In Memoriam

Recent Tributes

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Roy Allen Plucknett

Roy Allen Plucknett of Alexandria, Virginia, passed away at the age of 62 on June 6, 2022.

Michael Farbman

November 20, 1943 – April 16, 2023

Michael Farbman, retired USAID Senior Foreign Service Officer, died peacefully April 16, 2023, at home in Falls Church, VA. He is survived by his wife, Susan, three daughters and their families, including five grandchildren, and his sister, Bette Silverman.  A memorial gathering will be planned for autumn. Condolences may be made at

Mike was devoted to addressing inequality around the world, traveling to at least 74 countries and residing in ten over his long career. He loved nothing more than learning about and from different cultures. Wherever he visited, he enthusiastically sampled the local cuisine – the hotter the better. He was in every way an enthusiast – of food, people, travel, exercise, humor, music.  He loved to get to know people and is remembered for supporting and encouraging his colleagues. He loved every aspect of food– exploring markets, gardening, cooking for family and company, and especially trying new foods. He was puzzled, though, that others might not equally enjoy spicy chilis! Mike was an avid runner and bicyclist. In DC’s coldest winters in the 1980s, he skated along the canal to his office. He ran 10K races on weekends, accumulating a collection of race t-shirts that will long outlive him. He ran a marathon at age 50, averaging 8.5-minute miles. He skied, played tennis and volleyball, and worked out daily. His children learned that Christmas presents would be opened AFTER Dad finished his run. When Mike liked something, he loved it. He once nearly drove his car onto a neighbor’s lawn because he was laughing so hard at the memory of a Far Side cartoon. Music was a large presence in his life, covering an extraordinary range of styles from doo wop to traditional Georgian songs. He loved to sing along with every word. Family was a treasure in his life. He adored his grandchildren. He and his sister remained best friends his whole life, and his children and extended family were a regular source of fun and new experiences. Numerous friends and colleagues became adopted family.

Mike was born in Newark, NJ on November 20, 1943, and grew up in Maplewood, NJ. He received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, and his Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University. He spent seven years as Lecturer in Applied Economics at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He served as a consultant to the ILO’s World Employment Program in Geneva, Switzerland, doing field research in India. His teaching, research, and writing focused on the causes of income inequality in the US, the UK, and India. In 1977, Mike joined USAID’s then-Technical Assistance Bureau as an economist, responsible for developing a portfolio of employment and enterprise development projects. During his seventeen years in this capacity in Washington, he helped secure for USAID a leading role among donors in designing assistance techniques that generate jobs and promote training, investment, and technology access for micro- and small-scale enterprises as a means of improving the well-being of those in poverty and stimulating economic growth. Mike’s work as head of the PISCES project (“Program for Investment in the Small Capital Enterprise Sector”) is credited as the “genesis” of USAID’s microfinance assistance. The book he edited on the project led to application of the lessons learned.  In 1994, after serving as Director of the Asia/Private Enterprise Bureau’s office that promoted employment policy analysis and enterprise development activities, Mike converted to USAID’s Foreign Service.

He served as Mission Director in Morocco and in Albania; as Regional Mission Director for the Caucasus; as USAID Chair and Professor of Economics at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces; and as Mission Director in Kosovo. He retired from USAID in 2008 and received the Administrator’s Outstanding Career Achievement Award. After retirement, Mike worked on long-term and short-term contract assignments for USAID, including as PSC Senior Regional Coordinator at RDMA/Bangkok. He was active as a volunteer with the Inter- national Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation (IWMF), and was recognized with its Judith May Volunteer Award in 2021. The family requests that in lieu of sending flowers, contributions be made to the IWMF (  To plant a tree in memory of Michael Farbman, please visit our Tribute Store.

Vivian Holliday Pennington

Vivian Holliday Pennington (nee; Vivian Louise Holliday) joined her beloved “Preach” on their final journey together on February 21, 2023, just 7 days short of her 100th birthday. Vivian was the firstborn of seven children born to Millard Alvarez Holliday and Nina Maude Holliday (nee; Morrison). She was born in Edmond, West Virginia. She was predeceased by both parents and all of her siblings: Millard Alvarez Holliday II, Daniel Mays Holliday, Elizabeth Jane Holliday (infant death), Janice Rose Holliday (infant death), Lou Henry Holliday Viewig, Phyllis Holliday Fox. She was also predeceased by her beloved son Ron who is survived by his partner Richard Plante of NYC.

Vivian graduated from Nuttall high school at the age of 16 and was class Valedictorian. After graduation, she met the love of her life, R.C. “Preach” Pennington while working at the coal company store. Things were tough then and she said that her dad allowed her to keep the coin from her paycheck but she gave the paper money to the family. She married Preach in 1941 and he joined the US Navy to do his duty during WWII. She read in the paper that his ship had been sunk and had to wait for almost 6 weeks to hear whether he was safe or not and found out as he walked through the front door on survivor’s leave. After the war and Preach’s discharge from the service, their life together really started. Preach worked for Viccellio and Grogan on multiple construction projects in the West Virginia area including building the Charleston WV Airport. In 1947 they were blessed with their eldest child Ronald Charles Pennington (deceased) born in Charleston. When the job market started to wind down in West Virginia they decided to try a move to the wilds of New Mexico and arrived in Albuquerque in 1949. In 1952 they had their second child Daniel Holliday Pennington. In 1953 Preach took a position with the Thai Corps of Engineers in northern Thailand to build a dam for flood control. The contract was for 2 years and they extended it for a third. During the third year, their daughter Carolyn Anong Pennington (Ugarte) was born in Bangkok. In honor of her birth in Thailand, she was given a Thai middle name. It was at the close of this contract that Vivian and 2 other women from Albuquerque, Laura Newcomer, and Mary Yates, were given the honor of cooking dinner for the King and Queen of Thailand. She/they cooked chicken pot pie, as requested by the king, in an oven made of sheet metal and heated on charcoal braziers. The women were all rewarded with a small bag of gold-dipped coins by their majesties. The family next moved to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and spent the next 5 years in that island paradise. Vivian hiked to the top of Adams Peak where it was said that Buddha first stepped into Ceylon, she went on safari with Preach and the family, dug for sapphires, spent time on a close friend’s tea plantation, and climbed Sigiriya Rock. The next move was to Cairo, Egypt as Preach took a contract position with the Department of State helping to drill Artesian water wells in the Western Saharan Desert. New adventures were had here as well – digging up mummies and exploring a desert area where it was estimated that it had only received one inch of rain in the past 100 years. As was to be her modus operandi, Vivian joined the American Women’s Club and became the president — this was to be an occurrence for every organization she joined. From Egypt she returned to Albuquerque with her children while Preach spent the first of two years in Vietnam, the second year of that duty they moved the family back to Thailand where Vivian became President of the American Women’s Club and rallied the women into modeling for the Thai Silk Company of Jim Thompson. This was a return to the modeling she had done during the war years for the Diamond Department Store in Charleston, WV. The family next moved to Vientiane, Laos for 10 years where she again won the presidency of the American Women’s Club and spearheaded their charity efforts. In addition to those efforts, she taught conversational English for the Defense Language Institute and took over as Postmaster for the embassy Post Office. When Laos fell to the Communists in 1975, she and Preach were virtual hostages in Vientiane for a number of weeks until things could be sorted out for evacuation. Preach’s last posting was to Manila in the Philippines where he retired in 1977. Upon retirement, they came home to Albuquerque where Vivian had a satisfying career in real estate, fleshed out both her and Preach’s family histories, and joined The Daughters of the American Revolution. True to form, she successfully ran for and won the post of State Regent for the Lew Wallace Chapter. She wrote the history of the Lew Wallace Chapter and that book is listed in the Library of Congress. She lost Preach after 56 years of marriage and for a while dated Robert Hooper of Arizona. Eventually returning to Albuquerque, she spent her final years doting on her children Anong and her husband Cesar Ugarte, and Dan and Angela Pennington (nee: Petrino), her grandchildren Daniel H. Pennington II and Stephanie E. Pennington Corner and her husband Brian Corner. Up until the beginning of the Covid pandemic, she enjoyed playing bridge weekly with her partners Betty Lovering, Ruth Montoya, and Royce Fletcher at Palo Duro Senior Center.

            The family thanks the caregivers from Home Instead to include among others Martha Lucero, Michelle Carpenter, Yvette Mathews, Heidi Markham, Marie Lakits and Roadrunner Hospice for their care and concern for Mom.

            She will be missed by her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends around the world who loved her stories of adventure in the jungles and deserts of the world.

            She had a love of life and a mantra that gave her solace and that was that she “was not older than us – she had just been young a whole lot longer than we had.”

Kerry J. Byrnes

Kerry J. Byrnes passed away Friday morning, March 24. 2023, after suffering a stroke on March 21.  A secondary stroke occurred later that day as a result of brain bleeding caused by a bad reaction from the TNK anti-coagulent drug administered to break up the initial clot. Following the 2nd stroke, Kerry never regained consciousness and a subsequent brain MRI revealed extensive, irreversible brain damage.

Family visitation (10:30 am) and brief memorial services (11:30 am) will be held at the Money & King Funeral Home (171 Maple Ave. W, Vienna, VA) on Monday, April 3, 2023. The memorial/prayer service will be streamed live and accessible on the Money & King website in the days after the ceremony (https:\\

 Kerry had a very constructive career trying to advance rural and agricultural development in many nations to improve lives around the world. Traveling to some 39 countries throughout his career, getting him back on the road for additional international travel in his retirement years was a “tough sell” for Sonia, his wife.  Still, they enjoyed several trips abroad over the last 9 years since his 2014 retirement.  The family appreciates the many expressions of love, condolences and prayerful support extended to his spouse, Sonia, and the other members of Kerry’s family. 

To see a long version of his obituary, please click here.

Eric Robert Loken

On Wednesday, January 11, 2023, Eric Robert Loken, loving husband and father, passed away at his home in New Bern, North Carolina, at the age of seventy-one. A passionate environmentalist, Eric earned a degree in environmental engineering from Johns Hopkins University and spent 30 years in the USAID Foreign Service serving at posts in Sri Lanka, Morocco, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. Eric was known for his dedication to development and to the people, animals, and habitats that he tried to help.

