Exceptional people have crossed World Education's path, starting in Lucknow, India in the early 1950s. Their extraordinary talents, passions, and energies have helped tens of thousand of people improve their lives and change conditions in their communities in more than 50 countries around the world. These pages celebrate the lives of some of World Education staff, board, and colleagues who have died. Through the generous donations of several board members and friends, a fund has been established in memory of staff to support and perpetuate the work of World Education.
(1941 – 2003)
David Bale, a member of World Education's Board from 2002-2003, was an activist, entrepreneur, and former commercial airline pilot with a history of involvement in human rights, especially the rights of women and people in the Global South. David was born in South Africa, but moved to the United States after being exiled because of his anti-apartheid activities. He met his wife, Gloria Steinem, in Los Angeles. They were married at a ceremony in the Cherokee Nation in 2000.
David is survived by his wife Gloria; son Christian Bale; three daughters, Louise Bale, Sharon Bale, and Erin Kreunen, and four grandchildren.
(1953 – 2004)
From 2000-2004, Dr. Gloria Bumanlag was the country director for World Education/Philippines. Gloria was a social scientist with a keen interest in integrated pest management (IPM) and its use with farmer field schools. "Glo" as she affectionately called, was a talented trainer, excellent facilitator, and mentor to many young agricultural extension workers through her work on IPM in the Philippines and elsewhere in Asia. Glo, who died in 2004, left her husband and three sons, who live in Los Banos, Luzon, Philippines.
Noreen M. Clark
(1943 – 2013)
Noreen Clark brought her passion for improving public health to her 15 years of service as a World Education board member. She died in November at the age of 70.
Noreen served as director of the University of Michigan's Center for Managing Chronic Disease and was the Myron E. Wegman Distinguished Professor of Public Health. She also taught pediatrics at the UM's school of medicine.
Noreen consulted for various international organizations and was also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. She is survived by her husband, son, and grandson. All who knew her miss her tremendously.
(1952 – 2003)
Vincent Coulibaly was born in 1952 at Sikasso in Mali. After he studied finance and management in Mali, he worked for the "Contrôle Genneral d'Etat" where he obtained the title of Inspector of Finance. He obtained his MBA in the United States in 1988. Vincent joined World Education/Mali in 1996 as administrative and financial manager, where he was a tremendous asset to the program team. Vincent leaves behind his wife and five children.
(1952 – 2011)
Tricia was a dear colleague who was highly respected by all of us who were fortunate to have worked closely with her. She was the ultimate mentor to so many and as her husband Tom remarked, "She always tried for that most profound of human endeavors: to be useful and helpful."
Tricia was a member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and served as president of the Adult Numeracy Network. She left a legacy of inspiring teachers to bring joy to mathematics instruction, and she remains with us, in our classrooms and our lives.
Welthy Honsinger Fisher
(1879 – 1980)
Welthy Fisher began the enterprise that would become World Education at the age of 73. She ran the organization until she was 93, and died in 1980 at 101.
Welthy was extraordinarily passionate and energetic. She campaigned for women's literacy and women's independence in India in the 1950s and in 1953, began Literacy House, a small, nonformal school in Allaabad, India, that combined literacy with agricultural training. In 1951, Welthy founded World Literacy, Inc., an organization dedicated to providing literacy training to those who needed it most throughout the world. In 1957, World Literacy became World Education.
Welthy was deeply involved with World Education either as president or advisor from 1951 until 1972, when she gave up all official duties. In 1973 she visited China for the first time in years, and returned to Peking in 1978 as the oldest foreign guest of the government. She made two "farewell" trips to India in 1973 and 1977, but returned one last time in 1980, just prior to her death at the age of 101 in Southbury, Connecticut.
(1936 – 2013)
A member of the World Education Board of Directors from 1984 until his death in 2013, William J. Foltz was a long-time advocate for disadvantaged people in Africa. As an academic, Bill taught African Studies in both Africa and the United States and conducted conscientious field work. He counseled the Clinton Administration on its policy in Africa and helped resolve conflicts in the Horn of Africa and Northern Island. Bill is survived by his wife of 55 years, and two sons and grandchildren.
Teresa Eva Frydryk
(1953 – 2003)
Teresa Frydryk, World Education's first head librarian, established a full-service library for staff use. She was instrumental in disseminating environmental health information to other Massachusetts librarians. Teresa was deeply devoted to her family and her profession. She was a tireless social justice advocate for disadvantaged people, working passionately on literacy, health care, and education issues.
(1949 – 2006)
Jill Harmsworth was vice president of Africa programs for World Education from 1987 to 2006. She was a champion for girls' and women's education, and passionately believed in the value of community-driven development and African leadership.
Jill leaves her husband Steve Morrissey; daughters Kate and Amy; brother, Peter; and thousands of people whose lives were changed by her work and dedication both in the U.S. and throughout Africa.
