Obituary for Nepal RPCV Loret Miller Ruppe
Inspired by her mother, who was director of the Peace Corps at the time and who later, was the U.S. ambassador to Norway, Dr. Ruppe served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal from 1985 to 1987. She married another Peace Corps volunteer and moved to Charlottesville where she received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia in 1990. While pursuing a doctoral degree in environmental engineering from the University of California at David, she completed the demanding Program in College Teaching and taught undergraduate classes. Dr. Ruppe organized conferences aimed at encouraging under-represented minorities and women to enter the engineering field. She also organized the National Science Foundation’s First Women in engineering Leadership Conference. She returned to the Washington area in 2003 to work at AID, where in addition to her role on the global climate change team, she also provided technical support on a range of climate-related issues to missions in Asia and the Near East and was a U.S. delegate to negotiations on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Dr. Ruppe received her doctorate in 2005. Read More.
Obituary for Jamaica RPCV Bonita 'Bonnie' Mather
Bonnie's life was rich with service to others. After nursing school, her nursing career began in the early 1950s with assignments in Billings, Williston, North Dakota, and Grand Forks, North Dakota. She received her bachelor of science degree in elementary/special education at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, and her master's in special education from Eastern Montana College in Billings, going on to teach regular and special education for Great Falls Public Schools until 1972. She also piloted the first elementary program for the emotionally disturbed. Bonnie again returned to nursing at the Montana Deaconess Medical Center (now Benefis East) in various units from 1985 to 1993. In 1995, Bonnie joined the Peace Corps and served two years in Jamaica as a primary health care and health education nurse. Bonnie retired to her residence in Monarch, where her intelligent wit, keen sense of humor, and desire to give to others made her a fast friend to the community. Read more.
Obituary for Pakistan RPCV Richard Bowman
After returning to the United States, he was among the first employees of the Peace Corps, joining in 1961. For two years, he spoke at college campuses and gave television and radio interviews throughout the country recruiting for the Peace Corps. He served with the organization in Pakistan from 1963 to 1966. Read more.
Obituary for Togo Medical Officer Albert E. Henn
He had been a Peace Corps medical officer in Togo in 1968 before working for the U.S. Agency for International Development. During 1970 and 1971, he served as regional medical officer for the Peace Corps in Washington, where he recruited, hired and trained Peace Corps medical staff and helped to formulate Peace Corps health policies; coordinated international emergency care; represented the Peace Corps with other government agencies; and conducted clinical research. Read more.
Obituary for Thailand RPCV Henry Ginsburg, Curator of Thai and Cambodian Collections at the British Library
Introduced to Asia with a stay in India, Ginsburg nevertheless studied Russian at Columbia, then joined the US Peace Corps, which sent him to Thailand. There he taught English in the provincial town of Chachoengsao, 1964-66. His interest subsequently took him to the only viable academic institution where he could pursue the topic of Thai literature, namely the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University. Under the guidance of Stuart Simmonds, he wrote a dissertation on a set of embedded Thai fables, progeny of the Sanskrit Pancatantra, that, as can be learned from his 1975 scholarly article on the subject, serve to discourage humans from allowing identities to be perverted (don't marry a nymph, and remember that the mythic Garuda bird lost his credibility when he allowed the birds he ruled over to see him featherless while moulting). Read more.
Obituary for Malaysia RPCV Norman Leo Haug
He served in the Peace Corps from 1964 to 1966 and was stationed on a Malaysian island where he was often the only physician for a population of several thousand. After the Peace Corps, he joined the Army. While serving in Vietnam, he narrowly survived the Tet Offensive. He was a volunteer physician after the 1998 Hurricane Mitch in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and received many awards including the Colorado Rural Health Excellence Award in 1999, the Civis Princeps Award from Regis University in 2001 and the National Rural Health Practioner of the Year in 2003. Read more.
Memorial tree planted for Uzbekistan RPCV Melissa Reynolds
Reynolds, who was in her second year of the sociology and anthropology masters program, was studying to become a historical archeologist when she came to ISU in 2005. Born in the Netherlands, Reynolds joined the Peace Corps for two years and taught English to elementary students in Uzbekistan before attending ISU. She aspired to become an archaeologist when she was in elementary school and was well on her way to achieving that goal. Read more.
Obituary for Colombia RPCV Bill Bullard
Mr. Bullard retired in 1976, and he and his wife promptly joined the Peace Corps, spending 1 and a half years in Colombia helping to plan new national parks there. Most of the volunteers were much younger, but "we could keep up with them pretty well," Jean Bullard said. Read more.
