Returned Peace Corps
Volunteers of South Florida

In Memoriam

The pages in this website are dedicated to our wonderful friends and RPCVSF Members who have passed.

Bob Anderson

  1937 - 2023

With sadness we note the passing of ROBERT ANDERSON (Gabon 1; Ghana) last year. Bob was one of our RPCVSF founders and second President.

Robert (Bob) Anderson passed away in January of 2022, a few days before his 83rd birthday. He is buried in a family plot in Woodlawn Cemetery in Miami. Bob is survived by his sister and preceded in death by his parents and two brothers. Bob was divorced and had no children. Bob was a skilled iron worker and union member, serving the community in the greater Miami area for many years. Bob was one of the first Volunteers in the 60's, and he again served in the mid 90's. Bob served in West Africa on both occasions.

Bob was also the first president of the current  Miami RPCV group, as well as working on a project to send text books to Latin America. Bob was also a Freemason, working to raise money for children's hospitals. Robert Anderson was a productive member of the community in Miami, and he will be missed.

Gabon 1 was a school building project and was famously featured in a National Geographic spread. It was also infamously the only all male Peace Corps project. The plan was for a team to build a school and then move on to the next site. PC did not think women could live so itinerantly. Little did they know….

A few years later Bob reupped for Ghana. His stay was shortenedwhen he returned home emaciated by Ghanaian cuisine. He was on hand to receive our first Lorret Miller Ruppe Award from NPCA for best RPCV project in the nation.

Maria (Betty) Bruquetas  (9/24/54 – 8/12/21)

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Betty Bruquetas on Thursday, August 12, 2021.  She succumbed after a long illness that she fought with her well-known valor.

Betty was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Solomon Islands from 1993-95.

She was the President of RPCVGCFL the Sarasota group for many years.

She was admired and beloved by all who knew her. Betty had a strong sense of responsibility for all the work she did in various organizations, including our RPCV group.  As President, she was the group’s center from which spun ideas, projects, campaigns, celebrations, national and international communications, history-making events that are all recorded in our RPCV Facebook.

More important, she was sincerely interested in each individual, each cause that came across her path. 

Her death is a sore trial for her sister, Ileana, and her brother, Joe, who have spent the last weeks looking after her.  Our hearts go out to them, as we share their grief.  And we all share  pride and gratitude in having had Betty with us for so many fruitful years. 

If you would like to respond to this, to share thoughts or memories of your experiences with Betty, please do so on our Facebook page:

Her death is a sore trial for her sister, Ileana, and her brother, Joe, who have spent the last weeks looking after her.  Our hearts go out to them, as we share their grief.  And we all share  pride and gratitude in having had Betty with us for so many fruitful years. 

If you would like to respond to this, to share thoughts or memories of your experiences with Betty, please do so on our Facebook page:

John Christopher Farina (1948 - 2018)

Hi All, on February 20, 2019 the Miami-Dade County Commissioners passed a resolution to name the  Environmentally Endangered lands preserve at NE 163 street just east of Biscayne Blvd. the John C. Farina  Preserve.

Since that time the Friends of Biscayne bay ( nonprofit, has set up an account to collect funds to be used on this preserve.  The first item that we would like to raise funds for is a metal sign , much like a  historical marker that  describes who John was and why the preserve is named after him.

Donations  are accepted at this time by check or money order made out to “Friends of Biscayne Bay”.  They can be mailed to  Joy Klein at 6817 sw 83 court, Miami, FL.  33143.  If extra funds are received, we would like to place benches, trash cans,   etc. So that John’s  years of work are remembered as those of us know he deserved to be remembered.

John was a Peace Corps Volunteer, beginning in 1970, serving in Quito, Ecuador, for two tours, returning to Miami, Florida, in 1974. John was the Compliance Chief for the Department of Environmental Resource Management (DERM) for Miami-Dade County, Florida, from 1981-2006 (25 years). He began his employment with Miami-Dade County in 1974. 

John served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador. John was a resident of Miami Shores.

John C. Farina 1948 - 2018 John C. Farina passed away in Miami, Florida, on May 6, 2018. John was born on December 13, 1948, in Detroit, Michigan, to Joseph P. Farina, Sr., and Harriett A. (Stone) Farina. John attended grade school (Kensington Elementary) and junior high school (Kinloch Jr. High) in Miami, and was a proud Stingaree at Miami Sr. High where he graduated in June, 1966. He was a member of the high school swim team and a member of Key Club. John graduated in 1970 from the University of South Florida with a BA in Geology, Petrology, and Geomorphology; attended NOVA Southeastern University from 1990-1995; and was a student at FIU, Tamiami Campus, finalizing coursework to further his education on basic science, math, and to enhance his water resources' knowledge to compliment his environmental profession. John was a member of the United States Peace Corps, beginning in 1970, serving in Quito, Ecuador, for two tours, returning to Miami, Florida, in 1974.