While overseas, Eric spent his off-time golfing with friends or on safari with his family. When his wife or daughter would spot a “deer-like creature”, he could always identify the antelope and took some gorgeous animal photos (though by the time he focused his camera, he was taking a photo of the animal’s behind). In his retirement, you could find Eric restoring his 1952 Willys Jeep that he bought for $1 in graduate school or bird-watching from his home on the Neuse River with a crossword puzzle book at the ready. He started every day giving his beloved dogs, Thor and Sadie, extra-long rub downs in his favorite chair before settling in to read the Times.

Eric was known for his intelligence, determination, wit, and passion. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Kathy, and his daughter, Casey, who followed in his footsteps in international development. The family is honoring his memory in private; in lieu of giving flowers, the family asks that those who are able instead make a donation to the American Cancer Society.

May love and happiness be in your life always,
Kristin Loken
PO Box 337, Falling Waters, WV 25419
304 274-1285

Portia Linnea Palmer

Portia Linnea Palmer, a Hyde Park-Kenwood native and public servant, died February 6 in Tallahassee, Florida, of natural causes. She was 63 years old. Ms. Palmer enjoyed an exciting, high-profile career in government.  Most recently, she served as director of strategic initiatives and special projects in the Florida College System for the Florida Department of Education.  Prior to that, she was appointed as clerk of the Florida House of Representatives in 2016, the first African-American woman to hold that position. Her responsibilities included performing the ministerial duties for the 120-member House.

Ms. Palmer served her country as a political appointee during the George W. Bush administration in the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Ms. Palmer was USAID’s chief spokeswoman with media outlets, as well as internal and external audiences. At the State Department, Ms. Palmer was the primary liaison with governors, mayors and other U.S. elected officials. Other positions in her career include working as the press secretary of the Republican party in Florida, a senior policy advisor for the Miami-Dade County Commission as well as the City of Miami, and serving as chief executive officer of her Washington-based consulting company, Palmer Global Communication Group.

When she wasn’t working, Ms. Palmer was seeing the world with friends and family members. Her travels took her to Italy, Aruba, Belgium, West Africa and England, among other destinations. Ms. Palmer loved to write, and collected pens, stationery and notebooks. Her loved ones cherish the beautiful postcards, letters and cards she mailed to them over the years.

Ms. Palmer was educated in Kenwood at the now-shuttered Harvard St. George School. She graduated from the now-closed Aquinas High School on the city’s South Side, and Mount Vernon College, renamed George Washington University, in Washington.  Known for her flair for fashion, Ms. Palmer loved dressing boldly and frequently sat in the front row of the Ebony Fashion Fair. Her smile and laugh were infectious and she always rooted for the Bears, long after she left Chicago. She was also a proud godmother, a role she cherished. 

Ms. Palmer is survived by her brother, Dr. John M. Palmer Jr; her sister, Leslie E. Adkins; her niece, Lenore T. Adkins and her nephew, Philip I. Adkins, a cousin, Valerie Phillips and her children Luxha and Andres. Portia’s parents, Dr. John M. Palmer and Theresa M. Palmer, preceded her in death.

Funeral arrangements will be March 4 at 10 a.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 5472 S. Kimbark Ave., Chicago, IL, followed by a repast at Augustana Lutheran Church, 5500 S. Woodlawn Ave., at 12:30 p.m.

Richard “Noosh” Nishihara

Richard “Noosh” Nishihara, born February 15th, 1944, died September 8th, 2022, at the age of 78 in the loving presence of family and friends on Maui, Hawaii.  Noosh is survived by his wife, Phyllis Nakamura, daughters Megan and Ceri Nishihara, and countless family and friends.  Born in Kula, Maui, and adopted into the Nishihara family, Noosh would go on to attend Lahainaluna High School as a boarder, then University of Hawaii at Manoa and California Polytechnic State University where he developed and enhanced his affinity for agriculture. This passion took him all over the world. 

With boundless curiosity, contagious laugh, enduring respect, and gleeful humor, he touched inestimable lives around the globe. Serving in the IVS, Peace Corps, and with USAID, Noosh traveled the planet – Jamaica, Barbados, Nepal, Fiji, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, he returned to his home on Maui, creating a beautiful life in love and faith and golf.  The impact he had on everyone he met was felt deeply, lives are better because he was in them.  Noosh never met a stranger, all were friends and treated like family. 

Heartfelt thanks to folks who cared for Noosh at Maui Memorial, Kahului Hale Makua, Hale Makua Home Health, Bayada Home Health, Hospice Maui.  Mahalo to Dr. Samuel Johnsen, Dr. Ian Okazaki, Dr. Arthur Chasen.  

Noosh’s family welcomed friends to join them in celebrating a remarkable life at Waiola Church Hall on Monday, October 10, 2022.  Lahaina Hongwanji Mission, being a significant part of his life, honored Noosh privately.  He was laid to rest in LHM columbarium.  In lieu of flowers, we suggest donations in his memory to Lahaina Hongwanji Mission.  Condolences can be made at

Harold P. Kurzman

Harold P. Kurzman died peacefully on February 16, 2023, at the age of 86 in hospice care in Ft. Myers, Florida. Harold was born on December 14, 1936, to Eleanor Hess and Harold P. Kurzman Sr. and grew up in New York City. He was a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Haverford College, and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. For many years he served as a foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department’s Agency for International Development and subsequently as a transportation economist for Louis Berger Consultants. Harold lived and worked throughout the world, including in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Brazil, Argentina, Uganda, Turkey, the Philippines and Cameroon. Harold retired to Naples, Florida where he served as the Vice-Chair for the Coordinating Board of the Collier County Para-transit System; an award-winning photographer with the Naples Camera Club; and a volunteer for the Lee County Food Pantry. Moreover, he proudly donated platelets to the local blood bank for the past 18 years. Harold was predeceased by his loving wife, Udine Bowen Kurzman, and is survived by their two children, Cecelia M. Kurzman and Philip S. Kurzman, of California. He was the devoted grandfather of Dashiell and Roman Lacgalvis, and of Noelle and Sydney Kurzman, and the loving father-in-law of Jennifer Kurzman and the late Nikolas Lacgalvis. Harold is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Paul and Margaret Kurzman, and his cousins, Alfred and Joan deGraaff.

Published by New York Times on Feb. 26, 2023.

James J. Tarrant
James J. Tarrant, whose interest from an early age in the global ecology movement led him to become a leading expert on environmental policy in Indonesia and elsewhere in the developing world, died on January 30, 2023, after a long illness. He was 72.  Growing up in Pittsburgh, Jim received a gift of a spinning globe, which fascinated him. Inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s appeal to idealistic youth, Jim decided he would join the Peace Corps, which he did in 1972 after graduating from Allegheny College. He was sent to Ethiopia, where he taught English in a mountainous village school and helped set up water infrastructure. This began a lifetime practice of long, vivid letters and humorous drawings. 

Jim received a Masters from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a Ph.D. from the University of Sussex Institute of Development Studies. In his first overseas posting in the early 1980s, Jim set up environmental education centers at Indonesian universities, under the mentorship of Indonesia’s pioneering environment minister, Dr. Emil Salim. Indonesia is well renowned as one of the most significant places on Earth for a diversity of unique species in its magnificent rainforests and coral reefs. He then did extensive field studies on the traditional methods West Java farmers used to manage upland watersheds which became the basis of his Ph.D. In Indonesia he met his future wife, Cynthia Mackie, who also worked on nature conservation. 

Jim subsequently embarked on a series of assignments for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other donors on environmental and energy projects in Egypt, Cypress, Eastern Europe, Rwanda, Russia and Southeast Asia. The family returned to Indonesia in 1997 during a tumultuous period when the strongman ruler Suharto was toppled from power. Jim managed a major USAID project to improve Indonesia’s rainforest and coral reef management. This was a foundational initiative that built a robust cadre of Indonesian experts and model field programs that continue to inspire efforts to this day. 

Jim is survived by his widow Cynthia Mackie; their two children Kevin and Melati Tarrant; his mother, Kathleen Tarrant; two brothers, Bill and David; two sisters, Peggie, Mary Sue; nine nieces and nephews: Tavleen and Jasleen Tarrant; Narkeez and James Carlton, Natalie and Jackson Tarrant, Meredith Bendl and Steven DeGrace, and James Joseph O’Leary.

A Celebration of Life will be held in April by invitation only. Condolences and memories can be shared at:  Donations in his memory can be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network ( ) or to support the pancreatic cancer research of Dr. Lei Zheng at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center (online:

Published by The Washington Post on Feb. 19, 2023.

Edward Howard Winant

Edward Howard “Bear” Winant, Foreign Service officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development, died November 22, 2022, in Bangkok, Thailand, at the age of 54. Mr. Winant was born in South Burlington, Vermont, on Nov. 17, 1968. He earned bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D degrees from West Virginia University in 1989, 1992, and 1996, respectively. Mr. Winant began a career in environmental engineering in parallel with his lifelong work in public service, including with the Peace Corps in Cameroon, and several trips to Africa with Engineers Without Borders. He joined the Foreign Service in 2009. Overseas assignments for Mr. Winant included Liberia, Kazakhstan, South Africa, and Thailand. In Washington, Mr. Winant served in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Beginning in 2020, Mr. Winant supported USAID projects in Nepal, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and South Africa from Washington. Mr. Winant commissioned a train layout that could be broken into sections for shipping, and it accompanied him to all his postings. He enjoyed canoeing, reading, traveling, entertaining, making new friends, and watching West Virginia University football. Mr. Winant is survived by his wife Dinah, his mother Jean, his brother David (Sherry), and his daughter Freyja.

