the family guestbook at www.jeffersonfuneralchapel.com.

Melvin Raymond Chatman, Jr.

Melvin Raymond Chatman, Jr., retired Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development, died December 2, 2023, in Aldie, Virginia, at the age of 83.  Mr. Chatman was born September 28, 1940, in Chandler, Oklahoma.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University in 1962.  After serving in the U.S. Army for six years, Mr. Chatman joined the Foreign Service.

At the beginning of his career with USAID in Vietnam, Mr. Chatman coordinated the Saigon evacuation transportation for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. In addition to his post in Vietnam, he also served in Bangladesh, El Salvador, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and Washington.

Mr. Chatman retired in 1998 after almost 30 years with the Department of State. In retirement, he wrote a book detailing his family roots, pursued a master’s degree in creative writing, and spent years working with his wife to establish an urgent care clinic in South Riding, Virginia.

Mr. Chatman is survived by his wife of 40 years, Anita; a son, Farouk; two siblings, Whit and Susan; and his mother, Joan Taylor.

https://www.adamsgreen.com/obituaries/Melvin-Raymond-Chatman?obId=30028291

James Elliott

James Albert Merten Elliott died January 12, 2024, at home in Arlington, VA, after a long battle with cancer. He was 79 years old. Jim was born in Seattle on September 9, 1944, and attended the Seattle public schools K-12. He completed an AB degree at Yale University in 1966 and graduated Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with a double major (a special program) in political science and economics. He won a Marshall Scholarship to the London School of Economics, where he completed an MS degree in Economics in 1968.

Jim returned to Yale University for a Ph.D. in economics in 1972. His doctoral research was published that year by Yale University as International Comparisons of Social Welfare: A Factor Analytic Approach (282 pages). He then joined the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Economic Development (CRED) and taught economics in Cameroon at the University of Yaounde in French, which he had to learn from scratch. From 1976 to 1980 Jim served as Assistant Professor of Economics at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He joined the U.S. Agency for International Development in 1981 as a Foreign Service Officer and served in various capacities there for 28 years until his retirement in 2009. He served overseas for 4 years in Bamako, Mali, where he worked on budget reform and civil service reform, among other issues, as the USAID Mission Program Economist.

In Washington he served in the Bureaus for Africa, for Latin American & the Caribbean, and for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade. His work took him to USAID field missions throughout the world. His return to USAID/Washington coincided with the collapse of Communism in general and the USSR in particular. Jim had taken introductory Russian in summer school between his freshman and sophomore years in college (back in the 1960s) could still use it which, of course, made him the exception to the rule in AID and resulted in several short trips to Moscow.

As a USAID economist, Jim brought analytical excellence to the Agency’s understanding of the development challenges. His insights helped raise the quality of the debate on economic issues among USAID’s economic growth community. Many USAID economists sought Jim’s input to their research in progress, collaborations that he cherished. Notable among Jim’s many contributions to USAID’s work were his economic analyses of coca production and alternative crop development in South America, which were used and cited by the interagency, and his editorship (and frequently authorship) of EGAT (now IPI) Bureau’s EG Technical Briefings and Economist Working Papers on economic growth topics important to USAID programs. Jim at times sparked controversy when his thorough economic analyses pointed in directions at odds with conventional wisdom, but his gentle way of getting needed points into the conversation made USAID’s work better. Jim was a valued mentor and friend to the USAID economist community.

Jim is survived by his wife of 52 years, Robin Gates Elliott, cousins Kathryne Shaw, Barbra Mage, and Jack Morgan, and by a large number of former USAID friends and colleagues who will miss his constant good humor and brilliant mind. James’s inurnment was held at Acacia Memorial Park in Seattle, WA, on Saturday, February 17. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle.

Frances Brigham Johnson

1927 – 2024
Frances Brigham Johnson, age 96, died peacefully at home in Alexandria, VA, on January 27, 2024, surrounded by her children. Throughout her life, she maintained her Christian faith and good spirits. She loved her family.

Frances was born in Evanston, IL, daughter of Erwin Risley Brigham and Hortense Garthwaite Fish, fourth among five children. She was a Mayflower descendant. Her family moved to Williamsburg, VA, in the early 1930s, and then to Champagne, IL, during World War II, where she graduated from University High School in 1945.

After two semesters at William & Mary College, she moved to Connecticut College for Women, graduating in 1949 with a BA degree in Government. After graduate work at Syracuse Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, she moved to Washington in 1950 to join the Economic Cooperation Administration, administering the Marshall Plan, where she met her future husband.

Her work in the Marshall Plan and succeeding agencies over the next forty years included the Central Secretariat of the Administrator, Women in Development, Congressional Relations, and country desks for Turkey, Brazil, Afghanistan and Senegal, culminating as the first Private Sector Coordinator in the USAID Africa Bureau. Her work as the architect of the “Turn-Around Strategy” that revamped the U.S. aid program in Brazil from 1963-1968 was key to being named “Woman of the Year for Career Professional Achievement in Foreign Affairs” in 1973,

Raising a family of four children and helping citizens in developing countries prosper (“Food for All through Enterprise”) were only two of her missions. Active in her community, she helped start a successful pre-school for disadvantaged children in Alexandria in 1984, organized a state-wide conference on Pre-School Education for Disadvantaged Children held at the U. of Virginia in Charlottesville. She also served on the boards of the Urban League of Northern Virginia and Research for Better Schools, a 5-state national research laboratory.

She loved to ski, swim and play tennis, and traveled extensively, bicycling in Europe in 1948, traveling for five months in seven Asian countries in 1954-55, followed later by trips to Israel, China (twice), Russia, Turkey, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Senegal, Mauritania and South Africa.

She is survived by her husband of 72 years, Gordon O.F. Johnson, three children, Gordon F.B. Johnson and Susan C.J. Gildersleeve, both of Alexandria, VA, and Brigham N. Johnson of Delray Beach, FL, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her youngest son, Christian, who died at Stanford University in 1982.

There will be a memorial service at Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill in Alexandria, on Sat. February 24, at 12 noon. In lieu of flowers, gifts in her memory may be made to The Child & Family Network Centers, 3700 Wheeler Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. See: https://cfnc-online.org/
Published by The Washington Post on Feb. 22, 2024.

Joseph Coolidge Wheeler

Joseph Coolidge Wheeler, Age 97, died in his sleep, at home in Concord, Massachusetts on February 11, 2024. Born in Concord November 21, 1926, to Caleb Henry Wheeler and Ruth Winifred (Robinson) Wheeler, Joe studied at Concord High School (1945), Bowdoin College (1948), the Graduate Institute of International Studies of Geneva and Harvard’s Littauer School (MA/MPA 1951). A distinguished career in international development included posts in Jordan, Pakistan, Kenya, Paris and Geneva. Returning to Concord after retirement, he was active in town affairs.

Joe described boyhood on Thoreau Farm as idyllic. A brother’s $20 gift to attend a Quaker conference on World Federalism launched his international career at age 15. Becoming a World Federalist student leader, he organized national and international conferences to promote world governance and an end to war. Joe worked for the U.S. foreign aid program (USAID), Peace Corps, United Nations Environmental Program and Organization for Economic Development. He was USAID Mission Director to Jordan (1965-1967) and Pakistan (1969-1977) and USAID Assistant Administrator from 1980 to 1982.

Deeply committed to environmental issues, he organized the 1992 Earth Summit. Joe introduced himself to his first wife, Jean (Huleatt) Wheeler, after their pictures appeared together in the Boston Globe as winners of Globe scholarships for international study. They married as students in Geneva. While Joe worked at the state department and Jean wrote her PhD thesis, they shared family responsibilities for five children. Abroad, they took the family on camping road trips throughout the Middle East. After losing Jean and son, Daniel, in a 1969 car accident, Joe married M. Verona (Farness) Wheeler, beginning a joyful 44-year marriage, living in Islamabad, Washington, Nairobi, Paris and Geneva. Between adventures, they hosted innumerable diplomatic and family gatherings.

His children and grandchildren will always remember visits to Paris and Kenya, fabulous holiday meals and intensely competitive family croquet games. Joe became blind in his eighties, yet found ways to manage his blindness with remarkable grace, always describing his quality of life as very good. He leaves five children, Juliet Wheeler and Rachel Wheeler of Concord, MA, Deborah (Wheeler) Burk of Annandale, VA, Caleb Henry Wheeler of St. Louis, MO and Margaret Jeanne Kane of Walnut Creek, CA; sons-in-law, Kenneth Turkington and John Myers; five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his four brothers, both wives; son, Daniel Lincoln Wheeler; and stepdaughter Marilee Kane.

A Memorial Service will be held in May. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Thoreau Farm Trust, P.O. Box 454, Concord, MA 01742. For more, see complete obituary, at www.DeeFuneralHome.com

Published by Boston Globe from Feb. 16 to Feb. 18, 2024.

William “Bill” Ignatius Rodier III

October 21, 1942 – December 18, 2023

William “Bill” Ignatius Rodier III died at the Adler Center for Caring in Aldie, Virginia after coping with dementia for several years. He was the oldest of four children born in Bronx, New York to William Ignatius Rodier Jr and Martha Marie Stoelting.

After rowing for the New York Athletic club during high school, Bill entered Virginia Military Institute where he ran track and with his usual discipline running became part of his life. At VMI he earned a BS in Chemistry followed by an MA in Psychology from Hollins University and a Ph.D in Psychology from The University of Virginia.

The following two years he served in the Viet Nam War. Promoted from First Lieutenant to Captain, he commanded a civil affairs platoon of ten specialists and several senior enlisted men. He was awarded the Bronze Star.

