Baudouin (Butch) F. de Marcken, 74 died Sunday, April 12, 2015. Born on October 21, 1940 in Louvain, Belgium as a U.S. citizen, Baudouin was the youngest of nine children of Alix de Kerchove d’Exarde and Gustave Richard Theodore de Marcken de Merken. He spent his early childhood during World War II in Belgium, and moved to the United States at the age of 12. He moved first to Brule, Wisconsin, then joined his family in 1953 at their home, Stonehouse, outside Lakeville, CT.
Baudouin earned a B.S. in Government in 1962 from Colby College, and a M.A. in Political Science in 1964 from the University of Michigan. After graduation, he joined as one of the first U.S. Peace Corps volunteers from 1964-1967 in Sarawak, Malaysia, where he worked as a teacher in the jungle towns of Saratok and Belaga, and where he met his wife Gail, a Peace Corps volunteer from Minnesota, when she traveled up-river to visit Belaga to buy food and supplies.
With deep commitment to economic development and improving the lives of people around the world, Baudouin served for 19 years with the Peace Corps, first as a volunteer, then as Deputy Peace Corps Director in Malaysia (1968-1971), and as Peace Corps Director in Chad (1972-1973), Mali (1977), Zaire (1978-1981), Morocco (1981-1982), Tunisia (1995) and the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (1996-1999). Early in his career, Baudouin and Gail bought property on Bear Island Lake between Babbitt and Ely, MN, and built a beloved home for their family in the woods “Up North.”
For many years, Baudouin managed programs for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). From 1983-1987, he was the Regional Liaison Officer in Burkina Faso responsible for coordinating U.S. food assistance, disaster relief and rehabilitation programs. From 1988-1989, he was Mission Director in Madagascar, overseeing programs in agricultural policy reform and research, bio-diversity conservation, health and food assistance. From 1990-1991, he was Deputy Director in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and oversaw the restructuring of USAID’s programs in light of a deepening political and economic crisis. In 1992, Baudouin travelled to Russia as part of Operation Provide Hope, a U.S. effort to provide humanitarian assistance to the newly independent states after the fall of the Soviet Union. From 1993-1994, he covered Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania as USAID’s representative to the Baltics.
After his retirement, and as his health permitted, Baudouin continued to give time in community service, first in Latvia with an organization that supported street children. Subsequently, he and Gail moved home to Minnesota, where he volunteered with the North St. Louis County chapter of Habitat for Humanity, and as a tutor for students at the Northeast Range School in Babbitt, MN.
Baudouin was a devout, generous person who changed the lives of many people. We will miss terribly his Belgian accent, his offbeat sense of humor, and the smell of his pipe.
Baudouin is survived by Gail de Marcken, his wife of 46 years, and their three children: Carl de Marcken, his wife Marina Meila-Predoviciu and their daughter Nina de Marcken of Seattle, WA; Natasha de Marcken, her husband Aaron Sampson and their two children Mia and Leo Sampson of Washington, D.C.; and Paya de Marcken of Washington D.C.; as well as by six of his brothers and sisters in the U.S. and Belgium.