Richard Charles Schoonover, 70, died in Chapel Hill on March 12, 2008, after losing his battle to cancer. He is survived by his wife of forty years, Brenda Brown Schoonover, his son Peter Schoonover, daughter Elizabeth Wrightson and grandson Thomas of Los Angeles, in addition to his daughter Stephanie Schoonover of Austin, Texas.
Born in Sacramento, California, Dick completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Riverside and did graduate studies U.C. Berkeley.
Dick spent 32 years as a Foreign Service Officer with the United States Information Agency, which is now part of the U.S. Department of State. As an American Diplomat, he served in Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Tunisia, the Philippines, Sir Lanka, and Belgium and, upon retirement, accompanied his wife, Brenda, on her tour as U.S. Ambassador to Togo in West Africa. He was also selected to participate in the 33rd Class of the Senior Seminar, a prestigious Foreign Service program.
Dick was active in numerous internationally affiliated organizations, including service as co-chair of the Carolina Friends of the Foreign Service and on the board of the online journal American Diplomacy.
An avid lifetime golfer, Dick was a member of the Kenwood Golf and Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. As a single digit handicapper, he enjoyed playing challenging courses throughout the world.
Dick was vibrant, intelligent, and witty. He was an exquisite chef and host and a true gentleman. He was also a man who made important contributions to his community. His remains have been donated to the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. While his body will go to benefit science, his spirit lives on in the hearts of his family and friends.
A memorial service will be held in Chapel Hill on April 6. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in the name of Richard C. Schoonover to: 1) the Senior Living Foundation of the American Foreign Service, www.slfoundation.org, supporting retired foreign service families in need; or, 2) to Carolina for Kibera (CFK), www.cfk.unc.edu, based in Kibera, the largest slum in East Africa, located in a section of Nairobi, Kenya. CFK promotes youth leadership and ethnic and gender cooperation through community development and youth programs.