Returning to Charlottesville, Virginia Bill completed a variety of ‘Post Docs’ built around the study of endocrinology and psychology. Subsequently, he spent a year contracting with USAID in seven countries around the developing world, researching the acceptability of a new supplement for children, pregnant and lactating mothers.

Taking stock of his experiences and interests, Bill then joined the CIA as an analyst in what was the Political Psychology Division in the Directorate of Intelligence. In the early 1980’s he was asked to lead the Directorate’s Insurgency analysis which he did for some years. Another career turn came when he joined the Directorate of Operations where he served throughout Africa and the Middle East. Unsurprisingly he was one of the first to go into Afghanistan after 9/11.

Always retaining a love for the Army, he accepted an appointment to The Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania as Senior Intelligence Representative from 1995-1998. As a member of The Department of National Security and Strategy he helped integrate intelligence issues into the curriculum. The Commandant of The Army War College awarded him A Superior Civilian Service Award for exceptionally meritorious service after Bill’s efforts helped prove instrumental for the College being recognized as the Army’s center for strategic thought.

Bill completed his professional career when requested to serve as the De Serio Chair of Strategic Intelligence for the academic year 2011 at the Army War College. Bill viewed the Army War College as another great institution much like Virginia Military Institute in its dedication to disciplined learning and thinking.

Bill will be missed greatly by his wife, Karen Walborn, his siblings, other family members and friends. He leaves us with his dry sense of humor, many kindnesses, and a deep commitment to patriotism. Services will be held at a later date.

Published by The Washington Post from Feb. 16 to Feb. 17, 2024.

Paul Christian Tuebner

Paul Christian Tuebner passed away on November 16, 2022, surrounded by friends and family at Physicians Regional hospital in Naples, Florida.

Born on April 6, 1950, in Atlanta, Georgia, to Alice Atchison Tuebner and Harry Tuebner, the family moved to Tokyo, Japan, shortly after his birth. Military orders then took the family to Thailand and Spain before they ultimately settled down in Orange Park, Florida, where Paul attended high school and his beloved University of Florida. After college, Paul joined the Peace Corps and moved to Costa Rica to serve as an Agriculture Volunteer. It was there where he met Annette, a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer who would end up being his wife for 44 years. After serving in the Peace Corps, Paul went on to get two Master’s degrees from Ohio University.

Paul spent 35 years as a Foreign Service Officer with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). With his wife and two sons, he lived an exciting and varied life, which took him and his family to Botswana, Panama, Guatemala, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Honduras and Haiti. He loved going on safari in Africa, deep sea fishing in Central America and lounging on the beach in the Caribbean. Passionate for weekend barbeques, Paul was famous for his smoked ribs and steaks cooked to perfection. As an impassioned football fan, Paul enjoyed watching his Gators on Saturdays and the Commanders on Sundays. Following their exciting Foreign Service life, Paul and Annette retired to a beautiful community in Naples, Florida. He was a great friend to so many people all over the world and will be missed by everyone that knew him.

Paul is survived by his wife Annette, sons Robert and Nathan, Daughter-in-Law Anna and two Grandchildren Clara and Eric, as well as his Brothers Kenneth, Peter, David and their families. He will be missed dearly.

Manuel Carl Zenick

Manuel “Mick” Zenick, a longtime resident of the Washington area, died at age 97 from complications of a fall. Born in Hudson, New York of immigrant parents from Czarist Russia, Mick was educated in public schools in Hudson and Brooklyn, NY. He received a BS from Baruch College at City University in New York. Mick interrupted his college studies at 17 to join the Navy during WWII and served at various domestic bases at Guantanamo Bay before his final assignment as the sole medic aboard the USS ATR5, a seagoing tugboat. Following the war, he resumed his college education which included a summer program in Europe to study the Marshall Plan. Mick later completed studies at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.

Passing the Junior Professional examination was the beginning of Mick’s challenging and interesting overseas assignments. He first started in the US State Department as an economist before transferring to the US Foreign Aid Program. His first overseas assignment was in Paris where he served on the US Delegation to NATO and OEEC. Returning to the US in 1963, he received a Ford Foundation Fellowship to study economics under Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago. Mick then accepted an offer from the World Bank working primarily with the Caribbean and Colombia. In 1969 he was selected to open the first Resident Bank Mission in Kabul, Afghanistan. Under the King, Afghanistan at the time was a peaceful, but extremely poor, country with a government eager to accept developmental assistance from the World Bank and other international agencies. Having a Resident Mission resulted in the country’s receipt of critical economic assistance. Once back in Washington, Mick realized how much he missed hands-on work in developing countries. Inspired by the stories of his wife Linda’s Peace Corps service as a nurse midwife volunteer in Malaysia, Mick sought employment with the Peace Corps. For five years, he served as Country Director in Thailand and Guatemala. He took great pride in supporting and assisting dedicated volunteers in health, education, and agricultural projects. Mick returned to the World Bank headquarters in 1979 where he served as Chief of the Korea Division. He was delighted with his last assignment as Chief Loan Officer in the World Bank Mission in Indonesia until his retirement in 1988.

In his long retirement, he visited “paths less traveled” including Tibet, Easter Island, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, and PNG. Besides travel, he designed and built a vacation home in Berkeley Springs, WVA; answered the comment line in the Clinton White House; taught a course on the 1920s at American University’s Institute of Learning in Retirement; and actively participated in the Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe Societies. He loved 1920s big band jazz, card playing, the theater, dim sum, and political banter. Mick treasured the many friendships from his overseas posts and keeping in touch with people he met in his travels. A few months before his death, he self-published a memoir and some poetry. Mick leaves behind his wife of 55 years Linda, their daughters Emily (Tom), Jenny (Eddie), and their children Benjamin and Henry Bergeron and Miles and Cora Wexler. He also leaves children from his first marriage Pamela Zenick, Jeffrey Zenick, Melanie Lynch (Tom), Andrew Zenick, four grandchildren – Jeremy, Sara, Mollie and Nadia – and numerous friends and neighbors who enriched his life. A celebration of life for family and friends will be held in March; an interment at Arlington National Cemetery will take place next year. Donations in his memory can be made to Doctors Without Borders or Heifer International.

Published by The Washington Post on Feb. 13, 2024.

Francis Redmond “Tony” Smoot

Francis Redmond Smoot, a sixth generation Washingtonian, passed away on January 13, 2024. He was 80.  Mr. Smoot, known to friends and family as “Tony,” was born in Washington in 1943. He attended Gonzaga College High School and graduated from Georgetown University. He served one tour in the Army.  Mr. Smoot worked as an accountant for USAID in many foreign countries, including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.  In retirement, he divided his time between his homes in Washington and Lewes, Delaware, and authored two books: a treatise on astrology and a collection of poetry.

Mr. Smoot will be remembered for his generosity, lively sense of humor, love of opera, and kindness toward animals.  Survivors include his two sisters, Marie Adele Curtis of Surrey, England, and Regina Francesca Smoot of Washington, and their children.  Mr. Smoot will be buried at Rock Creek Cemetery. Close friends and family will celebrate his life in a private ceremony at a location and date forthcoming.

Published by The Washington Post on Feb. 8, 2024.

Ernest C. Kuhn

Ernest “Ernie” Clarence Kuhn passed away peacefully after a long illness on December 29, 2023, in Washington, DC surrounded by immediate and extended family members. He was 83 years old.

Though born and raised in Newark, Ohio, a place he returned to regularly throughout his life, Ernie was an avid traveler at heart who immersed himself in the history, cultures and languages of Southeast Asia and the Middle East over decades of devoted international public service and love of history.

He served as a tour director on excursions to Asia, Europe and the Middle East during his undergraduate studies. Upon graduating from Ohio State University with a BA in history, he joined the Peace Corps as a Volunteer to Thailand as part of Group VII from 1963-1965. He later served over 30 years as a Foreign Service Officer with the US Agency for International Development in Laos, the Philippines, Egypt, Indonesia, and finally in Washington, DC. An extensive interview with Ernie as part of the Oral History Project covers his USAID career.

While serving in Laos he met his beloved wife, Phaythoune neé Sengchanh, who was by his side throughout his life and at the end. They were married in Sam Thong in 1969.

He was an adventurous traveler, avid photographer, bird watcher and fisherman. He freely provided photographs for a guidebook to Egypt, supported eagle conservationists in the Philippines, hosted a team of National Geographic wildlife experts for two weeks at his home, and competed in deep sea fishing competitions. He took his family on rugged weeks-long trips to discover and explore the countries they lived in including the terraced rice fields of Mindanao, the Sahara Desert in western Egypt, the Sinai, and Hindu and Buddhist temples on the islands of Java and Sumatra. He taught his daughters how to develop film in the dark room he built and supported their interests as budding photographers. He also greatly loved returning to Ohio during summer home leaves and spending time in the family cabin that his parents built with him and his brother when he was a teenager.

He had a passionate and deep interest in the history and culture of the places he lived—but most particularly Laos whose language, culture and history he loved and studied throughout his life. In recognition of his services to Laos, Ernie received the Order of the Million Elephants and the White Parasol from King Savang Vatthana in 1968, the kingdom’s highest knighthood order.

He provided authors and television productions not only his time but also photographs and film recordings about Laos. The ‎Ernest and Phaythoune Kuhn Image Collection—a curated collection of photographs of Laos and Thailand during the 1960s-1970s—is available online at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.