Obituary for Chile RPCV Charles Grier Johnson Jr.
After graduating from Glassboro High School, he earned a bachelor's degree in forest resource management from the University of Idaho in Moscow in 1967 then joined the Peace Corps and served in Chile. While in Chile, he met and wed Angelica Gonzalez Sotomayor. Read more.
Obituary for Poland and Sierra Leone RPCV Ellen Elliot
Mrs. Elliott's passion for social causes provided the framework for an adventurous life. Her charity work took her to West Africa, Nigeria, India and Poland. In the Bay Area, she championed fair redistricting rules in state government, opened educational opportunities to poor children on the Peninsula, started a message service for inmates at the San Mateo County Jail, fed the poor in East Palo Alto, and, as the public face of the League of Women Voters, advocated for more open government on television and radio. She tried her hand at book publishing, after returning to the Peace Corps with her husband to help promote tourism in Poland during its transition back to democracy in 1991. While she was leading community-building groups there, Mrs. Elliott was also editing a book about the history of the large prewar Jewish community in the area, "Jewish Bialystok and Surroundings in Eastern Poland." The book was favorably reviewed by the New York Times and is now in its second edition. Read more.
Obituary for Somalia RPCV Laurence Bourassa who led Catholic Relief Services in Cambodia during the bloody era of the infamous killing fields
Mr. Bourassa's life was most notably shaped by two episodes, friends and colleagues said - his stint in Somalia with the first group of Peace Corps volunteers, which first gave him a taste for overseas humanitarian work, and two harrowing years he spent in Cambodia during the bloody era of the infamous killing fields. He first went to Cambodia in 1973, as the conflict in Vietnam was spilling across the border and the brutal Khmer Rouge communist regime was gaining power. Mr. Bourassa was in charge of field operations for Catholic Relief Services, where he worked for 40 years. He provided food, medical assistance and water to Cambodians who were fleeing to government-controlled pockets of the country. He set up a relief operation and field hospital in Neak Loeung, where he briefly was stranded in 1975, when the Khmer Rouge was shelling the city round the clock. "We were in a siege situation," said Pat Johns, the director of emergency operations for CRS and a fellow worker in Cambodia. "We couldn't get a chopper in there to get them out." Mr. Bourassa and several medical personnel finally escaped via helicopter just 12 hours before the city fell to the Khmer Rouge. "When the helicopter landed in Phnom Penh it was a sight to behold," Mr. Johns said. "It was shot to hell. There were bullet holes all over." Read more.
Obituary for Lesotho RPCV Ruth Dunn
In 1984, Ruth Dunn joined the Peace Corps and went to Lesotho, a country surrounded by South Africa, said her son. "You have to remember that South Africa was in upheaval with apartheid," he said. "Nelson Mandela was in prison. Lesotho was not a place you wanted to be." Dunn, described as "about as big as a bird," thrived. Assigned to set up business cooperatives, she became a beloved and trusted member of the community. "Everyone called her 'Miss Ruth,' " her son said. "She adopted a dog she called Chang II after her cat Chang at home, and they went everywhere together. It was the best time of her life. " Read more.
Obituary for Tonga RPCV Ervin "Duane" Lassen
Duane received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from ISU in 1972 and, after serving in the Peace Corps in Tonga, he returned to ISU, where he completed a residency in veterinary clinical pathology and obtained his Ph.D. Duane was an avid runner, weight lifter and scuba diver. He biked the Leadville 100 and was an avid sports fan. Beyond his hobbies and his career, Duane's great love was his family, and he will be missed as a son, husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend and teacher. Read more.
Obituary for Ethiopia RPCV Claudette Renner
It was natural for Claudette Renner, who passed away Feb. 6, to find ways to help others. She dedicated her life to helping others who couldn't help themselves. She was an active member of the Peace Corps volunteering in Ethiopia from 1965-1967. After Africa, she came back to the United States as a social worker in the Appalachian Mountains. Read more.
Obituary for Mali RPCV Clarence Wilson
Clarence Wilson, born in 1916, was inspired by the exploits of Charles Lindbergh to join the Navy as a pilot. After fighting in World War II, Wilson continued working for the Navy until he was hired in the early 1960s to work on unmanned space exploration by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He helped launch a satellite in 1963 that allowed the United States to watch the 1964 Olympics from Tokyo, his wife said. When Wilson's first wife died, he joined the Peace Corps in Mali, where he taught agriculture. "He had to learn French in no time flat, because that is what they spoke," his wife said. "He joined the Peace Corps to get his life back together." Read more.