Lucas Hendrata was a member of World Education's Board of Trustees from the early to mid-1980s during and after his studies at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Lucas was on the staff of the Directorate of Nonformal Education, Indonesian Ministry of Education. Lucas died in the late 1980s.
Carman St. John Hunter
(1923 – 2000)
Carman Hunter began her work with as a consultant for World Education and later served on World Education's board from 1975-1979. Carman was a close friend of the famous Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, whose Pedagogy of the Oppressed was a primer for nonformal educators the world over. In 1978, she translated another of Freire's books, Pedagogy in Process: The Letters to Guinea-Bissou, from Portuguese to English and in the mid 1970's, Carman co-authored a book entitled: Adult Illiteracy in the United States: A Report to the Ford Foundation. At World Education she co-authored the paper: From the field: tested participatory activities for trainers in 1990. Carman was a passionate educator and strongly believed in the power of education to transform lives.
(1923 – 1996)
Martha Keehn served as a member of the Board
of Trustees and then as director of publications
for World Education from 1969 to 1982. She
initiated World Education Reports, a periodic
magazine which focused on key program activities.
In 1952, Martha and her husband Tom traveled to India
where they lived until 1961. When Welthy
H. Fisher (World Education's president at
the time) asked Martha and Tom to help
her expand World Education's work, they readily
Martha died in April 1996. She is survived by her six children, thirteen grandchildren, and her sister, Margaret Seder. Throughout her life Martha was a prolific letter writer. In 2000, her husband Tom, who was president of World Education from 1972-1980, published the book INDIA INK, a tribute to Martha and their India years. The book included letters Martha wrote from India and reproductions of the Keehn family collection of modern Indian art.
(1915 – 2009)
Tom Keehn's relationship with World Education
began in 1952 when he was working for Nelson
Rockefeller's American Association for Economic
and Social Development in India. World Education
was not yet established when Tom met Welthy
Fisher, the woman who went on to found the
organization. The two formed a friendship
based on optimism, generosity, and dedication
to bettering the lives of people who were
born into poverty and oppression.
Following the eight years in India, Tom took up two short assignments with the U.S. Agency for International Development in what was then Northern and Southern Rhodesia, but Tom found governmental work limiting so he and the family returned to the United States in 1964. In New York he worked with Welthy Fisher and in 1969, Tom became executive vice president of World Education. He went on to serve as president of from 1972-1980. Thereafter, until his death at age 93, he was a member of the board of trustees.
Martha, Tom's wife of 50 years, also devoted many years to World Education. Tom's legacy includes six children and thirteen grandchildren.
Dr. T. A. Koshy
(1912 – 1992)
Dr. T. A. "Ted" Koshy, a brilliant young Indian educator with a doctorate in plant pathology from Ohio State University, shared an office with Welthy Fisher, World Education's founder, in Allahabad, India. Drawn to her vision, he shifted his career toward literacy and never looked back; later, he would serve as a Literacy House director and as the coordinator of literacy efforts for the national government.
(1942 – 2014)
Carol Lancaster was a World Education trustee from the
late 1990s through 2006. Carol's educational and professional
life included masters and doctoral degrees, various and
distinguished positions with the U.S. Government,
tenured professorship at Georgetown, and in the
four years before her death, dean of Georgetown's School of
Those who knew Carol through World Education will remember her as a leader and a friend. She is survived by her husband Curtis Farrar and her son Douglas Farrar.
(1952 – 2016)
From 1998–2005, Dean Mahon was the director of microfinance at World Education. Over the course of his career, Dean, a Peace Corps alum, worked in more than 80 countries to establish micro-credit loan programs for people of few resources. Dean was working in Thailand at the time of his death.
(1923 – 2015)
Richmond Mayo-Smith, long-time friend of and inspiration to World Education,
died at the age of 92. Dick became involved with World Education in 1961,
when he moved his family to India to oversee Literacy House.
Dick joined World Education's board in 1970 and remained associated with it until the time of his death. He served as board chair from 1975-1981 and received the World Education Award in 2008.
Dick was a native of Dedham Massachusetts, and completed every stage of his formal education, from Noble and Greenough School to Amherst College to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, in Massachusetts. He taught at some of the state's (and world's) most esteemed schools, including Phillips Academy Andover and Boston Latin Academy. Dick is survived by Nancy Fox, his wife of 65 years, their three children, and six grandchildren.
(1951 – 2016)
Teresa Mendoza was chief of party for World Education/Bantwana's Força project in Mozambique. Teresa had been working in Mozambique for 12 years and was well known and widely respected. She was a native of Bolivia and spoke Spanish, Portuguese, English, and German.