He is survived by his beloved wife Phaythoune Kuhn, daughters Christine (Jonathan) Kuhn-Patrick, and Kimberly (Brian Kaplan) Kuhn, grandchildren Imogen Kuhn-Patrick and Quincy Kaplan, sister-in-law Emily (Chin) Kuhn and nieces Bailey and Taylor Kuhn.  Ernie was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Hallene (Fulke) Kuhn, and his brother, James Kuhn.

Ernie was passionately engaged in life, touching many lives across the globe. He will be deeply missed by family and friends.  A memorial will be held on February 11 in Washington, DC.  Condolences may be shared with the family on his memorial website at ErnieKuhn.net.

Wilma Louise Ditter

Wilma Louise DITTER, retired Foreign Service Staff with U.S. Agency for International Development, died October 18, 2023, in Merced, California, at the age of 91. Ms. Ditter was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. on August 21, 1932. After graduating from Ambridge High School in 1950, she spent 15 years working for Pittsburgh Steel Forgings.

She joined the Foreign Service as an administrative aide for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Ms. Ditter’s overseas assignments included Nigeria, Laos, Jordan, and Burkina Faso. After 24 years of service, she retired in 1990, after which she moved to Los Banos, California.

For almost 30 years, Ms. Ditter was an active member of United Methodist Women, and she also served for many years as the church collection secretary. Ms. Ditter is survived by nephews Kent O’Donnell, Jay (Maryellen) Giese, and Roy (Kathy) Giese, and multiple great nieces and nephews.

Caryle E. Cammisa

Caryle E. Cammisa, retired Foreign Service officer with U.S. Agency for International Development, died peacefully on October 24, 2023, in Tampa, Florida, at the age of 66, after fighting multiple myeloma for 17 years.  Ms. Cammisa was born in Derby, Connecticut, on May 22, 1957. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from Temple University in 1980 and a master’s degree in public policy from SUNY Albany in 1984.

She began her professional life as a social worker in Philadelphia before joining USAID in 2000. Ms. Cammisa served in Georgia, Romania, Bangladesh, Kenya, Yemen, Jordan, and Washington, D.C. During her more than 20 years as a Foreign Service Officer with USAID, she was a champion of the children’s television show “Sesame Street” and persuaded the Children’s Television Workshop to consider the potential of airing such a show in Bangladesh, which ultimately aired as Sisimpur in 2005.

In retirement, Ms. Cammisa lived in Tampa, where she was an active volunteer with the League of Women Voters and the Sierra Club and was an instructor at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Caryle’s indomitable spirit and passion for defeating injustices left a lasting impact on all who knew her. Her heartwarming presence and enduring resilience will be remembered and cherished by her beloved daughter, Natalie. Caryle’s influence and love continue on through Natalie and those who were lucky enough to have known her.

During her lifetime, Caryle displayed an unfaltering strength and conviction that will forever serve as an inspiration to all. She was able to see the world extensively and had unique life experiences that she shared with all her loved ones. We bid farewell to a passionate woman of the world, whose memory will live on in our hearts forever.

Ms. Cammisa is survived by her daughter, Natalie, mother Kathryn, siblings Kathee Cammisa, Joe Cammisa, and Laurie Green, three nieces and a nephew, and two grand nephews.

Ellsworth “Butch” Amundson

It is with saddened hearts that we announce the passing of my father Ellsworth ‘Butch’ Amundson, on December 19, 2023. Born on March 21, 1944, in Vicksburg Mississippi to his parents Ellsworth M. Amundson and Mildred Chisholm. Butch lived a full, vibrant life of adventure with his dearly beloved wife Wanida. His spirit, charm, and sense of humor left an indelible mark in the hearts of all those he encountered in life.

Butch started his life in Vicksburg where he was born, then travelled with his parents due to his father’s Army assignments to Park Forest Illinois, Fayetteville North Carolina, then New Port News Virginia where he graduated high school from St. Stevens and went to college at Virginia Tech where he majored in agriculture. Upon graduation he joined the Peace Corps because he wanted to see the world and help those who were less fortunate. He accepted an assignment to Nepal where he gained an appreciation for humanity, foreign worlds and which made him realize the person who he wanted to become. ‘I felt my contribution to the Nepalis had been so small compared to what they had given to me’. After his assignment he returned to Washington D.C. where he decided to enroll and was accepted to Georgetown University’s International Affairs graduate program. Within only a few days he met Wanida ‘the most beautiful girl in the world’ who was enrolled in the linguistics program on a Fullbright Scholarship and who he fell in love with immediately.

At the time the Vietnam war was heating up. Butch decided to cut his Master’s program short and take the opportunity to work as a civilian through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Vietnam. After months of courting and moving into an apartment together in Rosslyn he and Wanida decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. They were married at the Thai Embassy in D.C. and St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Arlington Virginia, both attended by his Peace Corps friends and his cousin Mary Alyce who represented the Amundson family for their nuptials. As Butch headed over to Vietnam to support refugees Wanida would finish her degree at Georgetown and travelled back to Bangkok to stay with her parents and to be close to Butch so they could visit each other occasionally. Sometime later their son Eric was conceived and born in Bangkok, Thailand.

From there he started his career as a Foreign Service Officer with posts in Tunisia, Yemen, Djibouti, Cameroon and Morocco. Each assignment was a cultural adventure for Butch, Wanida and Eric who would meet so many lifelong friends along the way that we are still in contact with today. Besides exploring the assigned countries they would return to visit his parents and relatives in Sacramento and her parents and relatives in Thailand. Eventually they bought their first home in McLean Virginia where Eric went to elementary school through his sophomore year. Butch and Wanida received their next assignment to West Africa and Eric went to boarding school in Switzerland. As Eric graduated and went on to College at James Madison University, Butch and Wanida’s last assignment was in Morroco, a beautiful country that was the perfect dovetail for his career. Butch retired in his early fifties from USAID then both he and Wanida decided to buy a second home in Lake Tahoe Nevada to be closer to relatives and enjoy everything Tahoe had to offer including Butch’s love for skiing. Butch’s other passions were tennis, scuba diving and astronomy all of which he picked up during their assignments and travels overseas.

Butch and Wanida eventually decided to move back to their home in Virginia. They celebrated Eric and Fay’s wedding and joyously welcomed their beloved Grandchildren Ethan and Clara into the world. They enjoyed spending time with Fay’s parents and relatives. Butch found a new passion in doing extensive Amundson family genealogy research that included detailed ties to relatives in Wisconsin and Norway culminating in two reunions in both locations. Over the years Butch, Wanida, Eric and Fay would occasionally travel together passing down the love of culture, food and history to Ethan and Clara. Butch’s favorite trip of all time was to southern France to celebrate his and Wanida’s 50th anniversary along with Eric and family.
Eventually the love of his life Wanida passed away January 19th 2023. Butch returned to her loving arms 11 months later on December 19th. Their love and legacy will continue to live on forever.

Butch is survived by his son Eric, his daughter in law Fay, his grandchildren Ethan and Clara, and his cousins Carol Graeber, Cecil Roumage, Doug Gayner, Suzanne Werner, Susie Wheeler, Jim Amundson, Clark Absher and their families.

He will be remembered as the good son he was to his parents, a loving and caring husband to Wanida, a fantastic father and father-in-law to Eric and Fay, an amazing Grandfather to Ethan and Clara, and a great friend and supporter to all whom he has touched in his life.

Sophia Helene Van Der Bijl

January 22, 1976  –  January 21, 2024

A quote from a MCC friend also called Sophia: “Sophia was the best: direct, funny, hardworking and very loving with her own particular flavor.”

A graduate the Washington International School (International Baccalaureate), McGill University (Bachelor of arts, Political Science and Economics), the Paris Institute of Political Studies, Paris, France (Diploma in International Law), School of Advanced International Studies, Bologna, Italy (Master of arts, International Affairs). A career in international development with Chemonics International in DC and Botswana, the Millennium Challenge Corporation in DC, Public Health Institute Fellows Program, and United States Agency for International Development in DC as a monitoring and evaluation specialist.

Wife to John, step-mother to Matthew, daughter to Rudy and Francoise-Line, and sister to Edmond. Greatly loved.

An informal celebration of her life will be held at Robert A. Pumphrey Funeral Homes, 7557 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda on January 31 at 1:00 pm. You are encouraged to say a few words about why she was so very special. This will be followed by a WIS style after celebration at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery.

Alex Durham Newton

REMEMBERING ALEX NEWTON: A life of adventure, a spirit of service
By Rick Crown and Betsy Wagenhauser Special to the Citizen, Jan 22, 2024

He was known by many names — Durham, Alex, Figg — or some other endearing moniker, but the common denominator was that he was extraordinarily kind, always upbeat, humble to a fault and wildly adventurous. If it was true he danced to the beat of a different drum, it was likely an African one.

And the drums are surely beating now in an uplifting yet sad cadence that mourns the loss of a remarkable human being. Alexander Durham Newton died peacefully on the evening of Jan. 15, 2024, at his longtime family home, Bonar Hall. By his side as the final chapter of his extraordinary life’s journey came to a close was his first wife of 33 years, Betsy, and their intrepid-in-their-own-right progeny, Nicola and Simon. By his side in spirit was the myriad ranks of the Friends of Alex (FOA) that included everyone he touched in his personal and professional life — a life that spanned five continents and too many countries to count.

Born and raised in Madison, GA, 79 years ago, Alex had a heart for service from an early age, beginning with high school mission trips to Peru. He loved his hometown of Madison, but always claimed he chose Brown University for his undergraduate studies as it was the option farthest away. Still, he eventually made his way back to the south to study law at Duke University.