William David McKinney

William David McKinney, retired Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development, died September 8, 2022, in Wellington, New Zealand, at the age of 82. Mr. McKinney was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 27, 1940. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Fisk University in 1963 and a master’s degree from the University of California-Berkeley in 1969. In 1965 he joined the Peace Corps and went to India. From 1975 to 1978, he was a program officer for UNICEF in Bangladesh. He joined the Foreign Service in 1979. Overseas assignments for Mr. McKinney included India; Ghana; Pakistan; Jordan; Yemen in 1993, where he was mission director; Almaty, Kazakhstan; and Baku, Azerbaijan. In Washington, Mr. McKinney’s assignments included assistant program officer in 1979 and a detail to the National War College in 1989. From 1991 to 1993, he served as vice president of the American Foreign Service Association. He retired in 2004. In retirement, Mr. McKinney did contract work for USAID in Banda Aceh (2005), Iraq (2006), Lebanon (2009‒10), and Ukraine (2012‒13). From 2007 to 2008, he also undertook a contract for the New Zealand Agency for International Development in Wellington, covering the Cook Islands, Kiribati, and Samoa. While accompanying his wife on her New Zealand government posting to the Solomon Islands, Mr. McKinney worked for the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Mr. McKinney also served on the boards of international schools in Islamabad, Amman, and Baku. In 2020, he recorded his oral history with the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training. Mr. McKinney is survived by his wife Kirsty; his children Iain, Ayesha, Raj and Keith and their spouses; and two grandchildren.                                                                                                      

David Howard Pritchard

David “Dave” Howard Pritchard, retired Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development, died August 31, 2022, in Burke, Virginia, at the age of 71. Mr. Pritchard was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on January 19, 1951. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and became a CPA. He joined the Foreign Service in 1979. Overseas postings for Mr. Pritchard included Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Singapore, all with the USAID Office of Inspector General; and Egypt, where he served as regional inspector general. He was honored to receive several awards throughout his career and a certificate of appreciation for 30 years of service. In Washington, Mr. Pritchard was an auditor for USAID in 1979. He retired in 2009. An avid genealogist, Mr. Pritchard was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Boy Scouts of America. Mr. Pritchard was preceded in death by his brother Douglas. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Vivian Pritchard; his brothers Brian and Glenn and their spouses; his daughters Carol (Michael) Modesitt; Holly (Peter) Carnevale; Bonnie (Dennis) McLaughlin; and Julie (Philip) Moore; his son David (Fanchon) Pritchard; and 17 grandchildren.

Irwin A. Levy

Irwin “Irv” A. Levy, beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend, passed away peacefully on January 17, 2023. He was 91.

Irv approached life with an unbridled curiosity about all things, and from an early age, this shaped his path personally and professionally. Born during the Depression in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he graduated from Central High School in 1949 with many scholastic honors. His proud mother kept his report cards and letters of praise from teachers. Irv was the first in his family to go to college which was a source of immense pride to his parents, Pinkus, an immigrant from England, and Anna, from Scranton, Pennsylvania, born to an immigrant mother from Austria.

He attended the University of Pennsylvania on a full academic scholarship, where he graduated in 1953 Phi Beta Kappa with Honors in International Relations. He went on to attend graduate school at the University of Chicago studying political science but decided to instead pursue law school after one year. He attended Yale Law School on an academic scholarship where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He graduated Yale in 1957 and then clerked for one year for a federal district court judge in New York city.

After his clerkship, Irv joined the office of the general counsel at the State Department and then eventually what became the Agency for International Development. AID was the perfect place for Irv, who was fascinated by other cultures and people, and not only wanted to see the world, but hoped to make it a better place. His travels took him throughout Asia, and as his wife and children can attest after multiple forced viewings of projection slide shows in the living room, the temples of Angkor Wat left an impression on Irv. His work eventually led him to Latin America in 1963, and to his post at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 1964 to 1967. While in BA, he met his beautiful wife, Susie. She knew she had found “the one,” and after marrying in 1967, they settled down in DC.

Along with their two children, Andrew and Catherine, they traveled to the Dominican Republic in 1976 for a three-year assignment before returning permanently to DC. Throughout their lives, he shared with his children the same thirst for knowledge and intellectual curiosity that took him so far in his career. He was the ever present, loving, and proud father, attending all activities from sports to theater rehearsal. He instilled in them the importance of education and hard work, while encouraging them to pursue whatever they loved, as he had done.

Irv was an only child, so it is no wonder he embraced Susie’s large and extended Argentina family as his own. His brothers and sisters-in-law, and many nieces and nephews, all were drawn to his ever-present smile and warmth. Despite his Spanish fluency, his missteps with the Argentine dialect over the years are some of the family’s longest held and funniest memories. He was never afraid to try, and his self-effacing humor made everyone in his presence feel comfortable.

Irv retired from AID in the late 80s and then worked on similar international activities with Georgetown University as a non-teaching faculty member until 2013. He also volunteered as a guide for the Kennedy Center, a place he cherished, as he had always loved the symphony, classical music, and a variety of other performing arts. His work as a guide gave him an opportunity to share his knowledge of the history of the building and to continue to meet people from countries around the world.

Throughout the years, in letters and poems about Irv’s accomplishments, his friends and family lovingly described him as “the genius of the family,” and “generous with his time and knowledge.” But to us, he was Irvy, Dad, and Poppop. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Susie, his daughter Catherine, his son Andrew and his wife Megan, and loving grandchildren.

Irv valiantly fought the greatest injustice – a disease that slowly took the mind of one of the brightest men. The family asks that any donations be made in his honor to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund through the link below.


John Thomas Rifenbark, Jr.

John Thomas Rifenbark, Jr., 75, of Paris, Virginia, died January 6, 2023, at Sunrise Senior Living at Hunter Mill, Oakton, Virginia, with his wife and sons at his side.   John was born November 25, 1947, in Kansas City, Missouri, to John Thomas Rifenbark, Sr., and Elsa Catherine Carlson. He received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, with a minor in chemistry, from the University of Missouri–Kansas City in 1969; and a master’s degree in entomology from the University of Missouri–Columbia in 1979.

 From 1973 through 1975, John worked as a rice volunteer in the Peace Corps/Dominican Republic. He joined the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1980, and served as a foreign service officer in Bolivia, North Yemen, Egypt, Bangladesh, and USAID/Washington; he retired in 2011.  In his early adulthood, he worked as a bench chemist, teamster, postal clerk, bartender, and dairy laboratory technician. In his forties, he became a windshield farmer of corn and beans, sharecropping with his dear friend in Western Missouri.

 John was an adventurous man, with many interests, talents, and skills; he had a keen curiosity in the natural world and was happiest outdoors. He was introduced to international travel in high school as an American Field Service student in San Sebastian, Spain. Travel continued as a passion, as did foreign languages and cultures, music, dogs, and birds.  He was an accomplished motorcyclist, scuba diver, photographer, gardener, beer meister, beekeeper, mountaineer, and grill master. In 1979, John completed the 4,250-mile Bikecentennial route on his Austro-Daimler, from Astoria, Oregon, to Yorktown, Virginia. He continued to bicycle at all his overseas postings and in Virginia.

 Following his father’s example, John dedicated much time to Boy Scout leadership in foreign posts and at home. In addition to scouting, he tutored his boys in bicycling, scuba diving, grilling, and beermaking. He enjoyed summer concerts at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, where he volunteered for many years as an usher at the Filene Center, and winter sledding with his boys. He loved hiking with his dogs in every season.

 John died of pancreatic cancer and pneumonia 4 weeks after the cancer diagnosis; he had lived with Parkinson’s disease and its complications for nearly 20 years. The final 4 years of his life were spent in nursing facilities in Virginia and Alabama.  Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Elmira Olivia (Polly) Gilbert; son William Gilbert Rifenbark, daughter-in-law Kathryn, and grandson Benjamin; son Graham Gilbert Rifenbark, his partner Allison Lombardi, and her children, Frank and Irie; brother James Hugo Rifenbark, sister-in-law Deborah, and niece Kelly Soucy and her family; sister-in-law Julie Cotney, brother-in-law Ronald Cotney, and nephews Justin Cotney and Matthew Cotney and their families; and dear cousin Marcia Spaulding Larson. He was preceded in death by his parents. 

A memorial service will be held at noon on Friday, February 24, at Vienna Presbyterian Church, 124 Park Street NE, Vienna, Virginia. The family will welcome guests at 11:00 a.m. Condolences may be sent to the family at 344 Maple Avenue West #327, Vienna, VA 22180.  Contributions in John’s memory may be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014; or The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 59 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850-1999. 

Dana Austin Lund

Dana Austin Lund of Ashburn, VA, died, peacefully, with members of his family present on January 16, 2023, at the age of 88. Dana was born and raised in Nashua NH, the son of Elmer T. and Annie G. Lund. He attended Nashua public schools and joined the Air Force after graduation, completing his tour in 1957. After graduation from Boston University, he became a federal employee; first working for the Air Force in Cheyenne, WY, and then at the Pentagon. He then transferred to the Agency for International Development and retired in 1988 as an Assistant Deputy Chief of Personnel. He received a variety of commendations for his federal service. While working at The State Department, he was a regular contributor to the Children’s Hospital plasmapheresis program. After retirement he served as a hospice volunteer, an elder in his church and leader of a pastoral care team in Cumberland, MD. He enjoyed flying a small plane as a part of retirement fun. He moved back to Virginia in 2000, after a stroke, and moved to the Ashby Ponds retirement community in 2008.
Dana is survived by his wife of 66 years, his high school sweetheart, Patricia Lebel Lund, and five children: Laura Lund (Tim) of Sacramento, CA, Deborah Gregory (David) of Centreville, VA Susan Lund (Phil) of MD, Dayna (DeeDee) Elizabeth Reynolds (James) and Stephen Lund (Jacqueline) of Summerville, SC. He is also survived by his twin brother, David Lund (Susan), eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to Ashby Ponds Benevolent Care Fund.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Ashby Ponds’ Farmwell Hall on Monday, January 30, at 2 p.m.

Published by The Washington Post on Jan. 22, 2023.


Sue Janssen
1932 – 2022

Sue Janssen was an artist from Kansas who immersed herself in an international life with her husband Bill, who was a USAID Agricultural Development Officer serving in Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, India, and Egypt. She also lived in Taiwan to be close to Bill while he worked in Vietnam under a USAID PASA with the Department of Agriculture.

Sue’s impish smile and sense of humor endeared her to her friends and family. Her art was multimedia and varied from small to very large pieces. At one time she was a commercial artist working for Hallmark. She captured the images of the places she and Bill lived, especially the Asian countries. In Indonesia, the Janssens shared ownership of a boat they frequently used for weekend trips to uninhabited islands near Jakarta. In Honduras, she and a friend traveled to the Copan Ruins, and she incorporated its images into her art. She also frequently traveled with a group of women to Jack O’Neil Cay, in the Utila Cays in the Bay Islands of Honduras, which was a lasting memory for her.

She and Bill enjoyed their many adventures, and both had high powered BMW motorcycles, which they rode in various countries. After Bill retired from USAID, the Janssens settled in Sonoma County, California, and together spent several years raising the ceilings, moving walls, and other major projects to reshape their house as they wanted it. They also converted their sloping backyard into a lovely, multi-tiered garden and raised beds with a wonderful array of flowers, herbs, and vegetables. They would share each evening on the deck above the garden.

After Bill’s death in 2007, Sue spent time with her many friends in Sebastopol, and for twelve years attended weekly Pilates sessions with a few old friends, led by their close friend Betsy.

