New Dick Podol passed away peacefully at home on February 19, 2020, after a long illness complicated by Parkinsons disease. He had retired from USAID in 1989 with the Senior Foreign Service rank of Minister Counselor. During his USAID career of 29 years, he served in Turkey, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Tanzania and was Mission Director in Zaire and Uganda. After retirement, Dick and his wife Betty lived four months in Prague teaching English to Czech military officers.
Dick was born July 10, 1928 in Chicago. He received his BS, MA and PhD from the University of Iowa. In 1950, he was drafted in to the US Army and served in Korea during the war. In January 1961, Dick’s first assignment with USAID took him to Ankara, Turkey, where he met his future wife, Betty, who was also employed by AID. They were married in Ankara in 1962 and their two children were born there. He is survived by his wife of 57+ years, daughter Beth in El Paso and son Edward, wife Claudia and grandchildren Emma and Eric in Scottsdale.
Dick and Betty both had a love of travel. They were most fortunate to have visited all 50 states, almost 130 countries and the seven continents. From climbing Machu Picchu to tracking gorillas in Central Africa–they did it all, like Bogie and Bacall. And, yes, Dick still had places on his “bucket list” that he wanted to visit.
Dick was a lifelong, diehard Cubs fan and in 2016, he and Betty watched all three World Series games in Wrigley Field. He coached Little League wherever he lived and took two of his teams to their European World Series. After retirement, he delighted in playing softball with the NVSS for 13 years.
Dick was cremated and will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, do something nice today for someone you love, go watch a baseball game, buy a kid a baseball glove or a world globe (Dick’s two great loves!)