With a law degree under his belt, Alex headed to NYC and Wall Street to practice law and continue to feed his adventurous spirit. Sailing and kayaking and tennis and running were the primary sports that fulfilled him most of his life, though he happily dabbled in a variety of high-risk endeavors. These included mountaineering, hang-gliding, paragliding, scuba diving, bungee jumping, skiing, surfing, and child-rearing. He was never one to shy away from a chance to learn something new and have fun doing it.

Despite the plethora of extracurricular activities, Alex was equally passionate about doing what he could to make a difference in the world. He traded in his suit and tie and fancy Wall Street lawyer job for a work shirt, dungarees, and a shovel, and spent 2 years in the remote Guatemalan countryside serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. That stint set the stage for an eventual rewarding and successful career in humanitarian assistance with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
West Africa was Alex’s first assignment as a newly minted Regional Legal Advisor. He spent two years in Mali and five years in the Ivory Coast and traveled regularly throughout the region as part of his job. A by-product of his extensive travels was his penchant for gathering in-depth travel information which he converted into well-regarded Lonely Planet travel guides for both West and Central Africa. He thus added travel writer to his growing list of accomplishments.

South America was the next work destination. Alex spent the next 4 years based in Quito Ecuador but continued traveling for work throughout the region. This time he collected more than travel information on the side. While on assignment in Lima Peru, Alex happened to stop by the South American Explorers’ Club, an information network for travelers which was run by a woman named Betsy. Two and a half years later they were married. This time Alex added “spouse” to his list of accomplishments.
Now the real adventure began. There was a 5-year tour in Bangladesh with frequent work visits to Nepal. And a daughter, Nicola, was another proud accomplishment to go on the list. Four years in Kazakhstan followed — this time as Democracy Office Chief. Alex succinctly described his charge as “to bring democracy to the former Soviet states” which, as with all things, he did his best. His list of accomplishments grew to include a son, Simon.
After Alex was promoted to USAID Deputy Mission Director of Haiti, the family moved to the capital city Port-au-Prince. They lived there from 2000 to 2002 before returning once again to West Africa -first to Ghana with Alex serving as Deputy Director for three years and then four years in Mali as Mission Director. When that tour ended, Alex spent nearly two years in war-torn Afghanistan, with Betsy and the kids safely ensconced in Madison.

His “retirement” in 2012 lasted about five minutes. Alex then began a series of short-term contract assignments for USAID that took him back to Africa, and then to Indonesia, Egypt, Ukraine, and Timor Leste. In between assignments, he and Betsy managed the ongoing work on their Bonar Hall home, buildings and grounds, which seemed to keep expanding. Alex’s love of old houses led him to rescue endangered structures and move them to the property, inspiring a friend to refer to them as “Alex’s Architectural Petting Zoo.”

Alex’s list of accomplishments is endless. His lifelong work of making a difference in the world carries on; reverberates still. He was a great friend, compassionate mentor, loving husband, adoring father, and devoted son. He will be missed and remembered by all the lucky FOAs here in this community — and the world over.

Published in the Morgan County Citizen, Madison, GA, Jan. 22, 2024

Patricia S. Matheson

Patricia Matheson peacefully passed away on Sunday, January 21, 2024, in Inova Fairfax Hospital at age 79 as a result of complications of her fight against breast cancer, a fight she had waged successfully for 17 years to lead a life that was as productive and fulfilling after her diagnosis as it had been before.

Pat was born March 18, 1944, in San Antonio, TX to Myron and Mae Schraud (Nee: Richards), younger sister to Cata and Susan.  Her father Myron was a U.S. Foreign Service officer, and she spent her early childhood in Mexico, Germany and Bolivia as a result of his foreign assignments.  She then graduated from high school in Chula Vista, California; received her Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, and her Master’s degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

She then started a long career with the U.S. Agency for International Development, where she managed assistance programs for several decades, including in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, the former Soviet Union, and Latin America.  In the course of that work, she managed a large staff and traveled frequently abroad.  Her work was essential in promoting economic development and social welfare in less-developed countries, and in assisting in the democratic transition of countries like Russia, Ukraine and Kosovo. After her retirement from full-time government service in 2001, she continued for many years to carry out assignments by USAID for economic and social development abroad. To her co-workers, she was a generous friend and mentor with a quick sense of humor, a positive attitude, and a deft, common-sense approach to making the bureaucracy of the federal government work to the benefit of the nation it serves.

Upon retiring from USAID Pat devoted herself wholeheartedly to the service of her local community. She worked with VA Democracy Forward, principally on encouraging voter turnout and redistricting reform; worked with the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, teaching English as a second language and training ESL teachers; she served elderly community members with the Shepherd’s Center of McLean-Arlington-Falls Church and led hikes with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. She volunteered for many years with the Washington Revels.

Pat was also very active in the Lewinsville Presbyterian Church in McLean, Virginia, where she was a member for 34 years. A Deacon and Stephen Minister, she engaged in caregiving ministry for her fellow church members and worked with the church’s refugee resettlement team, developing personal relationships she cherished with the Afghan refugees she mentored and supported logistically.

In her personal life, Pat gave birth to and raised a son, Scott Matheson, and was the loving spouse of Michael Matheson for more than 50 years.  They loved her dearly and miss her immensely.  They travelled extensively together throughout this country and the world; she watched grey whales in Baja California and marine iguanas in the Galapagos, parasailed off Maui and rafted the New River at age 77, and escaped attacks by a baboon in Capetown and a pelican in Islamorada. They spent many summers in Oxford, UK and in Geneva, Switzerland.

In short, Pat led a wonderful, productive and loving life. She will be sorely missed by her family and so many others. She is survived by her loving husband, Michael and her son, Scott; her sister Susan Randolph and brother-in-law Bob Randolph; their children, David, Carolyn and Brian Randolph, their families and many more family members and friends.

A memorial service for Pat will be held at 2 PM on February 24, 2024, at the Lewinsville Presbyterian Church 1724 Chain Bridge Road, McLean, VA with reception to follow: In lieu of flowers gifts in memory of Patricia Matheson may be directed to the Refugee Resettlement Ministry at Lewinsville Presbyterian Church.

 

Robert J. Muscat

Bob Muscat in 1972

Bob Muscat in 2019

Robert Jaffe Muscat, (Bob), 92, passed away on Jan. 10, 2024, in Haymarket, Virginia. Born in NYC, he graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Philosophy, a Master of Economics, a Master of Journalism, and a PhD in Economics. He was a Foreign Service Reserve officer who served for 25 years, posted in Thailand, Brazil, Kenya, and Washington, DC, where his assignments included an appointment as the Agency’s first Chief Economist. He held senior consulting and advisory positions within the governments of Thailand and Malaysia, in the United Nations Development Program, and was a visiting scholar at the Columbia East Asian Institute and the George Mason Center for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Bob also served two years in the US Army.

He was an active Board member of the NGO Global Peace Services for many years. He was the author of numerous books and journal articles, not only about development, but about resolving violent conflict. Bob was also a gifted classical pianist.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Juliette, two sons, David (wife Elena Bose) and Joshua (wife Jill nee Ottenberg), daughter Elysabeth (husband Rafik Hegab), and three grandsons, Neil, Jared, and Tim.

Richard Lee “Dick” McCall, Jr.

Richard Lee McCall Jr passed away peacefully on January 18th, 2024, at the age of 81 at his home in Easton, MD. Richard was a truly outstanding public servant that was driven by powerful moral force. He witnessed war, famine, and the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, but never lost his optimism and his unfailing sense of humor.

Mr. McCall was born in Detroit, Michigan on May 6, 1942, to Richard Lee McCall Sr and Virginia McCall. He had 1 sister (Nancy) and 2 brothers (Mike and Donn) He was educated at Hastings College, receiving a B.A. in Biology in 1964. After a couple of years working as field representative at the Teton National Life Insurance Company and as a Chemist the Wyoming State Highway Department. Richard worked as a staff writer for UPI (United Press International) in Cheyenne Wyoming from 1968 to 1971 In the spring of 1967 Richard met his future wife Barbara Coy who then briefly moved to Hawaii … thankfully Richard convinced her to move back to Cheyenne and they were married on January 27th, 1968.

After covering Senator Gale McGee’s re-election campaign in 1970, he joined McGee’s Senate staff as a legislative aide and moved to Virginia. He held the position until 1977, when he became legislative aide to Democratic Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, and, after Senator Humphrey’s death in 1978, to his widow, Muriel, who was appointed to his seat.

McCall joined the professional staff of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 1978 and was promoted to deputy staff director in 1979.

In 1980, President of the United States Jimmy Carter nominated McCall as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs and McCall subsequently held this office from June 10, 1980, until January 21, 1981.
McCall later served in the United States Agency for International Development In the early 1990s, his efforts focused on bringing peace to El Salvador during their Civil War Conflict and later on Somalia and other humanitarian problems in the Horn of Africa. In the later 1990s, he focused on efforts at bringing peace to the African Great Lakes region, including conflicts in and among Sudan, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zimbabwe.
He joined Creative Associates International, Inc., a professional services firm, in 2002, as senior vice president and chairman of its council of senior advisors. His work there has focused on stabilization of post-conflict situations in many places, including Afghanistan and Sudan.

Richard is survived by his l wife Barbara, their two sons Josh and Chris, and his five grandchildren, Avery, Cole, Alaina, Lauren, and Sydney and Josh’s Partner Samantha Fitzhugh.
Through Richard’s commitment to democracy and human rights, he was able to positively impact so many lives and contribute to the resolution of so many conflicts around the world. Remembering his colleague and old friend, former USAID Administrator Brian Atwood said “Dick McCall was the ideal public servant and as fine a human being as I have met.”