Sue died on November 27, 2022, at the age of 89 just 13 days shy of her 90th birthday. She is survived by her children, Kyle Robinson & partner Marty Golden, Wendy Robinson, Rebecca Robinson & husband Ed Lytwak, Matthew & wife Peggy Robinson, Lalita Hernández & Husband Gil. Grandchildren, Sarah, Hannah, Benny, Angelo, and Aaliyah.  Sue’s stepchildren are William Janssen III (Bill), Heidi Koebernick, Jed, Branch & wife Beth Janssen. Sue’s step-grandchildren are Chet, Greta, Brent, Andy, Sara, Harley, and Jed.  

Ann Richards

Ann Richards passed away peacefully in her sleep on January 5, 2023, at Sterling Care in Bethesda, Maryland.  Ann was born in 1948, graduated from Carrollton High School in Carrollton, Ohio, in 1966 and graduated from Muskingum College in 1970. After graduation from college, she moved to New York and began her career in finance at Merrill Lynch. In 1990, Ann moved to Washington, DC and began the second phase of her career, working first as the Deputy Director (and later the Director) of the Capital Markets Office of the Resolution Trust Corporation. Thereafter, she worked for USAID, first as an employee and later as a consultant. She ended her working career at Forecast on Capitol Hill.

Ann loved her life in New York City, but she loved her life on Capitol Hill more, particularly her many friends, entertaining at her residences on 5th Street NE and her daily neighborhood walks. To her, Capitol Hill was home. She was actively involved in the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, and Capitol Hill Village.
Ann was preceded in death by her twin sister, Susan, and by her brother, John David. She is survived by her sister, Ellen, of Columbus, Ohio and several close cousins, Mary Logue of Canton, Ohio, Joe Richards of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Jane Huff of Columbus, Ohio, Homer Richards of North Canton, Ohio, Nora Miller of Leland, North Carolina, and their fourteen children and fifteen grandchildren.

Ann passed away as a result of a cascading series of complications from Covid-19. Ann’s remains will be buried with Susan’s and John’s in Carrollton, Ohio at a later date.  Her family would like to express their genuine thanks to the physicians and staff at George Washington University Medical Center and the physicians and staff at Suburban Hospital for the extraordinary care and attention Ann received the last five weeks while under their care.

The family is planning a Celebration of Ann’s life on Friday, April 14, 2023, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Hill Center located at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003. Friends are invited to come and share their loving memories of Ann.   If you wish to make a contribution in Ann’s memory, the family requests contributions be made to The Capitol Hill Community Foundation, 419 East Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003 or to a Capitol Hill charity of your choice.

Published by The Washington Post on Jan. 15, 2023.

Wayne Tate

Wayne Tate passed away on the morning of January 2, 2023. Born in Queens, New York, on January 26, 1946, to Ruth and Fred Tate, he lived 76 years.  Well-informed and with a sharp opinion on everything, Wayne was known for both his irreverence and his wit, often using the latter to ease the delivery of the former. He made a lasting impression on everyone he met. 

Wayne was a patriot who believed in the mission of this country. He was in the Army Reserves and worked for the Navy before serving overseas for more than 30 years as a USAID Foreign Service Officer. Postings included Philippines, Pakistan, Bolivia, and his proudest, Mission Director in Paraguay. On returning home, Wayne was a professor of National Security Strategy at the National War College in Washington, DC.  He was a consummate historian, with an office filled to the brim with books, artifacts, maps, and medals. More than someone who remembered facts, figures, and dates – though he did – he understood the mechanics of global change, seeing patterns and understanding the underlying human follies that cause history to repeat.  When not on assignment, Wayne was on the water, where he was happiest. An avid fly fisherman and a lover of nature, he could find the fishing in any country on earth – and carve out the time to throw a line in.

He was preceded in death by his wife Rita of 47 years and is survived by his mother Ruth, sister Janet, and sons David and James.

The family will accept visitors at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home on January 16 from 1-2 p.m., followed by a graveside service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Potomac Riverkeeper Network – specifically to the Shenandoah River, which held a special place in his heart.

Lois Richards

It is with great sorrow that our family announces the passing of our dear sister, and aunt Lois. Lois was preceded in death by her parents Ernest & Lucille Richards. She is survived by her younger brother William & sister-in-law Patricia Richards, and their children: Robert (Vicki) Richards, Rebecca Euell, Robin (Brent) Harnack, Laurie (Eric) Arnold, Luci Schumacher and many great nieces and nephews.

She was a graduate of North Central High School & from Washington State University (1962) with a B.A. in Sociology, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She taught English in Ethiopia while she served in the Peace Corp for 2 yrs. Lois went on to graduate from University of Denver with a M.A. in International Studies in 1966. For more than 30 yrs, Lois was a State Department Foreign Officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Bureau for Humanitarian Response, where she was Deputy Assistant Administrator in Washington D.C. While she retired from USAID as a Career Minister in the Foreign Service in March 1995, she stayed on for an additional year as a consultant. After her graduations, & serving in Ethiopia, Lois’ career served many other destinations, including:  Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Jordan, Somalia, West & Central Africa (Bureau for Africa), eventually returning to Washington D.C.; working in Refugee Programs, Bureau for Food & Humanitarian, and International Development & Relief Programs. She received many awards throughout her career, including: Presidential Meritorious Service Award (1984 &1986); Presidential Distinguished Service Award (1988); Administrators Award for Distinguished Career Service (1995). Lois was a major supporter of many organizations, with many holding special spots in her heart. She spent years serving on the board of directors and eventually as President (4yrs) of the Inland Empire Council of Campfire Boys & Girls. Lois started way back as a Bluebird in 1947, and never looked back. Lois was involved in the local community in other organizations also including: Spokane County Community Development Advisory Committee, & a dedicated member of Board of Directors for Spokane Humane Society, serving as President & Vice President. Lois was the most compassionate & dedicated KEEPER of her beloved cats who survived her: Buftah, Lijj, & Scooter. She had many beloved cats over the years & a dog named “Elvis”. Her hobbies were golf, foreign affairs, reading, music, photography, and of course taking care of her cats. A Private Family Celebration of Life will be held for her family to honor her beloved memory.

A memorial will be held at a later date next Spring. LOIS’ HEART HAS STOPPED, BUT EVERYTHING ABOUT HER WILL BE IN OUR HEARTS FOREVER. Arrangements are being handled by Pacific Northwest Cremation, Spokane, WA. If you would like to honor Lois’ memory, donations can be made to SPOKANIMAL, in Spokane, WA.

Published by Spokesman-Review on Sep. 18, 2022.

Anton Cistaro

Anton “Tony” Cistaro, who served in the Vietnam pacification program, passed away in Stafford, Virginia on October 7, 2022. He was 92 years old. Born in Chicago, he joined the Marines, serving as a bandsman and sniper-scout. In 1962, after language training, he joined an interrogation and translation team in Vietnam. During his 13 years of service, he received many medals, including the bronze star for valor. He left the Corps but returned to Vietnam with USAID, moving about the provinces by motorbike and antique Jeep, helping villagers implement improvement projects. He and his Vietnamese counterpart traveled the province meeting local notables and improving schools, maternities, dispensaries, roads, and bridges.

In late 1965, while driving through a contested area he struck a pressure mine. Badly wounded unable to move, he feigned death. He spent the next year at Bethesda Naval Hospital, and was given the Secretary of State’s Award for Heroism.

In 1966 he joined original staff of the Vietnam Training Center to train men from AID, State, USIA, CIA, and the military to work in the pacification program. Cistaro was course chairman for the first group of trainees, CORDS I.

In 1968 he returned to Vietnam to advise the Vietnamese on interrogation, indoctrination and vocational training of enemy defectors. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, he returned Southeast Asia to help refugees fleeing Vietnam’s new regime. In 1994 Cistaro served as interpreter for Admiral Elmo Zumwalt on his reconciliation visit to Hanoi.

Survivors include his wife, Catherine and son Mark of Stafford, Virginia, and daughter Suzanne Lwin of Las Vegas. Contributions in Mr. Cistaro’s memory may be made to Saint Veronica Catholic Church, Chantilly, VA 20151.

A Memorial service will be held on December 13 at DACOR in Washington. For more details on the service contact
Published by The Washington Post on Nov. 20, 2022.

James Cummiskey

James Robert Hannon Paul Cummiskey, 79, passed away on December 1, 2022, due to cardiac arrest. Jim grew up in Normandy, MO. He earned a BA in Zoology from the University of Missouri, and an MA in Public Health from the University of Michigan. Jim was also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Jim had a long and highly accomplished career of public service, from his work as a Supervisor of Mosquito Control for the City of St. Louis, MO in 1965-67, to his nearly 30 years as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)—a career that included postings in Vietnam, Costa Rica, Kenya and Washington, DC. Following his retirement from USAID in 1996, Jim worked as a CPA in the private sector until 2009, when he returned to public service as a senior manager at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He retired from USDHS in 2014.

In retirement, as in his professional life, Jim was a large, invariably cheerful presence in the lives of his family and friends. A self-described “handy man” he honed—and freely shared–his skills in woodworking, masonry and crafting stained glass; worked as a community volunteer and occasional clown at fundraising events; and enriched the lives of countless friends with his talents as a storyteller and seemingly bottomless font of often outrageous jokes. A charter member of two long-running (since 1978)-but-friendly poker games, Jim enlivened those sessions with his talents as raconteur and humorist.

A devoted family man, Jim is survived by his wife of 49 years, Cathy Jo Cummiskey (Nee – Kiser); two sons: James Robert Jr. (Sriayuthaya Phungbun Na Ayduhya) and Christopher Patrick (Caitrin Reed); four grandchildren: Genevieve, Sebastian, Sofia, and Isabella; and his two sisters: Rosemarie L. Conroy and Mary Patricia Cuddihee.

His family will be celebrating his life at a time to be announced in the near future.

Laura Lindskog

Laura Lindskog lived a life worth celebrating, but she died on October 16, 2022. Wife, mother, partner, friend…Laura’s contributions to the world around her will resonate with those who knew her for as long as we have memories. Her smile pierced your personal armor and let her enthusiasm and empathy flood through  your heart. You welcomed her into your life because you could feel her inherent sincerity. Honest, kind, dependable but with an incisive mind and sharp wit. If you had the good fortune to orbit within her gravitational pull, your life has been enriched with loyalty, humor, and a never-ending sense of adventure.

