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In Memoriam - Our Dear Friend & Colleague - Roy Southworth

Monday, July 29, 2019


Van Roy Southworth
June 10, 1949 - July 23, 2019

When I first met Roy in Tbilisi back in 2005, I felt I had met a kindred spirit. What I discovered as I got to know him better was that everyone who met him felt the same way-we all recognized something of ourselves in Roy, something that was good and fun and above all, caring. If you went to Roy's house on a Friday or Saturday night, you were liable to run into a pack of Peace Corps volunteers, staying at Roy and Cathy's while they were doing some city R & R. "They don't get paid very much," he explained, "so we like to give them a home when they come to Tbilisi."

Roy's work in Tbilisi was not confined to his being a good host. As head of the World Bank, he devoted his energies to making Georgia a better place, something he and Cathy continued to do even after they had moved back to California, through the McLain Association for Children. Roy would gleefully put the touch on his friends to support their work through his campaigns on social media, plus his own contributions to worthy causes and candidates were frequent and generous.

Roy's exploits as a Hash House Harrier were legendary. As "General Manager" he led many an unsuspecting victim down the slippery slope of hashing, declaring straight-faced (every time) that the trails were "All downhill!" For Roy, this was simply another way of getting people together. Roy had a knack for the creation and nurturance of community, no matter where he was. He inspired Georgians and ex-pats alike with his infectious good humor and his willingness to work for a cause.

I was lucky enough to spend his last birthday with him and his family in California, where despite his illness he never lost his sense of humor nor the twinkle in his eye. He had a way of making those around him comfortable, even as he was living out his last days. A kinder soul there never was.

Richard E. Lussen
29 July, 2019

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