A very special thank you to Love in Your Home LLC for the incredible love and care they provided on a daily basis.
Please consider donating to Rock Steady which was an integral part of Richard’s Parkinson’s Program and relies on donations.

Donations can be sent to:  Rock Steady YMCA of the Chesapeake, 111-1 E. Dover Street Easton, MD 21601, in memory of Richard McCall
The Viewing will be Friday Evening 4 – 7pm at:  Everly Funeral Home
1500 West Braddock Rd, Alexandra, VA
Service on Saturday 1/27 at 11:00 am at:  Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1545 Chain Bridge Road, McLean, VA
Funeral proceeding at Oakwood Cemetery in Falls Church:  401 N. Roosevelt St., Falls Church, VA
Reception at the Gannon Residence:  204 E. Columbia St., Falls Church, VA

Thomas Hale Fox

Thomas Hale Fox died surrounded by family on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, in Washington D.C. Born in Boston in 1939 to Bertrand Fox and Mary Zeigler Fox, Tom spent most of his childhood in Massachusetts and graduated in 1961 from Williams College with a BA in History. As an adult, Tom became a global citizen. Over the course of his 45-year career, he worked with more than 75 developing countries, including all but a couple African countries, holding top positions in the Peace Corps, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and a host of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

After four years of teaching at the Taft School, Tom was recruited to become the deputy director for the Peace Corps in Togo in 1965. He and his newlywed wife, Elizabeth, spent the next five years in West Africa. Tom quickly became a prominent leader in the field of foreign assistance, particularly as a bridge builder between NGOs, private foundations, the U.S. Department of State, USAID, and participating countries. He was a highly regarded thought leader and administrator for several NGOs: VITA, the Council on Foundations, World Resources Institute, and The Elma Foundation. He also served twice with USAID in 1978-1982 and 1997-2001. In the second of these terms, President Clinton appointed Tom to coordinate USAID’s worldwide policy and resource allocation. Known for his expertise, strength of character, and integrity, Tom testified over a dozen times before the U.S Congress. Throughout his career, Tom enjoyed mentoring early career professionals in the field of international development and taught several graduate courses at George Washington University, Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, and the School for International Training.

Tom was very generous with his time. He gave abundantly to family, friends, educational institutions, local community-based organizations, All Souls Unitarian Church, and several NGOs dedicated to foreign assistance. He often served as an effective fundraiser and board leader, while he also enjoyed humbler roles, such as driving seniors to medical appointments. Tom had many loves beyond his family, friends, career, and civic engagements: playing sports with friends; cheering on the Boston Red Sox; spending time with extended family in Maine; launching and leading a book club for four decades; reading biographies of early American leaders; acting with his local theater group; singing with family and the All Souls Church choir; following his grandsons’ passions; and supporting his wife’s work improving services for seniors across Washington D.C.

Tom’s large family deeply treasured him. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 58 years, Elizabeth Stewart Fox; their two children, Adair (Shelley) and Brian (Monika); two grandsons, Owen and Charlie; his brother, Kenneth, three half-siblings (Ann, Peter, and Joan); four step-siblings; nieces; nephews; godchildren; and many friends around the world.

Joan Stanford Chase

Joan Stanford Chase died surrounded by her beloved family on December 31, 2023, in Springfield, VA, from complications of aphasia. Born in Boston in 1938 to John and Alice Stanford, Joan spent her childhood moving to different Northeast cities. At age 13, she met the love of her life, Bob Chase, a classmate in her junior high school in Springfield, MA. She and Bob continued a long-distance relationship after her family moved to Portland, ME for her last two high school years. Upon graduating from Lasell College in Newton, MA, she moved to Hartford, CT and spent many weekends visiting Bob at Wesleyan University. They married in June 1959. After a year in Syracuse, NY, they moved to Fairlington, VA, and then to the Hollin Hills, VA neighborhood, where they raised their two children.

In 1982, Joan and Bob moved overseas, living in Morocco, Sri Lanka, and Rome and visiting more than 50 countries. As part of the official USAID and UN World Food Program communities, Joan was a vibrant informal ambassador for the US, cultivating warmth and friendships across the world. In Morocco she was one of the early foreign service spouses appointed as a Family/Community Liaison Officer and played a key part in designing that role. Returning to Washington in 1992, Joan became involved with the Women’s National Democratic Club and shortly thereafter was elected its President. From that engagement with influential Democratic women, Joan volunteered for Hillary Clinton in the First Lady’s public relations office. She also was deeply engaged with the intercultural women’s group, Welcome to Washington, serving as President there as well.

Joan loved nature, music, design and color (especially blue), cooking and entertaining, sports, bridge, all-manner of word games, travel, her summer home in Maine, and engaging with new cultures. Above all she loved her family. She was quick to make friends and had a gift for making people feel comfortable and appreciated. Her vitality, constant smile and contagious warmth were borne of a worldview that all people are basically good, and that all problems are fundamentally manageable.

Joan leaves behind her husband of 64 years, Robert Carroll Chase; her daughter Linda Beth Sheriff (Jack Sheriff) of Arlington, VA; her son, Robert Stanford Chase (Genevieve Drewes) of Takoma Park, MD; and four grandchildren, Peter and Libby Sheriff, and Annabelle and Robert B Chase. She will be sorely missed by her two siblings, Carole Davis of Kennewick, WA, and David Stanford (Carolyn) of Vienna, VA; her brother-in-law, Ted Chase (Bobbie) and numerous nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held sometime in the weeks ahead with details on the following website (https://obituaries.virginiacremate.com/obituaries/11561067); in lieu of flowers, consider a donation to World Learning (https://www.worldlearning.org/) or the National Aphasia Association (https://aphasia.org/).

Published by The Washington Post on Jan. 7, 2024.

Djime Djibrine Adoum, Ph.D.

1958-2023

Djime D. Adoum, Ph.D., 65, passed away at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC on Friday, December 15, 2023, after a short illness. He was born in a small village, Karal, in the outskirts of Ndjamena, Chad to his late father Adoum Djibrine and late mother Hawa Oumar. He had one brother and three sisters, Mahamat, Fatime, Ache and Danaa, and two half-brothers, Idriss and Adam. He met and married Carol McDaniel Adoum in 1979 and was the loving father of son Zane Oustaz Adoum (wife Amani AlKhalil) and daughter Sophia Amare Adoum.

Up until approximately grade 4, Djime attended the local school in Karal, and then due to lack of further grades in the village was transferred to a boarding school in a larger town. Upon the death of his father, he was put in the care of an uncle in Ndjamena and moved there to continue his schooling. He graduated from high school and went to work for his electrician Uncle Moussa Abkress, who taught him the electrician skills and ultimately received a contract at Care-Tchad. Djime went on to work directly for Care-Tchad. On one assignment in 1979 he traveled with a large team to the south of Chad where they installed granaries in farms and villages, and where Chadian civil war broke out in February and Carol was evacuated by Peace Corps. Djime barely made it back to Ndjamena with his team unharmed. Following this separation, they met in Yaounde, Cameroon and subsequently Djime followed Carol to the U.S. after getting his Chadian passport and a U.S. visa. They were married in October 1979 in Cumberland, Maryland.

Djime studied English and obtained his high school GED in Washington, DC and they moved to Maryland for Djime’s studies to continue at the University of Maryland, where he obtained his B.S. and M.S. in Agronomy and his Ph.D. in Agricultural Extension and Education. During this time he worked several jobs, as well as USAID contracts in developing countries. Towards the end of his Ph.D. the two moved to Chad, Djime with a Care-Tchad contract and Carol with a PC staff contract. Following this assignment, they returned to the U.S. so Djime could finish his Ph.D. dissertation (1992). Djime continued to work on consulting contracts for a variety of NGOs and consulting firms on World Bank, USAID and other developing country activities throughout Africa. In 1993 he was asked by USAID/Chad to be their Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist so the small family (now with Zane as a 1.5 year-old) moved to Chad. Upon of USAID Chad in 1995, they returned to the U.S. where daughter Sophia was born. In the U.S., he conducted numerous new consultancies and in 1998 to 1999 he was named Director of Africa Programs at consulting firm International Business Initiatives, and subsequently performed many consultancies after leaving IBI. In 2001 he was hired by The Mitchell Group as their Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist to USAID. From 2003 to 2010 he worked for USDA as their Strategic Planning and Accountability Specialist. Called by the Chadian President to give back to his country of origin, in 2010 he left the U.S. to become the President’s Senior Technical Advisor for Rural Development, and then was appointed Minister of Agriculture for Chad from 2011 to 2013. During this time, he introduced many new programs to streamline the Ministry, direct agricultural technology availability to small rural farmers, and work more closely with local farmer groups to achieve better yield and product quality. Djime was then appointed as the Executive Director of CILSS (Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel) located in Burkina Faso and covering the 8 to 9 nations across the Sahelian area of Africa (2013 to 2020). In his final assignment, he was named High Ambassador to the EU representing the Coalition of the Sahel (Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania) based in Brussels, Belgium where he worked tirelessly to provide coordination and help to these countries in their fight against terrorism, improvement of domestic security, and development, while representing their interests to the EU and other nations. His term ended in January 2023 when he was diagnosed with acute kidney failure and returned to his home in the U.S.

Djime was not only driven by improving the lives of the many with whom he came in touch in work, he also loved his family near and far, and supported their many endeavors personally. In the early years he provided much care-giving of his young family while Carol was working and on travel, he coached his son’s soccer team for several years, was an avid fan of his daughter’s dance career, and worked hard to provide sustenance and support to his many extended family members in Chad. He mentored and coached several youth groups across the Sahel and engaged in vital discussions with the people of his home village of Karal. For fun, there were many family camping trips and family events at Thanksgiving and Christmas with extended family. He gave of himself tirelessly up until the last minute when news of a kidney transplant offered hope of continued work in this regard, but which ultimately resulted in his death.