A child of Marin County, shaped by the terrain she so dearly loved, Laura, in tum, shaped her youth using her perseverance and imagination. Early on, Laura was caught in the wind of the world, the cyclone of realization of the consequences for change that would shape so much of her life. Her formative adventures began in Austria and France, 1966-67, and were the precursor for a life lived all over the globe. Returning to the U.S., 1968, Laura started a remarkable fashion boutique (Chelsea Bird) in San Francisco. Laura’s keen eye for fashion attracted a broad spectrum of well-known buyers from the Hollywood and the Rock music scene. Whether early shopping trips for Chelsea Bird or subsequent adventures, she was a traveler who endeared herself wherever she went. She worked, lived, managed households and jobs in the cultures of many countries, sharing herself and learning from others.

Laura met her husband Carl Duisberg at the School for Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins, in 1977. Laura worked in the U.S. Senate, while Carl began development work as a Foreign Service Officer at USAID. Kindred spirits driven by a desire to better the world around them, Laura and Carl built a life together. Posting to Ecuador, 1983, they learned as a couple to weave a rich life, incorporating children (Ehren, 1984, and Alexandra, 1986) along with meaningful work and adventures, including in Guatemala, Pakistan, Poland and Afghanistan before Carl’s retirement.

Life eventually brought Laura back to Marin (2005). She took up the challenge of rescuing the real estate business started by her father. Laura’ determination to support fairly-priced housing, her ethics and her unyielding integrity establish a legacy.

Please join us in remembering the warmth, humor, and indefatigable spirit of Laura Lindskog … The Laura of the explosive smile, easy laughter, and unbounded spontaneity!

Richmond Allen

Richmond Allen, age 93, an economist and retired Senior Foreign Service Officer died on November 24th, 2022, at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.  He passed away from complications associated with Covid and influenza.  Mr. Allen (“Rich”) was born in Providence, Rhode Island.  A graduate of Middlesex School, Williams College and New York University Graduate School of Business Administration, he served on active duty as a Lieutenant (j.g.) in the U.S. Naval Reserve during 1951-55.  Upon retiring from military service, he moved to New York City where he worked as an economist for IBM World Trade Corporation.  In 1967 he joined the U.S. Agency for International Development as a Program Economist, serving successively in Vietnam, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Jordan.  He was Chief of the Embassy/USAID Joint Economic Office during the last two years of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam and was the recipient of Superior and Meritorious Honor awards.

Following retirement from the Foreign Service in 1985, Rich settled in McLean where he did consulting work on USAID contracts.  More recently, from 2001 to 2012, he worked part-time for the U.S. Tennis Association, Mid-Atlantic Section, while attending to his own tennis game.  An avid tennis player since his youth, Rich was ranked within the top five in every Mid-Atlantic age division from 60s through 80s, and no. 1 in the 85s.

While a full-time resident of McLean, Rich has been a life-long summer resident of Little Compton, R.I.  where he built his own house in 1965.  He was a member of the Sakonnet Golf Club and spent many happy summers in Little Compton in his favorite pursuits of tennis, golf and striped bass fishing.

Rich is survived by his wife of 47 years, Huong Pham Allen; his daughters, Judy and Nancy Allen; a stepdaughter, Linh Kohlbeck of Powhatan, Virginia; a stepson, Khanh Allen of McLean, VA; and seven grandchildren. 

The funeral will be held at Murphy Funeral home in Falls Church, VA on Saturday, December 10 at 1:00pm.  Donations, in lieu of flowers, should be made to Doctors Without Borders.

Catherine (Tina) Cleland

Catherine (Tina) Forrester Cleland of Kensington, Maryland, passed away peacefully on Friday, November 4, 2022.  She was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and her connection to New Orleans remained strong throughout her life.  Tina graduated from Cornell University and served as President of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.  She moved to Washington, DC where she received her MBA from George Washington University.

Tina led a life of public service. She was assistant to Arthur Fleming and Donald Rumsfeld followed by 18 years at the Department of Health and Human Services.  She spent 10 years at U.S. Agency for International Development as a Project Director and then as Senior Analyst for Performance Measurement and Evaluation. Her career in the US and international health care field led her to become an independent consultant analyzing foreign health care systems and advising governments on health care reform. Throughout her career, an important part of her work was focused on aiding 10 former Soviet bloc countries. Tina was recognized for her professional contributions with numerous awards and honors.

Tina extended her generous heart beyond her vast circle of loved ones in supporting many organizations through her volunteer efforts. She served on the Vestry of Christ Church Kensington, was a Past President of the Junior League of Washington and Chair of the Board for the Visiting Nurses Association. In addition, Tina served as a member of the Boards of Directors of National Rehabilitation Hospital, Medlantic Healthcare Group/Washington Hospital Center, NyumbaniUSA, and Mobile Medical Care.   Of her many philanthropic endeavors, two were particularly close to her heart in recent years: her years of work to improve the plight of AIDS orphans in Africa; Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, where she attended a retreat for cancer patients that was life changing and led to her work as a tireless advocate for improving the lives of cancer survivors.  Following her initial diagnosis of cancer, Tina joined WeCanRow DC in 2006, where she discovered a passion for rowing.  For the rest of her life, she was a tireless advocate for rowing and encouraged many breast cancer survivors to take up the sport.  Tina was an active member of the Potomac Boat Club and a sculling program at Bladensburg, Maryland.

Tina was married to Charles (Rusty) Cleland and resided in Kensington, Maryland for 44 years.  In addition to her husband and their son, David Chalaron Cleland, Tina is also survived by her three brothers, William Forrester, Jr. (Regan), David Forrester (Georgia Wilemon), and Stephen Forrester; brother-in-law Robert Cleland (Molly) and sister-in-law Joan Cleland; nieces Tully Jordan (Paul), Penn Iarocci (T.J.), Erica Cleland Shepard (John), Elsa Cleland (John-O), Alison Cleland (Francesco and their son Alec Mutti); and nephews Will Forrester (Julia) and Thom Cleland (Christiane). Tina possessed a remarkable gift for making and sustaining friendships from varied backgrounds, from every stage of her life, and from all parts of the world – all of whom will miss her dearly.

A memorial service will be held December 10, 2022, at 2pm at Christ Episcopal Church, 4001 Franklin Street, Kensington, Maryland.  Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations in Tina’s memory to be made to: Smith Center for Healing and the Arts (, designating your contribution for “cancer retreats”, or to WeCanRow DC (

Martha Welch Rees

Martha Welch Rees, 79, died in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on October 9, 2022.   She lived many years in Bethesda, Maryland, Manila, the Philippines and Bookham, England.  A lady admired by all who shared her love, worked with her and met her.  She grew-up in Alexandria, Virginia was graduated from Pennsylvania State University and received a master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin.  As a licensed clinical social worker, she joined United States Agency for International Development (USAID) where she had a very successful career counselling people in cross-cultural situations and US Officials surviving terrorist attacks overseas in the Middle East and Africa.  She was given a distinguished career service award for her outstanding and distinguished USAID career in providing exceptional leadership, unconditional devotion, dedication, and sincere loyalty to the USAID Community.  According to the award, she embodied USAID’s vision and its goals while imparting her unique professional skills and personal support, guidance, and finally, love to all who had the privilege and honor of seeking her assistance.   

She was a voracious reader who loved to meet the challenge of crossword puzzle writers and Scrabble opponents.  It was the greatest of ironies that she succumbed to a disease that attacked her brain.  She was always known for her poise, dignity and grace, qualities that remained with her in her final years.  She will be remembered by many and missed by all.  Martha was predeceased by her parents, William H. Welch, Jr., and Bette Welch Schlezinger of Washington, D.C.  She was survived by her long-time partner, J. Thomas Ward, of Washington D.C. and Austin Texas, devoted son Trevor Rees and his wife, Oxana Jeltova, and grandchildren Winston and Carolina, of Toronto, son Ian Rees of Tucson, Arizona, sister Nancy Manke and her husband, Hugh Manke, of Hamden, Connecticut. 

Ellen K. Bisson 

She thought of herself as a child of Kansas, who embraced her mother’s Irish heritage and her father’s Welsh ancestry. Ellen Blanche Knowles was born on November 3, 1938, in Poughkeepsie, NY, to Edwin Chandler Knowles and his wife, Allen Blevins Gafney.  She died on October 31, 2022.  Their only child, Ellen was devoted to her parents, and to their Kansas homesteads which she visited often as a child. Her first elementary schooling, in fact, was in Winfield, her mother’s hometown.  Ellen attended schools in Duchess County, NY, graduating from Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie. She received a B.A. from Scripps College, in Claremont, CA. Following college, she worked in Washington, DC, where she met and married Gary B. Bisson, son of Antonio N. Bisson and his wife, Alice (Philippon), of Gorham, NH. Gary and Ellen’s first son, Mark, was born in 1961, followed in 1964 by son Todd. After several years of living in northern Virginia, the family embarked on a series of international moves, first with the CIA proprietary, Air America, to Taipei and Bangkok, and then with USAID to Nairobi, Mbabane (eSwatini, formerly Swaziland), and Jakarta.

Ellen savored each international experience: she studied Chinese for three years and was an enthusiastic participant in art history projects through the Thai national museum; and enjoyed an archaeology study group in Kenya.  Throughout their overseas tours, she held several jobs within the local communities. Ellen always tried to find time to continue her interest in foreign languages. In addition to Chinese, she took Italian and tried to maintain her fluency in French. During stateside years, she was involved with a variety of volunteer activities, frequently while working full-time.

Ellen was a loving wife for Gary, mother and cheerleader for sons Mark and Todd, and doting grandmother for her beloved grandson Dante. She was passionate about her home, steadfastly loyal to her friends. She was a gourmet cook, played a capable game of bridge, and was a tenacious and enterprising genealogy sleuth.  She truly enjoyed and appreciated her memberships in the DAR, all of the New England First Families lineage groups, and the Winthrop Society of Massachusetts. Through the family’s world travels, she treasured their visits to the Buddhist temples of Thailand and Burma, the terraced rice paddies of the Balinese countryside, and the African veldt, but her heart was always in Paris. From her first visit in the summer of 1958, she fell in love with the city’s sights, fragrances, and sounds. If the itinerary permitted, it was always her destination of choice. Over the years, Ellen also did a lot of writing: community newsletters for embassy families, school newsletters for parents.  As a volunteer, for many years she wrote letters for residents in an assisted living center with a portable laptop and printer. If they gave prizes for writing Christmas letters, her carefully crafted annual greetings would be near the top.