Although she had only been with Bantwana for three months, Teresa had already immersed herself in the project and befriended her colleagues in Chimoio and Boston. Her death was a sorrowful shock to all. Teresa is survived by her children Marcelo, Daniela, and Carolina, and their large extended family.
(1941 – 2018)
Al Miller was World Education's country director in Benin from 1994 until his retirement in 2017. Al moved to Africa from the Midwest U.S. in 1965, when he joined the Peace Corps and was stationed in Cameroon. From that time on, he called the continent home. Al is survived by his wife and their daughter.
Al was a stalwart believer in the importance of a good and complete education for children all over the world, and worked for that ideal throughout his 23 years at World Education. Al's colleagues, friends, and neighbors in his adopted home of Parakou, Benin will miss him.
(1952 – 2003)
Elizabeth Morrish was an adult educator committed to women's health and issues of violence affecting women. Elizabeth worked for World Education from 1995 to 2003. Her roles included director of the Women, Violence, and Adult Education Project, literacy specialist for the Health Education and Literacy (HEAL) Project, director of the Statewide Technical Assistance Program, and project coordinatorfor the Channing L. Bete Company Evaluation Project.
Elizabeth was an exceptional facilitator, a fine potter, and reveled in social connection. She was committed to creating educational settings filled with beauty to support people who had survived all forms of violence.
Amos Otieno Odenyo
(1935 – 2007)
Amos Otieno Odenyo served on World Education's Board of Trustees for over 30 years. Born in 1935 in pre-independence Kenya, Amos was among the first in his generation to travel outside East Africa, attending Augustana College in South Dakota, where he received a B.A. in political science in 1965. From 1972 until his death, Amos was a professor of sociology at York College (CUNY) in Queens, New York, serving as chairman of the Social Sciences Department from 1972-1994.
Throughout his life, Amos provided support to the local schools of Regea village, to which he frequently returned. He leaves behind his wife, Mayone Odenyo, three children, and six grandchildren.
I join with his family in remembering
Amos as a calm, gentle, and compassionate
man. He and I served on the board
of World Education together for thirty
years, and I found that when Amos
spoke, I really listened. Among us
all he knew intimately as part of
his experience the nature of lives
of those World Education was trying
to help, and he used this experience
He also could challenge us. I remember in one board meeting years ago, Amos asked which country received the most help from AID. The answer was the USA. Certainly for World Education this is less true now than when Amos asked the question because we use ever more local people.
I was chair of the board when World Education went through some very challenging times and I appreciate greatly the quiet, steady support Amos gave us all.
(1966 – 1994)
Julie Okeyo worked as a program officer to Mali in the Boston office from 1992-1994. Prior to joining World Education, Julie received her Master's degree in international development at Clark University. Educated in the United States and Kenya, she spoke French fluently and had a remarkable gift for building bridges between different cultures and countries.
Julie believed passionately in the power of formal and nonformal education to transform people's lives. She put this vision into practice in her daily work, strengthening the capacity of those organizations in Mali and Kenya that continually strive to empower women in their efforts to earn a greater income for their families.
(1940 – 1997)
Lou Setti joined World Education in 1973. That year, a large grant had been awarded to the Government of Thailand to implement a nationwide nonformal education initiative. The person in charge managing the project was very interested in working with World Education but only if Lou was involved.
Lou was an exceptional educator and communicator, unique in his personal gifts and relationships. Russ Dilts, Lou's old friend and colleague, said of him, "No one else cared so much for so many very different people… We all learned to share his belief in Everyman."
Charles H. Trout
(1926 – 2006)
Charles Trout joined World Education's Board in 1998 and served as board chair until his death in 2006. He was passionately committed to the mission of the organization. Prior to joining World Education's Board, Chuck, at age 60, and his wife, Katherine, spent a year in Kenya through the Teachers for Africa program. In their time abroad, Katherine built the first freestanding primary school library in the Western Highlands, and Chuck oversaw the largest school fundraiser in the history of West Kenya, raising enough to bring running water and electricity into the boarding school, build a new academic wing with two large classrooms and a library, construct a new cookhouse and erect the school's first permanent dormitory.
"He was full-steam ahead with everything he did," said Katherine, his wife of 22 years. He enjoyed gardening and golf and was passionate about Italian cooking. In addition to Katherine, Dr. Trout is survived by sons Nicholas and Benjamin and daughter Katherine Griffiths.
Dr. Kowit Vorapipatana
Dr. Kowit Vorapipatana was the director of the Adult Education Department of the Thai Ministry of Education at a time when World Education worked closely with the department on nonformal education. Dr. Kowit was well known for his work on the concept of the "khit pen" (enlightened) man which stresses the importance of literacy in providing new meaning to the lives of the rural poor. To promote a culture of reading, Dr. Kowit created village reading rooms, small bamboo kiosks where villagers who had learned to read through Ministry literacy programs read newspapers and discussed what they had read with each other.