As a child, John was a Cub Scout. As a young man, John was a member of DeMolay International where he excelled to the highest ranking for his age group. DeMolay's values were John's values: the love between a child and a parent, reverence for sacred things, courtesy, comradeship, fidelity, cleanness, patriotism. John received a Certification of Excellence and Ethics in Management Award from the Academy of Strategic Management -from the FIU Institute of Government in October, 2011; and a Certification in Management and Ethics from HazWoper. John had been bilingual since grade school where he taught himself Spanish by going to the movie theaters to listen to (only) Spanish-speaking films. John was the Compliance Chief for the Department of Environmental Resource Management (DERM) for Miami-Dade County, Florida, from 1981-2006 (25 years). He began his employment with Miami-Dade County in 1974. And in retirement from his county employment, John was known as one of the faithful attendees at DERM Reunion Picnics.

John was briefly a fleet, trucks, and export manager for Johnson Ford in Hialeah, Florida from March, 1980 to August, 1981, where his bilingual expertise was an added attraction to his skill set. John volunteered for thirty years as a participant and site trainer for the DERM 'Baynanza" extravaganza, where like-minded environmentalist embraced the Biscayne Bay area for a day of celebration and the cleaning of the area to enhance the community's natural Bay environment. John was very proud to be a part of this event. John also volunteered with the Village of Miami Shores in 2014 to serve on a committee for the Environmental Awareness Day in Miami Shores.

John was preceded in death by his mother, Harriett A. Farina (2006) and his father Joseph P. Farina, Sr. (2012). He leaves the love of his life, his beloved Jeannette Pena of Miami, Florida; his brother, The Honorable Joseph P. Farina of Miami, Florida, and his wife Joelle Haspil; his favorite and only sister, Anita Shower of Grover Beach, California, and her husband, Robert Robert. John's many friends will remember him for his kind heart, infectious laugh, brilliant mind; his ability to photograph anything and everything; his caring, compassionate, and nurturing spirit; his love for animals, his sense of adventure, his love for the Peace Corps, and his love of the environment. He will forever be missed and will always be remembered. Private services have been held. /// Information Courtesy of The Miami Herald.

Mitch was serving in Namibia where he passed away.

A graduate of Florida Atlantic University died overseas while training for the Peace Corps.

The Peace Corps said 24-year-old Mitchell Herrmann of Lake Worth died suddenly in Namibia, Africa, on Aug. 16.

The Corps said he began in June, training to teach science as a volunteer.

Herrmann graduated with with a degree in geology from Florida Atlantic University, and previously worked for various environmental positions. His latest job was in Lake Arrowhead, California at Ranch Outdoor Science School. Herrmann’s Facebook account is visualized with scenic pictures of him surrounded by nature’s elements.

“The entire Peace Corps family is mourning the loss of Mitchell Herrmann, one of our newest members and a young man who stood ready to share his passion for teaching with the people of Namibia," said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen.

The Peace Corps said Herrmann is survived by multiple members of his family including his step-parents, father Eduard Herrmann, mother Lisa Mirich, and siblings Ethan and Sierra Herrmann. According to the Peace Corps, a memorial service will be planned soon.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Garry Pierrot (Guatemala), April 23, 2017

The Florida Bar News of December 15, 2017, reports the death of Garry Pierrot (Guatemala) on April 23, 2017, at Dulles VA. Garry was a former director and vice president of RPCVSF. He left us and South Florida to become a member of the Foreign Service.

Frederick (Buck) Thornburg, 19 Sep 17

Between graduation from DePauw University, a graduate degree at the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from Indiana University, Frederick F. Thornburg (1940 – 2017) served as a Peace Corps teacher and coach in Colombia. Frederick was appointed as the Law Clerk to the late John S. Hastings, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals in Chicago. He next entered the world of business, serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of the Wackenhut Corporation. The last phase of Frederick’s multi-faceted career came when he served as Vice President of Institutional Advancement and General Counsel for St. Thomas University. During his retirement, Frederick served fifteen years with the Miami-Dade County School System. This work included chairing the budget and finance committee and ethics committee. He also served on the Board for the South Florida-based Public Broadcasting Service radio and television stations.

David Ripley

Thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers across the globe, and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers nationwide mourn the loss of 29-year old Peace Corps Volunteer, David Ripley of Palmetto, Florida, who was serving in Rwanda and, while traveling in Tanzania, was struck down by a fatal aneurysm.

