Richard Pelczar

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  • "With apologies for our delay, we are saddened to learn of..."
  • "please accept our sympathies on the passing of Richard. ..."
    - cheryl Kelly
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Richard Pelczar URBANA, IL - Richard Pelczar, age 75, died peacefully on Friday, September 29, 2017, in Urbana, IL. He was born in East Chicago, IN in 1942, the second of four children born to Stanley and Mary (Gadzala) Pelczar. After graduating from Bishop Noll High School in Hammond, he attended Indiana University on a merit scholarship, receiving a B.A. with honors in government in 1964. He then volunteered for the Peace Corps and served two years in Ecuador. He returned to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. in comparative education from the University of Chicago. In 1974 he took a job in Chile with the Inter-American Development Bank, managing education and other social sector development projects. Over the next 30 years of his career, he worked with IDB, the United States Agency for International Development, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and lived in Colombia, Chile (twice), Panama, the Dominican Republic (twice), Brazil (twice), Indonesia, Virginia, El Salvador and France before retiring and splitting his time between Searsport, ME and Champaign, IL. He is survived by his beloved wife of 45 years, Lois Shapland Pelczar; their four children, Marisa (Matthew Wallis) Pelczar, Somer Pelczar, Nicholas (Erin Carter) Pelczar, and Andrew (Vanessa Bresson) Pelczar; his grandson, Sam; his siblings, Maryann (Tom) Magurany of Munster, and Jerry (Randi) Pelczar of Hobart; and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, John. The family will have a private memorial in Champaign, IL at a later date. Richard believed in the power of education to change people's lives and society for the better, and devoted himself to improving education systems around the world. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, he had a special connection with the people and culture of Latin America. He was gregarious and well-liked by many, and made his children laugh many times with his playful sense of humor. He made connections everywhere he went, and had scores of friends around the globe who remember him for his kindness, knowledge and big heart. Although he endured more than his share of health issues over the past ten years, he maintained a positive attitude, never gave up and found joy wherever and whenever he could in his life and with his family. Now he can finally rest in peace and without pain. He will be greatly missed.

Published in The Times on Oct. 10, 2017
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