George Henry Ellis ~ Class of 1959

George Ellis ~ Class of 1959

Arrived ~ 5/22/1942

Departed ~ 1/12/2021

George Henry Ellis of Pleasant Garden, North Carolina

May 22, 1942 – January 12, 2021

George Henry Ellis, 78, of Pleasant Garden, died Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at Beacon Place in Greensboro. Graveside Service will be 11:00 AM Saturday, January 16 at Chisholm Family Cemetery in Candor, with Rev. Steven Jarman officiating.

Born in Bahia, Brazil on May 22, 1942, the son of Franklin and Elisabeth Roosighn Ellis. He was a computer data processor with the Greensboro City Schools and had served in the US Air Force. George enjoyed flea markets and collecting military antiques.

He is survived by his wife, Joyce Chisholm Ellis of the home; 2 sons, George Franklin Ellis of Archdale and Joseph Thomas Ellis of Waxhaw; daughter, Kristina Ellis Cockman of Limestone TN; 7 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren.

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

Brandon Christopher Smith ~ Class of 1964

Brandon Smith ~ Class of 1964

Departed ~ 12/3/2021


Brandon Christopher Smith
Jefferson City, Missouri
November 25, 1946 – December 3, 2021

A man of many stories, Brandon Christopher Smith was born in King City, California in 1946, the first son of Ed Smith and Joyce Yates. After his father was recruited into USAID, Brandon and his brothers were raised in Indonesia and Thailand. In 1966, he served with the Marine Corps in Vietnam, when the war was “still popular,” like after 9/11, as he was fond of reminding people. Following his tour of duty, he returned to Southern California to join the long-haired hippies, witnessing noteworthy riots of the day and claiming, decades later, that the agitators seemed too well-coordinated. During this time he finished college, majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Ancient Greek. Heraclitus and Epictetus remained his constant companions and teachers. Like his father, an ardent photographer both during WWII and throughout their travels, Brandon also developed a love for photography that stayed with him his whole life.

After graduating college, he served in the Army for the next two decades, where he developed the Army’s recruitment database and other interesting programs as an early pioneer in computer programming. During those years, he took up Tai Chi and fencing, and studied with Tom Brown, the famous tracker. He and his then-wife also went to hear the permaculturist Bill Mollison speak; later on, after retiring as a major, he moved with her and their three children to the Ozarks to attempt to live sustainably and closer to nature.

Brandon later took a job in Jefferson City as a database engineer, thus beginning a second, private sector career in IT consulting. Throughout these careering peregrinations he maintained lifelong practices in the martial arts (later as a teacher and coach), Daoism, and mixed-media arts. He brought his wide-ranging life experiences and philosophical training to bear as a mentor: a Boy Scout leader, a fencing coach, a hippie elder, and a retired officer.

In his later years he returned to an enthusiasm for photography and permaculture, letting his hair and his trees grow out, to his neighbors’ consternation and his great satisfaction. He performed with burners and fire spinners, while simultaneously developing as an artist of the manipulation of light, fire, and motion (both dance and tai chi) in photography. His work has been on view in a few galleries in mid-Missouri over the years. Eventually, his focus settled on nature therapy, and we imagine he would love nothing more than for everyone who reads this to go out today and spend some time in a mossy forest to hear what it has to say to you.

Although proud of his military service, he became frustrated with post-9/11 security theater, unreflective nationalism, and the military-industrial complex. He drove around with Marine Corps Combat Veteran plates, license number “CO XST.” (And no, he was never the Commanding Officer of an XST–try sounding it out.) He took a particular interest toward younger veterans with PTSD, and strove to bring them–as well as everyone else–the therapeutic and mindfulness benefits of both Tai Chi and nature therapy. Brandon kept up his practice of Tai Chi until he could no longer sit upright, maintaining his strength for a long battle with metastatic lung cancer caused by Agent Orange exposure during his service.

Brandon died at home on December 3, 2021, shortly after turning 75. He is survived by his brother Kirk and his three children Homer, Samantha, and Keenan. In his last months, he founded Redwood Twig Art Garden Studios, a nonprofit he had long envisioned as a center for art therapy, nature therapy, and mindfulness. A memorial service will be held on December 21, 2021 at the studio, with his art on display. To attend, please RSVP at

Arrangements are under the direction of HOUSER-MILLARD Funeral Directors, 2613 West Main Street, Jefferson City, Missouri 65109 (573) 636-3838. condolences may be left online for the family at

Brandon Smith
Hello, it’s a little strange posting through my late father’s account but I never would have found this site myself. My name is Samantha Craig (nee Smith), one of three kids and the successor-trustee for his estate. He passed in December and as we’ve sorted through his estate there are a huge amount of photos from ISB and his family’s time in Thailand while my grandpa worked for USAID. He was at ISB from 60-64, and in Indonesia for several years before that. His fondest memories were from drill team, Dynamite was his favorite horse!

