Robert Mansfield “Bob” French ~ Class of 1966

Robert “Bob” French ~ Class of 1966

Departed ~ 11/1/2022

Lovingly submitted by Bob’s sister Peggy French ISB 1971

Bob loved life and would do anything he could to please, or help others. He was living in the state (Vermont) that he loved and wanted to buy a farm and have lots of dogs, a fabulous garden, raise Alpacas, and hike the mountain trails.

He loved to write and wrote some really fabulous stories about his his time in Thailand, especially his senior class trip riding a raft with his classmates down the river Kwai! If I can find his story I will repost it! He was an avid reader who would take out 20 books at a time at the library . He had a really good memory… he knew directors, actors and what they directed or acted in. He loved Song trivia and always tried to get me to guess something by saying “you will, know this”. Of course I didn’t and usually had to Google it. He loved The NY Times crossword puzzles, classical music, FOOD, and cooking. He loved good dancers… all kinds. He would send me YouTube videos of Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers of old and the new ones like the Mayas who won Americas Got Talent this year.

R.I.P. Robert Mansfield French 1948 – 2022. Survived by his sister Peggy, daughter Alex and Alex’s husband Heath and two ex-wives, Linda (ISB Class of 71) and Cindy!

A Steamy Night in Bangkok

by Bob French

One night in the summer of 1968, I interviewed a Thai whore. Back then, if you were to say the three-syllable phrase, “so-penny,” to the driver of the ubiquitous three wheel open-air samlor (taxi,) on a hot and humid Bangkok night, you would find yourself at a Thai brothel in 15 minutes. For whatever reason, I did this one night while on home leave after my sophomore year at Syracuse. This was something privileged, 19-year-old white college boys did; maybe part of “the Ugly American,” syndrome. But this time was different—I went back to the same place the next night and requested the same young lady and suggested that maybe we could go somewhere else for more privacy and to talk. Somehow, through broken Thai and English a deal was reached with the proprietor, and we taxied out into the night. I could tell from her body language that the young Thai lady must have vouched for me. Instead of going to a hotel as I had initially planned, it occurred to me that my father was stationed in Nam and Mom was upcountry, so I directed the driver to our house on Soy Sipsam.(13) Here we could use my room until my brother and sister, who were sleeping upstairs, would awaken.

Even looking back 53 years later, I am not sure why I did this, except that I wanted to get to know her as a person,and not just as a prostitute: what made her tick, why a sex worker, who she was apart from the brothel. So I got us a couple of drinks, we got cozy in my bed, and in spite of barely speaking the other’s language, we joked, giggled and talked for about 5 hours, almost like hanging out with one’s friends, except of course the part about being naked. One language that we did share in common was the universal ranking of #1 through #10. So-penny we agreed was #1, good Singha (Thai,) beer was #2, and so on.

“G.I. #10,” she said emphatically.

“Why, I asked?”

“They mean and no pay.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, thinking that the constant pool of servicemen on R’n’R from Viet Nam probably amounted to 90% of her income. Tough life. Probably where the standard retort of “no sweat, G.I.” came from. She told me that one reason she did what she did was that she had no education and was trying to help her family, especially a younger sister, who wanted to go to college.

“You #1,” she said.

“Oh, how come?”

“You nice.”

“Thank you.”

She told me her name, that she was 25 and lived with her parents and two siblings and that her father worked as a janitor at university. Her grandmother who was 70, lived with them and spent most of her waking hours chewing betel nut, a mild narcotic, that leaves your teeth and mouth dark red, and is suspected of being very carcinogenic. Hundreds, if not thousands of food vendors line the streets and sidewalks all over the city, squatting down for hours with angry red mouths and yet, happy as clams.

“You go to college,” she asked?

“Yes.”

“What you study?”

“Girls and beer,” I quipped, and we both laughed heartily.

“You funny,” she said.

And I said, “you’re sweet, to say so.”

She told me her brother was older and was off in Cambodia fighting the Khmer Rouge. I asked her why and she said the pay was good and some Thais were concerned, that if the Khmers, funded by the Viet Cong and the Communist Party of China, were victorious in Cambodia, they might try to annex Thailand. The Thais are fiercely independent, having been the only country in Southeast Asia to never be colonized, and not for lack of trying.