We wish to extend condolences to his family and friends on behalf of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Gulf Coast Florida, RPCVs of South Florida, RPCVs of Tampa, and RPCVs of SW Florida.

Basha Hicks,

Basha Vianne Hicks, passed away suddenly on February 23, 2017, while residing in Rome, Italy. She leaves her daughter, Emelia Trop of Rome, Italy, her sisters Lynn Santoro of Cape Cod, MA and Robyn Egan of Rochester, NY, and their families, her former husband, Ashley Trop of Key Biscayne, FL, his extended family; many cousins, and friends in the U.S. and the world over. Her parents, Gladys and Louis "Chick" Hicks predeceased her. Basha's joie de vivre, her extraordinary brilliance, her sense of adventure and her everlasting love will be missed by all.

Basha earned her J.D. at Harvard (1986). In addition, she earned her Doctor of Education (University of Massachusetts) with a focus on ecology, planning and development. She was a Peace Corps alumnae who did field work and management in Venezuela designing and developing trails and sites for Guatopo National Park under the Ministry of the Environment. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1972); and graduated from Sharon, MA High School (1965).

A longtime resident of Key Biscayne, FL, she was a member of the Key Biscayne Zoning Ordinance Review Board, Director of the Peace Research Foundation, past Director of the New Theater (Coral Gables) and past Program Director of the Harvard Club of Miami. She is the author of "Jugando entre gotas..." an international award-winning children's ecology book. There will be private celebrations of her life. Her family asks that you perform good deeds and give to in Basha's memory.

RPCV Anita Ashok Dator, 41,

was one of 19 people killed Friday, November 20th, in a terror attack on a hotel in Mail. Anita, a mother of a 7 year old, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal. She was with the Palladium Group, an international development organization and focused on family planning and HIV issues. Anita was not a member of our group nor a resident of Florida, nevertheless, our hearts are heavy with her loss.

Marisol Snow, July 6, 2015.

Marisa Snow was a Peace Corps Volunteer who was serving in Botswana with her husband Gary Snow until the spring of 2015 when upon the recommendation of their physician in Botswana, they returned home for medical treatment.

Jean Kretchmer,Fiji, 1988-1990

On April 5, 1996, Jean, age 73, flew to Atlanta to meet President Jimmy Carter and receive the Peace Corp's Lillian Carter Award at The Carter Center. Jeannie Erhardt was born in Chicago, where she met and later married Edward Kretschmer during World War II. After the war, they moved to Detroit, where they bought and ran a business school.

Eventually, she moved to Ft Lauderdale as a widow, but soon bought a trawler and sailed the world. At age 67, she joined the Peace Corps and worked in the Fiji Islands. Jean served on the Board of Directors for RPCVSF for a number of years. 

Donna Kelley, Eritrea 1927-2010

Dona Kelley, beloved grandmother, educator, and two-time Peace Corps volunteer, died Wednesday, May 26th, of complications resulting from emphysema. She was 82 years old. Dona's life was characterized by a profoundly humanistic worldview which saw one interconnected global community, despised the cruel and limiting influence of poverty, and prized education as a means by which any person, given the chance, could enrich their own life. Dona moved to Miami Springs with her family while still a junior in high school, forming a deep bond with the community which, even in the decline of her latter years, she refused to leave. There she raised a family. She enjoyed a life-long friendship with the Michelson family. She completed her Master's degree at the University of Miami and was an avid Hurricanes fan, particularly when opposed to her son's rival Seminoles. Moreover, she was an active civic member, a patron of local charities, and a good neighbor. Dona was also a brightly independent woman who lived up to her ideals. When her son joined the army during the Vietnam War, she in turn joined the Peace Corps, eventually serving two terms, one in what is now Eritrea, and the other in Thailand. The majority of her professional career was spent teaching English as a second language, delivering instruction to generations of students from diverse cultures and nationalities. She was a caretaker to her grandmother, and later to her mother Katherine, always devoting herself to those she loved when they needed her most. In 1991 she survived her only son, Hugh Kelley. Her final years were marked by the same independence, caring, and conscientiousness which distinguished her earlier life. In the last two years Dona's health slowly declined under the effects of emphysema, a decline which seemed worsened by the recent loss of her brother Harry and her sister-in-law Evelyn. She is survived by her daughter-in-law Eva and her grandson Wayne. To those whose lives she touched, friends, students, and family members alike, Dona Kelley was a model of acting in accordance with concern for what is right. She will be dearly missed.

Elmer Peter Albert

Al Baird, Philippines
Shelby Bond
Chris Gray
Cristina Prado

Joseph Romance

Joan Mills Siesel, Thailand 101
Barbara H. Smith
Rose Whiteside

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