I wonder if anyone is interested in old ISB photos when I get time to scan them? There’s a significant amount of drill team photos, but many others that are just photos of life. My grandpa was a prolific photographer and my father followed the same path (as have I). Some of the pictures are poorly preserved but there’s also quite a few stunning pictures.

In addition I have a lot of Thai and SE Asian art, furniture, silks, knick knacks, even a Bali dancer hat and a clove boat… I’ve been trying to find an appropriate place to share those things to find them new homes. Any referrals for where to list would be appreciated as there’s not a huge demand for such things in my rural area of southwest MI and not many applicable online groups I’ve found on my own. Or any interest in such things for yourself please feel free to message, I will keep an eye on my dad’s messages and I have pictures of all the art and a lot of the other things that I could share.

Thank you for reading my post and it’s so cool to have found a group where I can see echoes of my dad’s stories within all the posts.

Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories, and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com

Mark Mendenhall ~ Class of 1970

Mark Mendenhall ~ Class of 1970

Departed ~ 11/30/21

As posted by Sandy Mendenhall Davis Class of 1972

My dearest brother, Mark Mendenhall, passed away tonight. My heart is aching. He was kind to everyone and he believed in being inclusive. Many ISBers remember him from ISB. He was in the class of 1970.

Mark Allen Mendenhall, age 69, of Santa Clara, California passed away on Tuesday, November 30, 2021. Mark was born May 7, 1952.

A visitation for Mark will be held Wednesday, December 29, 2021 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Oak Hill Funeral Home & Memorial Park, 300 Curtner Ave, San Jose, CA 95125. A visitation will occur Thursday, December 30, 2021 from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM, 300 Curtner Ave, San Jose, CA 95125. A funeral service will occur Thursday, December 30, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, 300 Curtner Ave., San Jose, CA 95125. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the MENDENHALL family.

Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com

Bette Dianne Tabor Plant ~ Class of 1968

Bette Dianne Tabor ~ Class of 1968

Departed ~ 11/13/21

Bette Tabor Plant

Bette Tabor Plant, beloved mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, aunt, sister and friend, left us on November 13th, 2021. She had fought illness for some time and finally surrendered to rest. Her loving family and friends will miss her, but take solace in knowing she is at deserved peace. We will always know of her love for us and the joys of this world. We are grateful for her life and love. She leaves behind Miriam and Michael, her beloved daughter and son-in-law, Tobi and Nancy, her two sisters, and her nephews and their extended families.

Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com


Sabrina Christine Allen – Sloan ~ Class of 1987

Sabrina Allen ~ Class of 1987

Departed ~ 8/5/2021

Sabrina’s husband James wrote:

I regret to inform you that Sabrina Christine Allen Sloan passed away on August 5, 2021 due to complications related to acute viral pneumonia. . 

James Sloan

Christine’s husband of 32 years.

Sabrina Christine Allen Sloan, 51, passed away suddenly after a valiant battle with acute pneumonia and other complications. Born February 7, 1970 in Boston, Massachusetts the daughter of Clair La Var Allen and Margaret Ann McDonald Allen. Christine loved life, had an infectious laugh, and a ready wit. She loved and served unconditionally. Her greatest joy was spending time with her grandchildren whom she taught to call her Tutz. She loved that. She was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served faithfully in many callings. She worked at nCino as the Office Goddess.

Survivors include: her husband, James, children Derek (Bethany) Sloan, Alise (Scott) Homer, AnneMarie (Hunter) Jenkins, Danielle (Daniel) McGowan, and 10 grandchildren, her parents Clair and Margaret, siblings David Allen, Elizabeth Hughes, Rachael Porter, and Kathryn Allen.

Funeral services will be held Thursday August 12, 2021 at 11:00 am in the Thanksgiving Village Ward, (3155 Garden Drive, Lehi, Utah). There will be a viewing on Thursday at the church from 9:45 to 10:45 am prior to the services. Burial in the Lehi City cemetery. Please share a memory or condolence at

Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com

Jack Kurtz ~ Class of 1975

8th grade at ISB

Jack Kurtz ~ Class of 1975

Departed ~ 10/19/21

Jane Reed Wilson ‘74 wrote:


I just heard from a friend that Jack Kurtz has died. She knew he went to ISB and wanted to be sure friends from ISB knew about it.  I did not know Jack personally and I am not sure when he was at ISB, may have been mid-70s. He was at Nairobi International School with my friend prior to Bangkok. (I was not in Nairobi, only Bangkok). I had posted about Jack’s struggle with cancer in the network FB page about a month ago.