His funeral prayers were held on Monday, December 18 at the Diyanet Center of America at 9704 Good Luck Road, Lanham, MD 20706, burial at the Al-Firdaus Memorial Gardens in Frederick, MD following prayers. The family requests those wishing to express sympathy consider making a donation in his honor to Palestinian Children Relief Fund (https://www.pcrf.net/) or Dignity Memorial (https://www.dignitymemorial.com/support-friends-and-family/memorial-trees).

Published by The Washington Post on Jan. 2, 2024.

William “Bill” Theodore White, Jr.

William Theodore White Jr., known to his loved ones and friends as Bill, passed away on July 19, 2023, from pancreatic cancer at the age of 92 in Falls Church, VA. Born in 1931 in Cleveland, Ohio, Bill was a beloved and remarkable individual who will be deeply missed by his family and all who knew him.

Always impeccably dressed and meticulously well-groomed, Bill was the epitome of kindness, thoughtfulness, and sensitivity. He had a warm and compassionate nature that endeared him to everyone he met. Bill was a wonderful listener, making sure that everyone he spoke with felt acknowledged and respected.

Bill is survived by his children, William T. White III of Falls Church, VA, David H. White of Atlanta, GA, and Angela E. Avino-Bennett of Fredericksburg, VA. He also leaves behind three granddaughters, Selena D. Avino of Fredericksburg, VA, Lakota L. Moyah (Norman) of Thunderchild First Nation, Saskatchewan, Canada, and Abraxas M. White of Washington, DC, as well as three great-grandsons, Wavoka, Muhegan, and Sylvester Moyah, of Thunderchild First Nation, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Bill pursued higher education at Ohio State University and postgraduate studies at Case Western Reserve. Additionally, he proudly served as a medic in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, contributing to the defense and security of our nation.

Throughout his career, Bill made significant contributions in various fields. He began his professional journey directing business and economic development projects for the Los Angeles Area Economic Development Agency. Later, he worked for the Los Angeles County Government and served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia. Bill also worked as an Assistant Director for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the Housing and Urban Development in the Model Cities Program and managed a $3.6 million dollar development program for Africare in Ethiopia. He established World Vision International’s presence in Baluchistan Province, Pakistan, and contributed to relief and rehabilitation assistance for Afghan refugees. Bill’s career also involved directing international training for the Agency for International Development (AID) and managing U.S. Economic Development programs for the Sahel and West Africa region, serving as a Senior Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State. He later worked for various organizations, including the consulting group American Council on Asia and Pacific Affairs, American Airlines, The Sigur Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University, and as Chief of Staff for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Bill’s passion for travel, fitness, reading, current affairs, spirituality, and philosophy enriched his life. He explored 21 countries in Africa, 12 countries in Europe, and 16 countries in the Middle East and Asia. Bill was multilingual, speaking Amharic, French, Urdu, and English.

In addition to his remarkable achievements, Bill was a devoted father, grandfather, and friend. He leaves behind a legacy of kindness, compassion, and intellectual curiosity. Bill’s presence will be deeply missed, but his memory will forever live on in the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing him.

Published by Legacy Remembers on Sep. 17, 2023.

Scott Allen

(December 2, 1953 – October 30, 2023)

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Scott Allen on October 30, 2023. A loving husband, devoted father, and accomplished professional, Scott leaves behind a legacy of passion, dedication, and expertise that touched the lives of many.  Scott was born in Coronado, California, in 1953, but his formative years were spent in Idaho. He embarked on his academic journey at Idaho University and furthered his education at Ohio University, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Oxford. In pursuit of knowledge and excellence, he graduated with a Master’s in Economics and International Affairs.

Scott’s professional journey was marked by a wealth of experience and a commitment to making a positive impact. As a Partner at Allen Consulting Ltd. since July 2014, he played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s success.  In his role as Deputy CEO of TradeMark East Africa from April 2010 to July 2014, Scott significantly contributed to the organization’s mission of facilitating regional economic integration and promoting trade in the East African Community. His tenure at TradeMark East Africa was emblematic of his dedication to meaningful and sustainable development.

Scott’s commitment to international development was evident throughout his career. As a Trade Advisor for USAID/East Africa from October 2009 to April 2010, he provided technical assistance and advice to USAID’s regional program in East and Central Africa. His role as Team Leader for DFID in September 2009 involved designing the TradeMark East Africa trade and regional integration program for Burundi.  He further served as an AGOA Advisor for Segura IP3, coordinating the annual high-level Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, from May 2009 to August 2009. Scott’s dedication extended to various roles, including International Development Consultant at Management Systems International, where he provided advisory services to USAID/Sudan Economic Growth teams.

Scott’s impactful leadership as Chief of Party for the USAID-funded Agriculture Marketing and Enterprise Development project in Juba, Sudan, from May 2007 to August 2008, demonstrated his ability to revitalize programs in challenging environments. His role as Chief of Party/Trade Policy Advisor for the East and Central Africa Global Competitiveness Hub in Nairobi, Kenya, from 2003 to 2007, showcased his commitment to building capacity for trade policy formulation and implementation.  Throughout his career, Scott held diverse roles, from Senior Policy Advisor for USAID/Regional Center for Southern Africa from 1996 to 2003 to serving as an Economist for various organizations, including the U.S. Department of Energy and the Peace Corps in Liberia.

In addition to his professional achievements, Scott Allen was a loving husband of 20 years to his beloved wife, Wairimu, and a devoted father to three children, Ashley, Robert, and Sam.  To honor Scott’s memory and his contributions to international development, we include the logos of TradeMark East Africa, USAID, Management Systems International, and Winrock International.  May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Kenneth Howard Sherper

Kenneth Howard Sherper was born February 10, 1936, in Minneapolis, MN, and passed away November 5, 2023, at the age of 87 in Kalispell, MT. He led a wide-ranging and active life, while making significant contributions to the lives and well-being of people globally. Ken and his twin brother, Keith, were two of five children. They put themselves through college, earning bachelor’s degrees in agriculture in 1957 and master’s degrees in agricultural economics in 1961, both at The University of Minnesota. Their father died at a work accident in 1938, so they were forced to earn money for attending university with numerous jobs, including renting and farming 160 acres.

In January of 1961, when the Kennedy Administration initiated the Peace Corps, Ken and his brother Keith applied together and were in the first group sent to India in December 1961. They taught agricultural extension and modern methodologies, worked in villages to introduce improved crops and farming practices, and helped establish modern poultry production in the Punjab.

Ken met his future wife, Julieanna Morrell, at a hospital in New Delhi where she was working as a nurse. They became engaged and then married in England in 1964 after Ken traveled with his brother Keith around Africa and Europe. Ken and Julie then traveled to the U.S. arriving completely broke and unemployed, but in possession of a 1936 Rolls Royce Phantom III which Ken and Keith had purchased for pennies in India.

Back in Minnesota, Ken began working for the Farmer’s Home Administration and this consolidated his world view that people in poverty everywhere in the world, whether they live in Kittson County, Minnesota, or the Punjab have something in common; they are innovative, persistent, and resourceful. This perspective set a foundation for Ken’s future employment with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), where he worked from 1965 to 1994.

Ken and Julie had two children during his five-year assignment to Korea. Although Korea was their favorite post, Ken also had long-term assignments in Ethiopia, Lesotho, and Yemen. Ken obtained a PhD from Cornell University, where he did his dissertation on land reform in Korea. Later, as the USAID Director in Yemen, the education of women was pivotal to Ken’s work as demonstrated with inroads made into family planning education for Yemeni women. Recognizing Ken’s leadership capability, he was assigned to the position of USAID Counselor, the highest career position in the Agency. After retiring from USAID in 1994, he worked at the United Nations Development Programme in New York for four years, focusing his energies on expanding UNDP efforts to improve governance in developing countries.

Another post-retirement activity was to own and operate with his brother a family Christmas tree farm in Paeonian Springs, Virginia. Ken and his wife lived in their home in Clarke County, Virgina, for several years before finally moving to Whitefish, Montana, to be near their daughter, Dawn. Kenneth Sherper is survived by his brother Keith and his two daughters Lisa and Dawn.

Edna Minor Johnson

Edna Minor Johnson died on September 29, 2023, at the age of 97. She was born September 5, 1926, in New Orleans, LA to Theodore Minor and Madeline Sears Minor. Ted, a former railroad worker from Woodville, Mississippi, became one of New Orleans most prominent entrepreneurs by forming Progressive Insurance Company. Madeline, originally from St. Francisville, LA was a loving, religious woman who espoused self-respect and dignity. In addition to her parents, Edna is preceded in death by her sister Leah Zeno and brother Ted Minor Jr., aka Brother.

Edna’s parents instilled in her and her siblings the importance of maintaining a classy yet unobtrusive image. Edna was employed by her father at a young age to manage his books and count his money. She shared “Working for my father gave me a sense of independence and joy because I was able to help.”

Edna was the first in the family to attend college. She graduated from Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA having pledged Sigma Gamma Rho, with a degree in Home Economics. It was there that she met Vernon C. Johnson, whom she described as smart, kind, patient and a phenomenal card player. They married shortly after graduation and soon had their first child Marcia. They also purchased the home Edna was raised in from her aunt and uncle. That home on Cherokee Street remains in our family.