She and Gary moved to Shenandoah Valley Westminster Canterbury, a lifecare community, in 2010. She was active in numerous committees and projects through the years, among them hosting a popular book group and organizing the annual Nativity display project.  She was preceded by the death by her beloved husband, Gary, in May 2017. Memorial gifts can be directed to Scripps College, Claremont, CA 91711.

Katherine (Kate) McKee

Katharine (Kate) McKee, 66, who devoted her career to developing and implementing programs to improve the lives of the poor worldwide, especially women, died in Bellevue, Washington, on August 18, 2022, from a ruptured brain aneurysm. Katharine had moved back to her home state in 2020, after more than 20 years in the Washington, D.C., area.

Katharine was a pioneer in two fields – community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and microenterprise finance – that are now cornerstone strategies in the United States and internationally for helping people escape poverty.

Her passion for international development and women’s issues flourished at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, from which Katharine received a Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs, with distinction, in 1978.  Upon graduation from Princeton, she became a Senior Program Officer for the Ford Foundation in Nigeria and New York, focusing on issues of development finance, asset-building, and women’s economic empowerment.  

At Ford and as Associate and Policy Director for North Carolina’s Center for Community Self-Help from 1986 to 1998, Katharine helped foster the CDFI industry’s evolution into a multibillion-dollar sector focused on financing community development in the United States. Subsequently, as Director of the Office of Microenterprise Development at the U.S. Agency for International Development (from 1998 until 2006), she helped solidify USAID’s leadership position as the largest bilateral donor in microfinance, supporting more than 5 million borrowers per year worldwide.

From 2006 to 2017, Katharine was a senior professional at CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), where she led initiatives on pathways to sustainable livelihoods, consumer protection, responsible finance, savings, and client-focused financial services. During the last two years of her professional life, she worked to establish the global Partnership for Economic Inclusion and to pioneer yet another innovative international development strategy – graduation – that focuses on delivering a suite of support services and financial products to the world’s extreme poor.

Katharine grew up in Seattle, leaving to earn a bachelor’s degree Summa Cum Laude from Bowdoin College in 1976 in German and Politics.

Katharine’s friends and colleagues remember her as a proud feminist, gender equality advocate, and, especially, as a mentor for her junior colleagues. She was warm and generous of spirit and time, but suffered neither fools nor jerks. The word cloud associated with the many tributes that poured in after her death also highlights trust, advisor, wisdom, facilitator, engagement, compassion, and consensus builder. 

In her free time, Katharine was an avid reader, gardener, and tennis player. She had an encyclopedic knowledge of flowers. On the last hike of her life, she dazzled her friends with her ability to identify native flower species on Mt. Rainier.  She is survived by her husband of 36 years, David McGrady, and her two children, Anna and Charlie, Charlie’s wife Siena Tenisci, and her first grandchild, Emory.   

David, Anna and Charlie invite all of Katharine’s family and friends to come and celebrate a life well-lived and loved. To reflect the joy she brought to the world around her, floral attire and bright colors are encouraged. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to a charity of the donor’s choice.  
Friday, November 18, 2022, 2pm  
Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church  
9601 Cedar Lane  
Bethesda, MD  
The  celebration will also be livestreamed on Cedar Lane’s YouTube channel at  

George A. Laudato

George A. Laudato, a career Senior Foreign Service Officer and international development advisor, died peacefully on Monday, October 3, 2022, at his home in Washington, DC. He was 81.

In his 40-year career, Mr. Laudato opened US Agency for International Development (USAID) missions in Yemen and Nicaragua, managed the United States’ largest foreign aid mission in Egypt, and later served as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Asia and the Middle East under the Clinton Administration and then Acting Administrator for the Bureau for Asia and the Near East during the Bush and Obama administrations.

George Anthony Laudato was born in Bergen County, New Jersey to Anthony and Alice Laudato. The first of his family to attend college, George graduated from Seton Hall in 1963.

Inspired the international focus of the Kennedy Administration, he joined the Peace Corps and served in Panama from 1963 to 1966, where he developed what would become a lifelong interest the influence of culture, politics and economics on international development.

In 1966, he was recruited by USAID to serve in Vietnam in the Office of Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS). There he completed 4,000 interviews with Vietnamese villagers as part of the conflict’s “pacification program.” Mr. Laudato received USAID’s Meritorious Honor Award for managing an evacuation and relief effort for 40,000 refugees under battlefield conditions. Mr. Laudato came to realize how short-term military objectives can undermine efforts to win hearts and minds, a lesson that he later saw the United States struggle with repeatedly in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 1973, Mr. Laudato participated in opening USAID missions in Yemen and in 1976, in Egypt. There he met Janna Magruder and married in Cairo in 1977. In 1980, he was posted to the Philippines as a Program Officer, where he co-led the negotiating team for the $475 million economic compensation package associated with the Base Rights Agreement. In 1984, he returned to Cairo, eventually becoming Deputy Director.

In 1988, he returned to Washington, DC where he was Deputy Assistant Administrator for Program Policy and Coordination and then Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Asia and the Near East. From 1997 to 2007 as Managing Senior Vice President Abt Associates, International Health, Mr. Laudato expanded work in health systems finance to health policy reform and restructuring worldwide, including Iraq. In 2008, he returned to USAID as Acting Administrator for the Near East, working on issues posed by Iraq and the Arab Spring.

After retiring in 2011, Mr. Laudato served on the Board of Seton Hall’s School of Diplomacy, as an advisor to Arizona State University, and on the Board of the non-profit Aid to Artisans.

George loved to promote the careers of young colleagues, entertain and cook. He is survived by his wife Janna; brothers, Anthony and Paul; son Anthony Laudato (wife Lisa Marshall), son Stephen Laudato (wife Rozhin Penjweini), and two grandchildren, Luca and Reven.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the George Laudato National Security Fellowship Endowment, Seton Hall School of Diplomacy and International Relations, 457 Center Street, South Orange, NJ 07079.

A memorial mass and reception will be held at 10:30 a.m. on October 18 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 1315 36th Street NW, Washington, DC.

Howard W. Solomon

Howard W. Solomon of Bethesda, MD, and Bar Harbor, ME, laid down his gavel for the last time September 27, 2022, at the age of 91. A retired federal arbitrator and mediator, Solomon was known as thoughtful and fair, bringing a warm smile into day-to-day life. Unafraid to defy convention, Solomon could get the most bitter disputants to compromise, with clear reasoning, principled compassion, and a well-timed joke. A private family service will take place in Bar Harbor, ME.

The son of prominent New York internist Dr. Harry A. Solomon and Ruth Solomon (née Wulfsohn), Solomon was born on the upper east side of Manhattan in 1931. He attended Friends Seminary, a Quaker institution, and was graduated from Yale in 1952.

His patrician upbringing notwithstanding, Solomon defied convention with wide-ranging interests. An avid amateur athlete, basketball coach, and American Youth Hostels bicycle trip leader of multiple groups to Europe in his late teens and early twenties, Solomon freely admitted that he joined the U.S. Army after earning his juris doctor from Columbia Law School in order to avoid having to pass the New York bar exam (passage was automatically granted after two years of military service). Solomon excelled in his service and received awards for marksmanship as well as the Good Conduct Medal. 

After the Army, Solomon joined the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service as a junior attorney, resolving labor disputes between unions and corporations through negotiation and compromise. In a letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson, a union president representing 23,000 workers in a 1967 dispute with tire manufacturer Uniroyal, Inc., wrote that Solomon “worked feverishly in the public interest in attempting to aid the parties in resolving their problems and arriving at an equitable settlement” involving pay and worker protections. Uniroyal’s management also commended the young mediator in a letter. “Your quiet, unobtrusive and persistent involvement was a significant catalyst to resolving the hard core and appearingly unsolvable issues remaining between the union and Company.”

Promoted from a field attorney in St. Louis to a federal commissioner in the midwestern heart of manufacturing, Dayton, Ohio, Solomon met Dolores (“Dee”) Stuerenberg, a Cincinnati native who was society editor of the Dayton Journal-Herald and a former nationally-ranked tennis player. They married in 1965.

Dee urged Howard to accept an assignment with the U.S. State Department’s Agency for International Development in New Delhi, India, in 1968. The couple embraced the rich culture and kindness of their Indian friends and colleagues. Dee relished Embassy social life on and off the tennis court while the couple raised their young daughter Beth and welcomed their son Harrison, who was born in New Delhi.

Returning with the family to Washington, D.C. in the early 1970s, Solomon was given assignments of increasing responsibility in the federal labor relations sector, rising to helm the Federal Service Impasses Panel, a presidential commission charged with adjudicating major labor disputes. While the forward-thinking Solomon privately supported many progressive organizations such as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, he was respected by colleagues across the political spectrum. Reagan Administration Secretary of Labor William E. Brock commended Solomon, writing, “You are indeed a credit to this Administration.”

Tall and sinewy, Solomon was a lifelong environmentalist, taking public transportation to the office every day from the family home in Bethesda to downtown Washington, a lengthy trip. Howard drew barbs from his wife and his two sisters Nina S. Hyde, the longtime fashion editor of The Washington Post, and Loire Valley, France-based Marquise Suzanne de Brantes, for wearing running shorts during his commute to the office during hot summers. Solomon met those grimaces with a laugh.

After retiring in his late 50s, Solomon began spending more time in Bar Harbor, Maine, eventually luring Dee first to a tent on the beautiful coast inside Acadia National Park, and later a house they built nearby, looking out on Frenchman’s Bay. The couple not only enjoyed Acadia’s natural treasures but actively worked to protect and enhance them for others. Indeed, Solomon and others founded the volunteer corps that built and maintained park trails alongside the National Park Service. Later, Solomon served on the board of directors of Friends of Acadia, supporting initiatives such as the launch of a substantial natural-gas-powered bus fleet to reduce car traffic in the park.

In his “retirement,” Howard studied jazz piano, eventually filling the lounge of the Balance Rock Inn in Bar Harbor several nights each week with the beautiful melodies of jazz standards sung by Sinatra, Ella and Rosemary Clooney. Later in life, Howard’s favorite Sunday activities were listening to Donnie McKethan’s landmark radio jazz show “The American Songbook” on public radio station WPFW while reading the New York Times with Dee on the granite rocks of Sand Beach in Acadia.