“Are you scared for your brother,” I asked?

“Yes, shot in leg, home 2 months.”

“What did he say about it.”

“Mai pen rai, and went right back to war.”

I had to laugh as “Mai pen rai,” is the universal Thai expression for “no biggie, or “no worries.” It used to drive my mother nuts when the little Thai butterflies, as she called them, would be waving their hands out their car windows, drying their fingernail polish, then giving you a big smile as they cut you off, and exclaim in beautiful singsong, “Mai pen rai, Mai pen rai, madam!”

This banter continued till about 5 AM, and I asked her if she wanted to sleep for a couple of hours and then I would get her a samlor home. So we did, just as if we were a normal couple.

At 7:30, I instructed our gardener to run down to the Main Street, to fetch her a cab, I gave her a generous tip and sent her on her way. When I came back in, the maid was looking at me with a knowing smile. I pointed upstairs, and said, “Madam,” and shook my head. She nodded and that was the end of it.

I had a rinky-dink little portable reel to reel recorder, on which I had taped some of our evening. Great fun to listen to afterwards. I even played it for a couple of my college buddies when we were in Frankfurt, on our way back stateside. They thought it was outlandish and hilarious—unfortunately that player is long gone.

I don’t remember if we had sex that night, and I never went back to another Thai brothel, but I will always remember that night with my new-found friend, a Thai whore. I still don’t know why I did it. Maybe there is a latent sociologist lurking inside me somewhere. I do know I wanted to get to know her beyond the confines of a brothel. Sometimes I wonder what she thought of this still wet-behind-the-ears college kid paying for a night of her service and taking her back to his own home and bedroom, and spending the night just socializing and treating her like a human being. I have also fantasized about going back to Bangkok and trying to find her, but that idea is probably a non-starter.

I have only shared this with one other living soul, and now you guys, so this book, Thai Whores and Loony Bins, will definitely be my coming out party.

Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories, and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com or visit us on Facebook at ISBeings

Elizabeth Anne “Betsy” Hindman ~ Class of 1967

Betsy Hindman ~ Class of 1967

Departed ~ 10/20/2022

Amy Hindman ’71 wrote:

I wanted for inform the network that my sister, Betsy Hindman, died on Oct. 20th 2022, of a massive stroke and her service will be at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Denton, Texas on Sunday at 2 PM.

She went to ISB her senior year of high school and graduated in 1967.

Much love and Blessings!!

Her little sister, Amy Hindman, Class of 1971

Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories, and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com or visit us on Facebook at ISBeings

Dr. Lee W. Riley ~ ISB Class of 1968

Dr. Lee W. Riley ~ Class of 1968

Arrived ~ 10/15/1949

Departed ~ 10/20/2022

Gloria M. Riley-Schaaf ’76 lovingly wrote:

It is with a heavy heart that I bring the news of the passing of my brother, Dr. Lee W. Riley. Lee passed away this morning at 6:22 at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley California with his family. I am so grateful that I had the last 3 months of precious time with my brother as I cared for him in California as he was battling bladder cancer. He has touched the world in so many ways and will always be remembered and missed by many. I will post all information of upcoming services that will be held in his honor by the family and by the University of California, Berkeley, Department of Public Health so those who knew Lee can attend.❤️

UC Berkeley Online Master of Public Health

Berkeley Public Health is heartbroken to announce that Professor Lee W. Riley, world-renowned leader in the field of infectious diseases and vaccinology and friend and mentor to many, has died. We will post an obituary soon, and we keep those whose lives he touched close in our hearts. Dr. Riley will be greatly missed.

Oral history interview with Lee W. Riley
1997-Dec-29 – 1997-Dec-31

Lee W. Riley was born Hiroshi Satoyoshi: he spent his first ten years with his mother in Yokohama, Japan, then lived for a short time in a Japanese orphanage before being adopted by the Riley family, at which time he moved to Tachikawa, outside Tokyo, Japan.

The family moved to Bangkok, Thailand, in time for Riley to attend high school there. Like his biological parents, his adoptive father was African-American and his mother Japanese; Riley has two sisters who were adopted as well. In Riley’s early years his Japanese, schoolteacher grandfather had a great influence on his schooling, encouraging his questioning nature; living in Japan in the aftermath of World War II impacted Riley’s perspectives on life, as well as his Buddhist heritage and being multiethnic.

