Jan Stromsem, a retired USAID employee and dear friend to many, lost her life on August 4, 2014 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 66 years old.
Jan was born November 9, 1947 in New York, New York, into a missionary family. While growing up, she traveled extensively with her family, even attending boarding school in France during her childhood. Jan received her undergraduate degree at College of Wooster in Ohio and received a Masters in French from Middlebury College, where she studied at the Sorbonne in Paris.
Jan began her international career as a French translator and soon after began working at Interpol, eventually becoming Deputy Chief and Acting Chief of Interpol’s U.S. National Central Bureau. After Interpol, she shifted her focus to the developing world and worked at the Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training and Assistance Program (ICITAP). Upon retiring from ICITAP, Jan continued to work in international development, including at USAID, where she worked in DCHA/DRG, LAC/HTT, and LAC/RSD as a senior justice and security sector advisor. She devoted her career to improving the rights of those around the world, particularly in developing countries, by helping to establish rule of law and police infrastructures.
Jan was “famous” among family, friends, and colleagues for her gift of baking. Each year, she made delicious cookies for the holidays, and gave boxes to everyone she knew. Her holiday cookies became a production, with her sometimes making more than 20,000 cookies with more than 25 varieties. Her impressive holiday cooking production was even written up in The Washington Post.
Jan lived her life with a quiet grace and was a source of inspiration to all those whose lives she touched. Many of her colleagues and friends consider her to have been a caring and knowledgeable mentor. Above all, Jan’s greatest passion was for her family. As a devoted mother to daughters Christine Hosch and Kathy Gross, and grandmother to their children, Alex, Kate, William, and Luella, she created a home filled with love, friendship, and laughter. Jan is also survived by her mother, Eunice Mathews, her sister, Anne Younes, and her brother, Stanley Mathews.