After Dee died in 2016, Howard shuttled between Bethesda and Bar Harbor, spending more time at the piano than on the hiking trails and bike paths of Acadia. In his last days, when he needed the assistance of nurses at Suburban Hospital, he kept a twinkle in his eye. “How are you feeling today, Howard?” asked a nurse two days before he drew his last breath. “Fantastic,” he smiled. Trying to make Solomon as comfortable as possible, the nurse said, “Howard, I’m going to put my arm on your shoulder and pull you toward me, OK?” 
“I really like that idea,” he quipped.  Near his last day, Howard was told by his family that his nurse’s name was Ryan, and that Ryan was doing a great job. “This is my lucky day,” he said.

Howard took his last breaths with his family at his side. He is survived by his daughter Elizabeth (“Beth”) Solomon (Gero Geilenbruegge) of Washington and Naples, FL, son Dr. Harrison Solomon, beloved grandchildren Jessica, Sam and James Solomon of Bethesda, cousins Bill and Pat Middlemiss, brother-in-law Richard Stuerenberg and sister-in-law Linda Stuerenberg, and nieces and nephews Jennifer Hyde (David) Bronstein, Andrea Hyde (Andrew Weinberg), Roger (Nikola) de Brantes, Flore de Brantes, John (Marianne) Meyer, Steve (Maria) Meyer (d.), Mike (Melissa Huddleston) Meyer, Jay D. (Jena) Thacker, James (Sarah) Thacker, and Tara (C.J.) Petrou.

Robert H. Nooter

Robert H. Nooter, 96, died from complications of a stroke on September 3, 2022, at his home in Bethesda, surrounded by family.

Bob, also affectionately known as Noot, was an international development leader with the US Agency for International Development and the World Bank, an ethnographic art collector, museum volunteer leader, and an avid tennis player, even into his 90s.

Mr. Nooter worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for most of the 1960s and 70s, rising to the rank of deputy administrator and serving as acting administrator for a year. He was mission director in Uruguay and Liberia and was assistant administrator in charge of the economic programs in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War. Among other responsibilities, he started the economic assistance programs in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Syria in the 1970s.

In 1980, Mr. Nooter joined the World Bank where he was the resident representative in Tanzania, country officer for Sudan, and deputy department director for East Africa. As a World Bank consultant following his retirement, he worked on assignments in Africa, East Asia, the Caribbean, Ukraine, the Baltics, and the Caucuses.

While in Liberia in the 1960s, he and his artist wife Nancy developed a passion for ethnographic art that continued throughout his life. In addition to an extensive collection of African art, the couple collected traditional art from the Native American peoples of the American Southwest, Plains, California, and the Northwest Coast and Alaska; Ethiopian religious art; Russian icons; Japanese scroll paintings; and traditional art from Tibet, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines. The Nooters often lent their art to museum exhibitions and frequently welcomed visitors to their home collection in Washington, D.C.

He and Nancy donated art to the National Museum of African Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Museum in Baltimore, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He assembled an extensive collection of Caucasian flat-woven textiles (kilims, horse covers, bags, and sumac rugs) and wrote the book Flat-Woven Rugs & Textiles from the Caucasus, published in 2004.

Robert Harry Nooter was born in Webster Groves, Missouri on July 14, 1926, graduated from Webster Groves High School, and attended Purdue University before entering the Marine Corps in 1944. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1947.

In 1951-52, he served as a Marine Corps First Lieutenant in the Korean War, where he received a medal of commendation for his leadership during combat.

In his early career, he worked at the Nooter Corporation in St. Louis for 14 years before joining the Kennedy Administration in 1962 to work at USAID.

Mr. Nooter was a board member or trustee of the National Museum of African Art for 30 years, twice serving as chairman, the Textile Museum in Washington, and the Museum of African Art in New York. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Haji Baba Society, and the Cosmos Club. His papers, including his Korean War letters and USAID materials, are housed at the Library of Congress.

He was also the patriarch of a large family. He was predeceased by his loving wife of 73 years, Nancy Ingram Nooter, and his daughter Mary “Polly” Nooter Roberts. He leaves behind daughter Anne Ruch (Scott) and sons Tom Nooter (Alice), William Nooter (Elissa Free) and Rob Nooter (Barbara), son-in-law, Allen Roberts, 12 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. Noot was the primary caregiver for his wife, Nancy, for the last several years of her life.

A memorial service will take place at the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 6301 River Road in Bethesda on Sunday, October 9, 2022 at 1:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,

Eugene Harold Rauch

Eugene “Gene” Harold Rauch, 80, of 18 Kilmore Road, Drumnadrochit, Scotland (originally from Davenport, Iowa), peacefully left us, surrounded by his family at home, on July 18, 2022.

He was the beloved husband of Catherine and adored father to Sarah and Kevin. Funeral services were held on Friday, July 29, 2022, at the funeral home of William T. Fraser and Son, Culduthel Road, Inverness, Scotland.

After managing a Dude Ranch in Wyoming for several years, Gene joined the US Agency for International Development in 1979 serving as a program support officer in Washington, DC, the Ivory Coast (with support to Cape Verde), Sudan, Tunisia and Egypt. Gene retired from USAID in 1999 and moved with his family to Scotland where he has resided ever since. While in Scotland Gene worked with Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Further Education Unit and Clackmannanshire Council, volunteered for a non-profit Green Routes and enjoyed Scottish Country Dancing with his wife and friends.

Gene will be dearly missed not only by his family and extended family, but by the many friends he made while in USAID and his other work. You may sign the guestbook at this web link: Eugene Rauch Obituary (1941 – 2022) – Inverness, IA – Quad-City Times (

Published by The Washington Post on August 17, 2022.

Townsend Smith Swayze

Townsend Smith Swayze of Tunbridge, Vermont and White River Junction, Vermont died on August 4, 2022, at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in the company of his wife, Felicity Swayze, his son Peter Swayze, and his daughter India Swayze.

T, as he was known, was born in New York City on July 17, 1937.   T was a world-famous rower who competed nationally and internationally into his 80’s.  He began his rowing life at Harvard College as captain of the undefeated 1959 heavyweight crew.  He graduated from Harvard cum laude in 1959.

He subsequently earned Masters degrees at Oxford’s Wadham College and at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School prior to joining USAID in November 1963.  In January 1964 he took up his post in New Delhi as Special Assistant to the USAID Director Tyler Wood, and then for John Lewis. He returned to Washington in March 1967 to be Pakistan Desk Officer.  In 1971, T and his colleagues managed to have aid to Pakistan suspended to prevent it being used in ways detrimental to East Pakistan.  Late in 1971 he resigned from the foreign service in protest over US policy which failed to recognize the genocide occurring in East Pakistan.  He then joined the World Bank where he spent 27 years before retiring in 1998.  He and Felicity then moved to Tunbridge, their second home.

In 2012 T was one of 60 honored guests invited to Dhaka by the Government of Bangladesh for presentation of a special award recognizing their role in supporting the liberation of Bangladesh from West Pakistan.  T, a very modest man, was particularly proud of this award.

He is also survived by granddaughter Savitri Mann, of Tacoma, Washington and grandson Ivan Mann, of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  A memorial service will be scheduled for the fall of 2022.

Margie C. Jaspersen

Margie C. Jaspersen of Bethesda, MD, died peacefully after a brief illness on June 3, 2022. She and her husband, Frederick Jaspersen, lived in Bethesda for many years after living abroad for his career as an economist.

A 1981 graduate of Georgetown University in linguistics, Margie worked for the U.S. Government in several different agencies. She retired early in the 1990s from USAID, where she specialized in Middle East reporting.

Early in her married life, Margie lived for several years in Latin America, supporting her husband during his State Department and subsequent World Bank postings. Upon returning to the States and after retiring from her professional life, Margie and Fred enjoyed extensive travel and an active social life.

Margie is survived by her sisters, Betsy in Maine and Melissa in South Carolina, as well as Fred’s daughter, Katharina, of Guatemala. Her sisters-in-law, Lucy and Barbara, live in California. Locally she is survived by Fred’s niece, Alida Anderson, and nephews, Frederick Anderson and Eric Anderson.

Margie will be interred in Maine with her husband later this summer. She was a beautiful soul, within and without.

A memorial service is planned for 11:30 a.m. on August 19 in the Auditorium at Brookside Gardens Visitor Center in Wheaton, MD.

Published by The Washington Post on Jul. 23, 2022.

David Shear

David Shear, of Alexandria, Virginia, died on July 5, 2022, at the age of 90.  Born in New York City, he grew up in northern New Jersey — still rural at that time — where he developed a deep love of the environment and became an avid fisherman and outdoorsman.

After working his way through NYU, David received a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship to Harvard University, where he earned an MA in history.  His keen interest in Africa, particularly the history of colonialism there, led to his role as a researcher at Boston University’s African Studies program.

Recruited by the Kennedy administration, he joined the nascent U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1961. During a distinguished 23-year career, with postings to Nigeria, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal, he became known as an innovative leader in development planning and management.  He served as director for Africa programs and policy and established the first Regional Economic Development Services Office (REDSO). His leadership of drought relief in the eight African Sahelian states resulted in the creation of the Sahel Development Program, which included the Club Du Sahel, an international consortium of donor countries and development agencies.  For this effort, he and AID colleague Don Brown shared the prestigious Rockefeller Public Service Award.

David’s last State Department assignment was as USAID Mission Director in Dakar, Senegal, where he was promoted to career minister, then the highest grade in the U.S. Foreign Service.  The U.S. Ambassador to Senegal at the time, Charles W. Bray, described him as “the single most impressive career public servant I have met in 23 years in government … having a rare — almost unique — capacity to combine profound knowledge of his subject matter, and a rigorous and analytical intellect, with purposeful energy and a strong managerial hand.”

Following these years of public service, David joined the International Management and Development Group, where he served as president. He led a program to alleviate widespread unemployment among Senegal’s youth.  He also helped create the New Nigeria Foundation, which established community-based health clinics in over 80 villages, treating more than a million people.  The foundation continues to serve the Nigerian people today.

In 2008, David worked with the UN Foundation to help establish an overall management plan for the Friends of the Global Fund Africa to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis throughout the continent.

As a visiting professor at the (then) Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, he taught graduate courses for eight years, emphasizing the practical, problem-solving applications of development economics.  Most of his students chose careers in public service and went on to leadership roles, a legacy which pleased him immensely.

In 2005, David’s love of nature and commitment to sustainable international development converged when he joined the Jane Goodall Institute in the U.S., first as a board member and then as its chair, positions he held for 15 years.  In 2012, learning of a planned highway that would have bisected the Serengeti and disrupted the annual animal migration in that rare and essential ecosystem, he worked closely with Goodall to mobilize international support that saved the Serengeti by proposing an acceptable alternate route.