Riley attended an international high school in Bangkok, about which he talks at length, and had several influential teachers who stimulated his early interest in physics. Riley decided not to attend a Japanese university, but Stanford University instead; he wanted to become a physician and practice medicine in Bangkok.

Aware during the sixties of the countercultural movement and anxious about the draft at Stanford, Riley found his perceptions of the American presence in Southeast Asia changing. His growing interest in public health led him to spend a year in Japan after college. Riley chose to enroll the University of California, San Francisco, to pursue his medical degree; during his first year he undertook a clinical rotation in a missionary hospital in Thailand.

After deciding to shift from clinical medicine to public health he completed his internship and residency at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He found interesting the differences between the types of medical conditions encountered in New York and those encountered in Thailand, and he entered the Epidemiologic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he used enteric pathogen fingerprinting technology to identify strains of Salmonella and identified E. coli 0157:H7 as the cause of an outbreak in Oregon.

Riley then accepted a postdoc in the Gary Schoolnik lab at Stanford to study enteropathogenic E. coli using molecular biology technology. Next he studied tuberculosis (TB) for two years in India and published a paper in Science identifying the invasion gene for TB. He then proceeded to an assistant professorship at Cornell University Medical College, where he worked on devising a technique to identify primary and reactivation TB. Through his understanding of the molecular basis for disease transmission he identified why a high percentage of drug users in New York City had a particular strain of tuberculosis. Riley’s interest in approaching biological questions from the standpoint of public health led him to work on developing a Salmonella vaccine for chickens.

From Cornell Riley accepted a position as professor of infectious disease and epidemiology at University of California, Berkeley, and he has since become Director of the Fogarty International Center Global Health Equity Scholars Program at University of California, Berkeley, where he continues to work on TB pathogenesis, drug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections, and global health focusing on infectious diseases of urban slums.

During the interview Riley discusses his acquisition of the scientific skills and knowledge necessary to accomplish his research goals; his belief in the need to make science understandable to the public and obstacles to that understanding; the scientific community’s response to his dual focus on epidemiology and pathogenesis; his desire to advance on the strength of his work rather than through self-advertising; and his relationship with other Pew Scholars.

He elaborates on his decision to work with Stanley Falkow and Gary Schoolnik at Stanford and explains how he collaborated with Schoolnik to establish the geographic medicine program at Stanford. He concludes his interview by describing how he attempts to balance career and life with his wife, Jesse Frances Furman, and three children.

Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories, and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com or visit us on Facebook at ISBeings

William “Peter” Schramm ~ Class of 1974

Pete Schramm ~ Class of 1974

Arrived ~ 7/6/1956

Departed ~ 10/31/2020

Our brother, William (Pete) Schramm – Class of ’74, passed away suddenly on October 31, 2020 from a probable heart attack.  He was a good son, great brother, and a loving father.

James Schramm – Class of ‘70 and Celeste Houser-Jackson (nee Schramm) – Class of ‘72.

William Peter Schramm


By TheCatoctinBanner.com On November 26, 2020

July 6, 1956

October 31, 2020

It is with profound sadness that the family of William “Pete” Schramm announce his sudden passing on October 31, 2020.

On July 6, 1956, Pete was born in Frankfurt, Germany, to Ann Beall and Frederick Schramm. He resided abroad with his parents and two older siblings, Jim and Celeste, while his father, Fred, was deployed during his career with the CIA. His family also lived in Berlin, Germany (Pete’s favorite), Bangkok, Thailand, and Camp Perry, VA, before settling in Potomac, MD. He attended Winston Churchill High School, then pursued further education at the University of Maryland.

Pete’s career in the hi-tech industry began in a strip mall computer store. It proved to be the beginning of a long and successful career in hi-tech sales and management. Much of his career took him all over the United States, meeting with various accounts. While working for Ando Corporation, he then began to frequent Japan, as well as other parts of Asia, for meetings with clients.

He is remembered by family, friends, and colleagues as a man of good humor, generous nature, respected work ethic, and, mostly, unbridled optimism for everyone’s success in their endeavors. From pythons and rhesus monkeys in Thailand to pet pygmy goats, horses, dogs, and cats in the more recent years, he was recognized for his affinity for animals and nature.