Even though they returned to New Orleans, the Johnsons were always focused on moving forward. Vernon was soon accepted into the graduate program at the University of Wisconsin, so the young family packed up and moved to Madison. Soon thereafter they welcomed their son Evans. Upon Vernon earning his PhD in Agricultural Economics, the family moved to Greensboro, NC where Vernon taught at North Carolina A&T University. It was there that he and a few other professors were the first African-Americans recruited to join the U.S. State Department in the USAID division. Soon he, Edna, Marcia and Evans were headed overseas.

For the next two decades, the Johnsons lived and worked in India (1957-1960), Nigeria (1960-1968), Uganda (1968-1970), and Tanzania (1970-1974). While Vernon was learning the lay of the land, Edna launched her own unofficial career. She was the de facto leader of the other U.S. diplomatic wives who were, in turn, in charge of entertaining and nourishing their counterparts and important guests overseas.

While Edna was not directly involved in diplomatic work, she provided the critical social support to elevate Vernon’s career. Diplomacy, after all, involves much finesse: it is more art than science. Edna proved to be a master entertainer and enthralled a host of congress persons and senators, along with the likes of former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, First Lady Patricia Nixon, future First Lady Barbara Bush, and Congressman John Lewis. Vernon Johnson, the proud son of an enslaved man from Mississippi, rose to become Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. That would not have happened without Edna Minor Johnson.

Edna was well prepared for a life that most could only dream of. She was not only a wife to Vernon but a business partner. In order to be an outstanding hostess, she had to look the part. Edna was known for her stylish attire, beautiful jewelry, and elegance. “You have to be dignified.”

The couple survived violent upheavals in post-colonial Sub-Saharan Africa—most notably the murderous regime of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, which forced their family to abandon its post or risk calamity. Leaving Uganda meant Edna had to say goodbye to Amin’s four wives, whom she adored despite the excesses of their husband. Edna and Vernon returned to the States permanently when they became grandparents to Simone, James III, Ashland, and Milan Griffin. Silver Spring, Maryland, was her home since 1979.

When Vernon retired from Foreign Service, after serving as USAID Mission Director in Uganda and Tanzania (1968-1973) and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Edna remained active in the Washington, D.C. area. She served as treasurer of the local YWCA, president of the Silver Spring Kappa Alpha Psi Silhouettes, distinguished positions in the Democratic Club, and
volunteered at the polls during elections. One might assume that she relaxed a bit in her declining years, but Edna continued to work in her church, and support her family. Edna Johnson was a woman of determination, sophistication, world travel, and honor. She prided herself on taking care of loved ones, including her husband, children, grandchildren, numerous family members, and in her final years doting on her beloved great-grandchildren. For Edna’s grandchildren, the word “consistency” best defines her. She was always present and available for love. Whether it was holding a secret, getting a child to take their medication, being spooned to get to sleep, or spending quality time watching the Golden Girls and 227, they got what they needed and wanted. Everyone felt unconditionally supported and loved.

Mrs. Johnson leaves behind her children Marcia and Evans; her favorite son-in-law Jim; four grandchildren Simone (Kirk), James III, Ashland (Kathy), and Milan; four great-grandchildren Akoya, Audrey, Kaden and Kenji Griffin; niece Shanelle James (Giles), nephews Reginald Zeno, Brandon James (Janika), and Kelvin Johnson; and countless other family and friends. Special thanks go to the brothers of the Silver Spring chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc, particularly Ken Morris and caretakers Jeannie, Maria and Thomas. Edna was a major source of stability in the lives of everyone she loved. While she was often behind the scenes throughout her 97 years of existence, it is abundantly clear that those scenes would not have been nearly as complete—nor as beautiful—without her.

Manuel Emilio Valderrama-Aramayo

Manuel Emilio Valderrama-Aramayo was born in Tupiza, Bolivia, on June 25, 1922. He passed away on November 27, 2023, at the age of 101. Manuel occupied a front-row seat to key events in 20th-century Latin American history. As a law student in La Paz in July 1946, he participated in protests against the dictatorship of Gualberto Villarroel and had to evade machine gunfire from government forces. During the bloody revolution that followed, he prevented an urban catastrophe by commandeering fire engines and extinguishing an inferno in the city’s armory before it reached the explosive ordnance.  Upon arriving at the presidential palace, he found that Villarroel had been killed, lynched and hung on a lamp post by a mob. Manuel accompanied the president’s corpse to the morgue in the fire engine.

At 24 years of age, Manuel was appointed as Chief of Staff of Bolivia’s Ministry of Foreign Relations by Vice-President Mamerto Urriolagoitia. He organized Bolivia’s diplomatic mission to the 9th Pan-American Conference in Bogotá, Colombia in 1948, which created the Organization of American States (OAS). Bogotá was suddenly plunged into a violent revolution (“El Bogotazo”) and Manuel was alarmed to find himself walking in the middle of the proverbial No Man’s Land between hundreds of armed rebels and government forces. While seeking refuge at the palace guard battalion headquarters, he and the diplomatic corps endured an unrelenting rebel siege that extended through most of the night. In 1953, Manuel married Maria Teresa Aramayo, who survives him. He established a law practice with lifelong friend and future president, Luís Adolfo Siles Salinas.

In 1955, Manuel became the first Bolivian hired by the U.S. State Department’s Point-Four Program in Bolivia (a precursor to US-AID), was made its highest-ranking local officer and then designed some of the boldest and most important development projects of that era. In 1960, Felipe Herrera Lane, first president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), recruited Manuel to help launch that organization’s operations in Washington, DC. Manuel planned and secured Board approval for the IDB’s very first development project within just a few weeks. His IDB operational assignments took him to 19 countries throughout the hemisphere. In the late 1960s, Manuel played a key role in the financing and initial development of an uninhabited Mexican island called Cancún. Manuel negotiated with famous leaders, such as General Juan Perón of Argentina, Luís and Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua, François (“Papa Doc”) and Jean-Claude (“Baby Doc”) Duvalier of Haiti and had a close working relationship with Fernando Belaúnde Terry in Peru.

After returning to DC in 1980, Manuel created the legal structure of the IDB’s affiliated organization, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), now commonly known as IDB Invest. Throughout his time at the IDB, he demonstrated a special concern for the welfare of his staff. Manuel is beloved and survived by his wife, six children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. A service will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2023, at 11:30 AM at the St. Bartholomew (6900 River Rd, Bethesda, MD 20817).

Alan Mayne Strout

Alan Mayne Strout, age 96, died peacefully in Needham on May 17, 2023, surrounded by family.  Alan was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1926 and grew up in Washington DC, son of intrepid political correspondent Richard Lee Strout, Edith Mayne, and brother to Phyllis, Nancy, Betsy and Mary. Alan joined the war effort in 1944, attending Cornell University for Navy Training and Mechanical engineering. His education resulted in a BS there, along with an MA in Economics and PhD in Planning from the University of Chicago. While there, Alan met the love of his life, Caroline Briggs Schindler, and they were married in 1956.
Alan and Caroline lived first on Beacon Hill in Boston before an opportunity in international planning with the UN, AID and ultimately as Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute brought them to Washington DC in 1962. In 1969 Alan, along with Caroline and their 2 young sons, moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, where Alan taught and consulted with several SE Asian governments and universities (through the Agricultural Development Counsel) until their return to Weston, Massachusetts in 1974.
Alan continued to consult and publish in economic journals for the remainder of his long career. For years Alan lectured at MIT in Boston, ultimately becoming Executive Director of the Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) there beginning in 1988.
Alan passed on his love of travel, adventure and storytelling to his sons, their wives and his 4 grandchildren. He had a rich and meaningful life, touching many friends, students and loving family.
A celebration of his life is being planned and donations in his memory can be sent to the Davenport Historical Society, 11790 NY-23, Davenport Center, NY 13751.

Edgar Carson Harrell

Born 1934 – Died 2023
After a far-ranging career in the foreign ser- vice, business, teaching and entrepreneurial development, Edgar C. Harrell, age 89, died in Washington, DC on October 31, 2023. He was born in Baltimore September 6, 1934, attended Dickinson College (BS 1955), and served three years in the Navy before venturing to Japan and India with Rohm and Haas. His experience in Asia of the late 1950s sparked his interest in development work, and in 1962 he began a PhD program in economics at Columbia University where he met his wife of 58 years, Paula, in Japanese language class. In 1965, they moved to Japan for two years before Ed joined the State Department serving briefly in Japan, then as USAID economist in Thailand, Mission Director in Jordan, followed by a DC- based job establishing USAID’s new Bureau of Private Enterprise. After retiring from State, Ed taught at Dickinson and Johns Hopkins, helped establish a new university in Harrisburg, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, and served on a host of advisory boards from Penn State to the PACE/Shidler center at the University of Hawaii. He was a willing advisor to entrepreneurs of all ages, including not only early-stage startup hopefuls, but youngsters in Honolulu middle schools. Ed and his sons, Erik, Philip, and Matthew established a family venture capital fund, Harrell Capital Partners, in 2001. Ed is survived by his wife, sons, and dear daughters-in-law, Brooke Harrell and Liz Harrell, and grandchildren Andrew, Emilia, Tommy, Mattias, Carson, Libby, Anna, Emma, Julia and Tessa, the best legacy of all. Services will be private.

Palmer Newcombe Stearns Jr.