David was an avid (maybe even slightly obsessive) fisherman, casting his line in waters on every continent but Antarctica.  His house and garden in the mid- century modern community of Hollin Hills provided him, his wife, Barbara, and their family with a strong sense of community.  He was a founding member of the Friends of Hollin Hills and toward the end of his life, he devoted himself increasingly to the community in which he and Barbara had lived, off and on, since 1968, with many dogs, cats, and visiting grandchildren.

David is survived by his wife of 67 years, Barbara (whom he met in first grade); his two daughters, Elizabeth (John Bredin) and Jessica; grandchildren Phoebe, Stephen, and David Bredin; brother Morris and sister-in-law Lucille; as well as cousins, nieces, and nephews.  David’s life will be celebrated at 3:30pm, October 30, at the Hollin Hall of Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church.

John Roy Oleson

John R. Oleson, a retired US Foreign Service Officer and Development Advisor, died on July 6, 2022, in Towson, MD, of complications related to dementia. He was 91.

He was born on October 12, 1930 in Waukesha, WI, to Emil Oleson, a dairyman, and Arline Oleson (née Wittig), and was raised with a sister, Monica Steger. His family then moved to New Jersey where he attended the public schools of Elizabeth and Cranford. He went on to attend Harvard College where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated with high honors in Economics in 1952. After attending the University of Copenhagen for a year under a Fulbright fellowship, he entered Harvard Law School where he was elected to the Board of Student Advisors and graduated with honors in 1956. He was then admitted to the Illinois bar and became an associate of a major Chicago law firm.

While at law school, he met Mary Elizabeth Russell of Saco, ME, then attending Wellesley College, and they married in 1957.

In 1958, he joined the career foreign service of the Department of State. He had assignments in the Bureau of Economic Affairs in Washington, DC, and in its overseas missions in Bilbao and Mexico City. In 1965, he transferred to the Agency for International Development. He initially was an Attorney Advisor to the Bureau of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs and then became the regional legal advisor to the USAID Missions in Colombia and Ecuador while stationed in Bogota. He later became the Assistant Director for Operations in the USAID Mission to Colombia until his return to Washington in 1970 to attend the Department of State’s Senior Seminar in Foreign Policy. Upon graduating the following year, he undertook a series of overseas assignments as Director of the USAID Missions to Paraguay (1971 – 1973), Bolivia (1973 – 1976), and Honduras (1979 – 1981) and as Deputy Director of the USAID Mission to Egypt (1976 – 1979). His time in Egypt spanned the several years leading to and just after the Camp David Accords during which time the US assistance program to Egypt was increased enormously.

John and Mary returned to the DC area early in 1982, residing in Chevy Chase, MD. After serving as Director of the Office of Central American Affairs and of the Office of Andean Affairs in USAID’s Bureau of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, he became that Bureau’s Deputy Assistant Administrator for Program.

He retired from the Senior Foreign Service in 1985 with the rank of Minister Counselor. Remaining in the DC area, he undertook an active career of consulting on various aspects of development work. He was particularly active in efforts in Latin America involving reforms to the justice sector. He retired from consulting work in 2000 whereupon he and his wife moved to Baltimore.

John and Mary loved to visit museums and attend theater, concerts, and opera in Baltimore, Washington DC, and New York City; they maintained their life-long love of travel both throughout the US and abroad; and, they delighted in attending and following the activities of their three beloved grandsons.

John has been predeceased by his parents and his sister, Monica Steger Rusk, as well as her husband, Daniel Rusk. He is survived by his wife of sixty-four years; his daughter, Lisa Meagher, and her husband, Brendan; his sons, Neil and Eric Oleson; and his grandsons, Declan and Finnian Meagher and Jasper Davenport.

In keeping with his wishes, a memorial service will not be held. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation either to Harvard University or the educational institution of your choice or to one of his favored charities: AMFAR, AFSC, the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the United Way.

(Published by The Washington Post on July 17, 2022.)

Richard N. Blue, who had an illustrious and wide-ranging international career in the Senior Foreign Service and numerous other roles in international development, died at 86 on June 22, 2022, at home in Vero Beach Florida with his wife, Susan Holloran, his son Daniel, and grandsons Finn and Enzo Blue by his side.

Blue had his first international career exposure in Germany with the Army Signal Corps during the Korean conflict. His international interests continued over a lifetime, in academia and in the U.S. Agency for International Development and beyond. He lived in India and Thailand, worked throughout South and Southeast Asia, and later in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, representing the best of U.S. assistance efforts, creating positive relationships wherever he went. His home base was Washington, DC and the Blue Ridge in Loudoun County Virginia.

Richard Blue earned his PhD at Claremont Graduate University and began his career as a Professor of Political Science, South Asian Studies at the University of Minnesota.  He was, above all, a teacher, an exceptional mentor, colleague, friend and inspiration to many whose lives he touched, professionally and personally.

A natural, charismatic leader, voracious reader, lover of classical music and student of history, he was always curious and interested in people and their personal histories and connected easily with everyone with engaging conversation.  His genuineness, kindness, open heartedness and respect for others amplified a formidable intellect and shone through all his personal relationships.

In 1975, Blue was recruited to lead a faculty supporting USAID officers’ professional development.  Subsequently, he led an Agency-wide impact evaluation initiative, the Impact Evaluation Series, worked on Capitol Hill drafting content and strategy for revision of the Foreign Assistance Act, directed the Office of Egypt Affairs and served in other leadership roles.

After his retirement from USAID he joined The Asia Foundation where he served as Representative for Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. In recognition of his work in Thailand he was appointed by the King of Thailand as an “Officer of the Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand,” a highly unusual honor. He returned to Washington and helped grow a global management consulting firm, and worked with others in the field, traveling extensively in Eastern and Central Europe. His stories are legend.

In 2013, Richard shifted his focus to preserving the legacy of his brother, James Blue, another story-teller and an innovative, award winning film maker who died at age 49, leaving an impressive body of work now archived at the University of Oregon. Richard created, with his son Daniel, The James Blue Alliance, to preserve, restore and promulgate his brother’s films including The March, The Olive Trees of Justice (re mastered and released in 2022), and Who Killed Fourth Ward?  At the time of his death, Richard was working to develop and fund a teaching syllabus for his brother’s films, including many made for the USIA in the 1960s and 70s, to be part of the curriculum at various grade levels in schools throughout the country and the world.  A memorial fund to honor Richard will be set up to promote this work.

Richard Blue was the son of Harry and Pauline Blue of Portland Oregon.  He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Susan Holloran, daughter Michelle Blue Benedict, son Daniel (Jodi) Blue, and his grandchildren Sarah Benedict, Todd Benedict, Finnigan Hawley-Blue, Rio Blue, and Enzo Blue.  A gathering in memory of Richard will be held in the afternoon of September 24, 2022 at Susan and Richard’s home in Bluemont, Virginia.  If you would like to attend please contact Susan Holloran at

Jack Heller

Jack Heller of Washington, D.C. died on Saturday, July 2, 2022, at the age of 90. He was the beloved husband of the late Naomi Birnbaum Heller, devoted father of Michael (Deborah Cahn), Dan (Eli Penberthy) and Rafael (Michal Avni) Heller, and loving grandfather of Ellie and Jonah Heller, Joelle Dong-Heller and Hannah Heller and Eitan and Gilad Avni-Heller. Graveside funeral services will be held on Sunday, July 10, 2022, 10 a.m., at Judean Memorial Gardens, Olney, MD. Arrangements have been entrusted to Torchinsky Hebrew Funeral Home, 202-541-1001.

Jack Heller served at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from 1962 to 1972 in various positions, including Director of Programs and Policies for Latin America, Legal Advisor and Director of Operations, USAID/Brazil, and Senior Tax and Fiscal Advisor for Latin America.

Before joining USAID he was a teaching fellow and research associate (1958-1961) at the Harvard Law School’s International Program in Taxation. His other academic experience includes Lecturer and Co-Director, Special programs in International Transactions for Latin American Public Sector Attorneys (1976-1984) and International Transactions for the Peoples Republic of China (1982-1987).

Mr. Heller practiced law in Washington, DC from 1974 specializing in international matters until his retirement. He was General Counsel and a member of the Board of Directors of the Pan American Development Foundation (1981-1998) and served as the Foundation’s President 1998-2000.

He was a founder in 1993 of the Fund For Democracy and Development (FDD), a US Foundation that provided emergency commodity (food and heating oil) assistance and technical assistance to Russia, Armenia, and other former Soviet Republics. In 1995 he co-founded and was President until 2000 of the FDD’s New Russia Small Business Investment Fund, a Moscow-based not-for-profit corporation, which provided training to Russian bankers and extended supervised financing to Russian banks for small business lending. Mr. Heller co-founded the Ukraine-United States Business Council in 1995 and served as its General Counsel for many years.

Mr. Heller received his BA from the University of Chicago and an LL.B from Columbia University Law School.

Joanne Marie McPherson

Joanne Marie McPherson (age 75) died on June 23, 2022, at her home in McLean, Virginia surrounded by family. She is survived by her husband, Peter McPherson; children, Susan McPherson Shea (Jack), Marc Bielawski, Bruce McPherson (Hanh), Michael Kircher (Donna); and seven grandchildren.

The daughter of Patrick and Catherine Paddock, she was born October 22, 1946, in Washington, DC. Joanne attended the University of Maryland at College Park.

Joanne accomplished many things in her lifetime. Peter served as MSU’s president from 1993 to 2005, and Joanne served as First Lady of Michigan State University. During that time, she founded Safe Place, the first shelter at any university to house and protect victims of domestic violence and stalking, and their families. Joanne was awarded the Honorary Alumni Award from the MSU Alumni Association. She also was known for revitalizing Homecoming at the university, helping to transform many traditional celebratory events to focus on student academic and public service achievement. While at MSU, she was known for opening the President’s residence, Cowles House, to numerous fund-raising, alumni, and faculty and student events. Joanne was also appointed by Gov. John Engler to the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission.

Visitation will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 30, 2022, at Roth-Gerst Funeral Chapel, 305 Hudson, Lowell, Michigan 49331. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, July 1, 2022, at Vergennes United Methodist Church, 10411 Bailey Dr. NE, Lowell, Michigan 49331. Interment Bailey Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to MSU Safe Place, 155 Service Road, Room 113A, East Lansing, MI 48824.

(Published by The Washington Post on Jun. 26, 2022.)