Nearing retirement, Pete worked with ProTEQ Solutions as a sales engineer. He enjoyed this position, as it required less domestic travel, the ability to work from home, and the opportunity to spend more time with his wife and the light of their lives, their daughter Gracie and her husband, Danny Eyler. If you knew Pete, he was either in dress clothes and tie, or you knew him for his clever t-shirts, tropical shorts, and crocs.

Pete was a resident of Emmitsburg for nearly 40 years. He enjoyed target shooting on the weekends with friends and family, fishing, and crafting lovely pieces of stained glass. He was also an avid gardener and was often seen zipping around his property on his mower for a joy ride. He loved spending time with the family’s beloved Belgian Sheepdogs. He loved spending time by or in the water, whether it was the local pool, creek, lake, a bay, or the ocean.

Pete leaves behind his wife, Chris; daughter, Graceann, and her husband, Daniel Eyler. He is survived by brother, Jim Schramm, and wife, Jean; and his sister, Celeste Houser-Jackson, and her husband, Walter, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

In light of COVID-19, the family has decided to celebrate Pete’s life in Spring of 2021. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, a local animal shelter, or charity of choice.

Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories, and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com or visit us on Facebook at ISBeings

Paul Stephen Soderberg ~ Class of 1967

Paul Soderberg ~ Class of 1967

Departed ~ 10/7/2022

Lovingly reported by Paul’s brother John.


My brother Paul Soderberg passed away unexpectedly this morning, probably from heart-related issues. So many memories.

This photo, with a broken-winged eagle he saved, is the only one I have of him in Afghanistan when he was working in famine-relief as a Colonel in the Afghan Army. He saved the lives of 30,000 people during the country’s worst famine- shortly before the Russian invasion and occupation. This was in the winter of 1972. The Russians tried to kill him three times.

Paul was an unusual person. He was a Lawrence of Arabia type. He had a scientific mind, and was a Herpetologist at 14 years old (study of snakes,) and was curator of the museum in Bangkok. He and I spent countless weeks trekking through the jungles of northwestern Thailand hunting for rare snakes for the Smithsonian with the Lahu Hill-tribes.

Paul graduated with a degree in Anthropology from ASU in Tempe, Arizona. He was first runner up for the Rhodes Scholarship. He was also an artist, and one of my favorite paintings is one he did of Blue Herons at sunset.

After he returned to America from Afghanistan, he became a published author and worked as a columnist with the Scottsdale Progress. He impacted many thousands of lives, and left us too early. Via con Dios, brother ❤️

Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories, and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com or visit us on Facebook at ISBeings

Paul Walker LaRoque ~ Class of 1991

Paul “Froggy” LaRoque ~ Class of 1991

Arrived ~ 6/11/72

Departed ~ 8/31/22


Obituary

Paul Walker LaRoque
June 11, 1972 – August 31, 2022


Paul passed away on August 31, 2022. Paul was born on June 11, 1972 to Fred R. LaRoque and Susan L. LaRoque in Falls Church, Virginia. Paul spent his childhood living abroad in Thailand and South Korea while his father worked for the U.S. Army overseas as a Foreign Affairs Officer. Paul loved living overseas, attending international schools, and exploring exotic foods and destinations as part of his childhood. He was adventurous, enthusiastic, and loved a new challenge.

Paul and his family moved to Bend, Oregon in 1987. Paul was a strong athlete in high school, lettering in both swimming and cross-country running. He graduated from Bend Senior High School in 1991. He followed in his father’s footsteps and attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, graduating in 1995. He was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps and worked as a communications officer for 10 years. He enjoyed his duty stations of South Korea; Ft. Hood, Texas; Mannheim, Germany; and Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. Paul was honorably discharged from the Army in 2005. Paul moved to Orange County in 2005 and first worked for a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson before starting his own business.

Paul is survived by his daughter, father, sister, former wife, and numerous cousins, aunts, and uncles. He touched many lives with his sharp wit, dry sense of humor, and passionate political views.

Paul’s services will be held at O’Connor Mortuary at 25301, Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA 92653 on Sunday, September 11 at 10:00am.

Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories, and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com or visit us on Facebook at ISBeings