Remembering B.J.Warren (Peru 1962-64)

Dick Irish, Philippines (1962-64)

I knew of B.J. Warren three years before I met her.

B.J.’s “super volunteer ” reputation proceeded her end of service as a PCV in Peru and grew in size in the Dominican Republic where she served on the staff.

B.J. Warren, received an award from former Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams, a PCV in the DR,at the 50th Anniversary of Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic

B.J. Warren received an award from then Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams, himself a PCV in the DR, at the 50th Anniversary of Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic

Lyndon Johnson infamously sent the Marines into the DR to rescue North America from Red Domination. Americans fled the island, but Peace Corps remained. B.J. may or may not have said, “We don’t have a dog in this fight!”

B.J. was already a legend and the first or second person we hired at TransCentury - - purely on the basis of reputation. That a person without a self-promotional bone in her body could possibly live up to and exceed her already high standing was not the least of her accomplishments.

At our company and later at Management Systems International, she made a basket-full of cash for her employers. B.J. managed countless social service evaluations - -  a nationwide survey of water quality where we used a flock of RPCVs comes to mind.

Her Rolodex was a gold mine of contacts - - - whenever I had a truly weird assignment -  - to find a ” a French-speaking bee keeper to go to Pakistan” - - B.J. invariably knew that special someone I should call either as a resource or as a candidate.

I owe part of a good livelihood to Ms. Warren.

But what would we expect from a country girl from rural Minnesota? With her dad and mom, the family put out a county newspaper 52 weeks a year.

Work was a kind of worship for her.

In a real sense everyone who knew her was part of her family - - an extended clan that reached around the world.

She wasn’t perfect: B.J. was of the old school that if you have nothing good to say about somebody, don’t say anything at all. How she dealt with USAID functionaries for forty years without an ill word is sufficient proof of her secular sainthood?  She was also too easy a touch for those who borrowed what they never repaid.

Trust begets trust: People trusted her because she trusted them.

B.J. fought cancer and beat that wicked disease for more than four decades before her body was gathered by God.

How lucky we were to have known B.J Warren.

There will be a memorial service at All Souls Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. on May 10, 2014, at 1 pm. 202.232.4244

Dick Irish, Philippines (1962-64), Co-Founder of TransCentury Corporation,
International Executive Search Specialist, and author of  three books on employment, including Go Hire Yourself An Employer.