Obituary for Liberia RPCV D. Michael Van De Veer
On December 19, 2006, shortly after returning to Hawaii from Nepal where he was working as an independent journalist, D. Michael Van De Veer died from an infection from which he could not recover. An active member of SAJA (South Asian Journalists Association), Van De Veer was a long time social activist around the world and best known as the colorful and compassionate voice of Kauai Community Radio KKCR’s weekly “Out of the Box” call in talk show. But as large as his presence in radio was, Michael was also very active as a journalist, writing and reporting for Pacifica’s Free Speech Radio News, UnitedWeBlog, Voice of Democratic Nepal and other independent news outlets. An active member of SAJA (South Asian Journalists Association), Michael frequently traveled to and wrote about, social and political affairs in Nepal. A KKCR website biography notes that Michael was a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia and the former Planning Director of Santa Cruz County, CA. Michael served on KKCR’s Board of Directors and was active in supporting charitable causes in Nepal.
Obituary for India RPCV Ken Miller
There was another side of Ken Miller known best to his neighbors in Morgan County. He was a farmer and a dedicated citizen. His sense of service had been honed in India as a member of the Peace Corps for two years. He was on the board of the Morgan County Hospital and a member of the Mooresville Nature Club.
Obituary for Ecuador RPCV Jack Thornborrow
Thornborrow's life of service may have begun after college when he volunteered in agriculture for the Peace Corps in Ecuador. He met his wife, Darcy, in London, and they traveled to Afghanistan, where they taught English. They married in the Katmandu Valley in Nepal before returning to the United States and moving with his family to Buhl in 1974. In the early 1990s, Thornborrow bridged his agricultural background with local politics and took a seat on the Planning and Zoning Commission. "I think my dad was one of the most fair people you would ever meet," Jenah said. "He would make decisions to his detriment if he knew they were right. In the farm, he made those decisions as well as in the bigger community."
Obituary for Costa Rica RPCV Langdon Barone
After graduating from West Virginia University, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica. From 1985 to 1998, he worked overseas with the Department of State. In 1998, he was sworn in as a Foreign Service Officer and had postings in Dakar, Senegal and Washington, D.C., where he was serving at the time of his death.
Obituary for Venezuela RPCV Debbie Jirak
After graduating from Temple University with a degree in Spanish, Mrs. Jirak became one of America's first Peace Corps volunteers, working in a village in the Andes in Venezuela for two years. Returning to the United States, she earned her master's degree at Duquesne University and taught Spanish in a number of Pittsburgh Public Schools. That's where she met her husband, likewise a teacher and eventually a vice principal. The couple helped finance their 1981 honeymoon in the Galapagos Islands by arranging a tour group of 34 friends. That led them to start their own travel company. In a 1995 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story on the agency, Mrs. Jirak said, "Adventure should not be reserved for the advantaged, nor should world travel be exclusively for the wealthy." Mrs. Jirak and her husband were sensitive to the various cultures they visited with their tours, holding several orientation sessions before trips to familiarize travelers with their destinations. "We find that people appreciate a trip more when they know what to expect and they become sensitive to the particular culture being visited," Mrs. Jirak said in the article. The couple visited the Galapagos numerous times and also traveled to China, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Germany and the Arctic, among other locations. Mrs. Jirak would document their trips through photographs and writings. The Jiraks also hosted Mexican, Japanese and Inuit exchange students.