Palmer Newcombe Stearns, Jr. of McLean, VA, died peacefully on October 29, 2023, in McLean, Virginia.  He was 90 years old.  He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Patricia Flint Stearns; daughter Emmy Nadiga, and son Palmer (Amy) Newcombe Stearns, III; grandchildren Tara Nadiga, Jayant Nadiga, Samant Nadiga, Jacob Stearns, and Lucas Stearns. Mr. Stearns was born on November 7, 1932, in Washington, DC to the late Lucille Williams Stearns and Palmer Newcombe Stearns, Sr. He graduated from Culpeper High School in 1949 and Episcopal High School in 1951, where he played football, baseball and soccer. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and later took multiple classes toward a Masters degree in Engineering Administration at George Washington University. He served and was a paratrooper in the U.S Army and was based at Fort Benning, Georgia before being stationed in Korea until his honorable discharge with the rank of Second Lieutenant in 1958. His professional career as a Civil Engineer included the Virginia Department of Highways, U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, and the U.S. Agency for International Development where he was Chief Transportation Engineer, Chief African Bureau Engineer, and Acting Director of Engineering. Following his retirement in 1984 he became U.S. Director of Construction Operations for Taylor Woodrow International Construction of the U.K. He was an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, General Contractors of America, and American Consulting Engineers’ Council and served on several committees of the Highway Research Board and National Association of County Engineers. He was devoted to his family and loved playing with his grandchildren. No funeral service will be held, his immediate family will be having a private celebration of his life in the near future.

Published by The Washington Post from Nov. 5 to Nov. 7, 2023.

Robert (Bob) Tallon Dakan

Robert (Bob) Tallon Dakan, a retired Senior Foreign Service officer and career mentor, passed away peacefully on October 29, 2023, at his home in Falls Church, Va. He was 84 years old.

Born on September 19, 1939, in Santa Cruz, Ca., Bob was the son of Helen and George Dakan. Growing up on the coast, Bob became a lifeguard and avid surfer, a passion that kept him young in body and mind well into his later years.

After graduating from Santa Cruz High School, Bob studied dentistry and boxed for two years at the University of San Francisco. But his affinity for sports and coaching led him to San Jose State, where he also played volleyball and earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1961.

In 1963, inspired by President John F. Kennedy, Bob joined the Peace Corps. He served in Semarang, Indonesia. During his two years there, he met Damayati (Maya) Djoyoadhiningrat. In late 1965, they were married in a service not far from where Maya was born, in Oegstgeest, the Netherlands. By late 1966, Bob had joined the Foreign Service, and he and Maya moved to Laos, where they started a family and stayed for the next eight years, only leaving the country when USAID exited in 1975.

From that point forward, Bob’s career was dedicated to public service. He either worked directly for or contractually with USAID in Laos, Burkina Faso, Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand and Belize. He also served in Washington, D.C., as the Pakistan Desk Officer, and earned a mid-career, USAID-supported graduate degree in Agricultural Economics from Stanford University.

Bob retired from the Foreign Service in 1999, following his posts as Mission Director in Belize and Office Director in the Latin America and Caribbean Bureau. But he continued to work with USAID, including once again in Indonesia, following Timor Leste’s independence in 2002 and the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, where he was particularly invested in sustainable coffee enterprises in Timor and in the (re)construction of the 175-km Aceh Road in North Sumatra.

From 2008 to 2023, Bob continued to give back, but this time as a career coach to new entrants to the USAID Foreign Service, helping to guide them through the organization’s ever-evolving structure and culture. He has maintained lasting connections with many of those colleagues, often offering support and guidance throughout their career trajectories.

Bob is survived by Maya, his two daughters, Lana and Sinta, their families, including four grandchildren, and his brother, Don Dakan. He will be remembered by many for his unwavering dedication to and firmly held belief in the value of public service. Family and friends across generations will also remember him for his warmth, curiosity, caring and humor.

See https://www.bobdakan.net/

David Smith

(No obituary)

Glenn Edwin Schweitzer

Glenn Edwin Schweitzer, 93, died peacefully at home, in Menlo Park, CA, on October 14, 2023. He had lived much of his life in and around Washington, DC, moving to CA, with his wife, Carole, in 2021 to be near his two daughters and their families.

Born in Cleveland OH, on October 1, 1930, to William Kenmore Schweitzer and Helen Alberta Knuth, Glenn graduated from Claymont High, in Wilmington, DE. He spent his high school summers with his Aunt Cora and Uncle Archie, who was the superintendent at Lakeside, OH, a Chautauqua community that would become an annual reunion destination for extended and future family.
Having received an appointment to West Point, where he enjoyed sports as much as academics, he made lasting friendships that continued with his participation in the Class of 1953 alumni group in the DC area. He has said more than once that if he could live a part of his life over again, he would go back to West Point.

He was a man of amazing energy, intelligence, and passion, who loved a rich and rewarding social life with family and friends. In every spare moment, he played tennis, often packing his tennis racket, if there was any possibility of playing–and there often was.

The mantra that constantly motivated him was “how are we going to save the world today?”

Studying the Russian language while at West Point intensified his interest in global affairs and set the stage for his long career in international scientific cooperation, focusing primarily on U.S. scientific relations with Russia (and other countries of the former Soviet Union); Eastern Europe; and Iran. He also represented the United States in activities sponsored by NATO, the OECD, WHO, and OAS.

He was appointed in 1956 as a Foreign Service Officer, and soon arrived in Embassy Belgrade as Political Officer. In 1960, he was assigned by the State Department to the California Institute of Technology, where he earned his master’s degree in nuclear engineering. He subsequently conducted research activities at Argonne National Laboratory, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, Cornell University, and the University of North Carolina.

While at the State Department, Glenn was assigned to the science office of the new Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, followed by three years as the first Science Attache in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Other government assignments included Science Advisor for Marine Affairs in the Office of the Vice President, Director of USAID’s first office of science and technology, the first Director of EPA’s Office of Toxic Substances, and the Director of EPA’s Environmental Monitoring Systems Laboratory in Las Vegas, including service at the Nevada Test Site.

In the 1980s, he joined the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), in Washington DC, where he led the Academy’s efforts to preserve and expand its exchange program with the USSR. As the program expanded under his leadership, he was granted a leave of absence to move to Moscow in 1992, to lead the establishment of the International Science and Technology Center, which soon had 27 sponsoring countries and during two decades disbursed $1B in grants to provide support for redirection of former Soviet Union scientists to civilian research activities.

Beginning in 1999, he led establishment of new science relationships between the NAS and dozens of Iranian institutions, with 3,000 scientists from the two countries eventually participating in science exchange visits that continued until 2018.

A signature of Glenn’s commitment to people-to-people cooperation was to invite foreign delegations to his home for a meal, to see how ordinary Americans lived. One highlight evening included entertaining a dozen Russian scientists, the Russian Embassy Science Attache, and some 10 or so American scientists and Russophiles. Carole invited an accordion player to entertain, and by chance he was a member of the Balalaika Society and had been to Russia with a group of other performers. All evening, he played requests for traditional Russian folksongs.

Author of 12 books and dozens of extensive reports published by the NAS on international scientific affairs, Glenn led preparation of the 1999 NAS report “The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy,” which resulted in the creation of the Office of Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State.

Recipient of many national and international awards, Glenn most prized the Presidents’ Award from the NAS, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Institute of Medicine, in 2007; and in 2010, the Science Diplomacy Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, describing him as “a tireless advocate for international science cooperation and the expanding role of science in foreign relations.”

He was a man of high integrity, a man of peace, but not a peaceful man–always moving forward to make the world a better place.

He will be deeply missed by his wife, Carole, who lovingly remembers him for his steadfast support, quirky sense of humor, wide-ranging conversations, and shared adventures (including a trip to Chernobyl) during their 32 years together; daughter Carol Rossi (Craig) and granddaughters Sarah and Marie Rossi; daughter Diane Schweitzer (Steve Schramm) and grandsons Zak and Noah Schramm; brother Dennis Schweitzer (Jan); and a variety of relatives, colleagues, and friends around the globe. He is also survived by his first wife, Janet Leask, who is the mother of his children.

Inurnment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be determined.

Published by The Washington Post on Oct. 28, 2023.

John Michael Metelsky

John Michael Metelsky, of Silver Spring, Maryland, died on Sunday, October 1, 2023, at Holy Cross Hospital. He was 96.  John was born on August 11, 1927, in Bristol, Connecticut., He graduated from George Washington University (BA in Journalism, 1961) and American University (MA in Communications, 1967).  John worked for the Federal Government for 38 years, including serving as the press director of the US Agency for International Development (A.I.D.).  John was predeceased by his parents, Sergey Metelsky and Mildred Ponda Metelsky, siblings, Helen Metelsky Rosenblatt and Milton Metelsky, and niece and nephew, Judy Lopatosky and Jan Rosenblatt.  He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Sonia Seaton Metelsky of Silver Spring, MD; children, Sundance Metelsky of Greenbelt, MD, and Johnny Metelsky (Denise Lacen) of North Bergen, NJ; grandchildren, Wolfgang Seaton Williams Metelsky Oehser of Laurel, MD, and Zina Xena Metelsky Oehser of Bethesda, MD; and nephew, Robert Metelsky (Shujun Ge) of Burlington, CT, along with many friends and extended family members.  John was a member of the National Press Club for over 50 years. Memorial donations may be made in John Metelsky’s name to the National Press Foundation, https://nationalpress.org/donate/.

Visitation on Friday, October 6, at 3 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Gasch’s Funeral Home in Hyattsville, Maryland.  Funeral on Saturday, October 7, at 10 a.m. at Glenn Dale United Methodist Church followed by interment at 12:30 p.m. at Fort Lincoln Cemetery in Brentwood, Maryland. Details at https://www.gaschs.com/

Published by The Washington Post on Oct. 5, 2023.

 

 

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