He sounds like he made an incredible contribution to the world as a photojournalist. Below is a copy of my friend’s text to me. Kap kun ka, Jane Reed Wilson ‘74

From Laura Schlesinger Minor:

Here’s what Cathy Kurtz posted.

I’ll also share the Youth Journalism International tribute.  Jack and Cathy lived in Bangkok for a number of years and Cathy taught there. I introduced Jack to Steve and Jackie who started YJI here in Bristol with a group of local youth (my daughter included).  It has become an amazing international organization with hundreds of kids writing for them globally. Jack became an advisor and a judge for their annual contest.

From his wife Cathy Kurtz:

The end… John, better known as JACK Kurtz: May 21, 1957 to October 19, 2021
 Photographers know that the perfect picture may take time to develop. Patience for the right moment. Things can’t be rushed. The last couple weeks have felt like that, with the nurses convinced he was ready to go and he was ready but the perfect time was still to come.  I sit in the recliner next to his bed, in the dark, late at night, holding his hand, I image the perfect words to wrap up a life. They aren’t coming. I will only mention that in our 40 years of life together, he was the trailblazer and always went on to a new place first, set things up and I came and joined him. We did it in Fergus Falls, Florida, New York, El Paso, Phoenix and Bangkok. Now he is going on first and I will join him in a few years.

I will just throw together some thoughts. We met at college and travelled the world. It was a great ride. He would say that while he worked with many great reporters, words get too much play and you should let the photos tell the story so here are his websites. His photographer buddies will know that he did more than just “F8 and be there” he gave his all on every story or assignment.

Our desire is for everyone to find one of his photo galleries and explore the world. Be challenged and inspired.     And

Now, we could conclude with the famous AP   -30-  (journalists know this means the end) but it isn’t. His photos will continue to be marketed by ZUMA Press, his photo agency for the last 20+ years. One of Jack’s last acts was making arrangements for his ongoing royalties to be donated to help future international journalists. A firm believer in freedom of the press he will continue to support this with his royalties going to:

Reporters without Borders:

If you are so inspired, feel free to support the future in his honor:   Make sure you look for the English translation button in upper right, unless you prefer French!

Sidebar to Jack’s story: Every day, week, month and year, millions of men, women, daughters and sons, sit beside loved ones during their last days, hours and minutes as they transition to the next life. In that respect I am nothing special. I was honored to be by his side in life during adventure for 40+ years and it was privilege to be with him as he had made the transition to the next. Life goes on, just in a different format. Thank you all for your continued love and I will post about a “Celebration of Jack’s life” online and in person in the future.

About YJI:

From YJI.

We’ve lost a world class photojournalist and good friend

October 19, 2021 By Youth Journalism International

Photojournalist Jack Kurtz got his start in high school.

(Photo thanks to Laura Schlesinger Minor.)

With deep sadness, we learned today that a valued friend and supporter of Youth Journalism International, the acclaimed photojournalist Jack Kurtz, died today in Iowa at the age of 64 after a long fight with cancer.

Jack spent more than 40 years traveling the world in search of photographs that captured much more than just the news. They put humanity on display, from the Mexican border to Ground Zero to Thailand to the presidential campaigns in Iowa.

Jack Kurtz

Jack didn’t settle for the ordinary, the humdrum. He always found ways to make photographs that reached deeper, creating art that will be his legacy forever. He did more than live through a turbulent, interesting time. He captured images that preserve what he saw so that untold numbers of people will see them, too, for generations to come. That’s his gift to all of us.

Jack came to YJI’s attention because he went to high school in Kenya with the mother of one of our early students and she connected us. A relationship blossomed because he shared YJI’s vision for young people entering journalism and embraced their zeal and idealism fully – because he’d never lost his.

Jack met up with one our students traveling through Thailand. He served as a judge in the YJI contest for years. He gave an online photography workshop for YJI during the coronavirus pandemic that had students riveted.

We’ll be showing a recording of that presentation to students for a long time to come. Jack supported and helped this little charity in many ways, large and small, and we are grateful.

A couple of years ago, YJI’s co-founders, Jackie Majerus and Steve Collins, met up with Jack and his wife Cathy Kurtz for the first time. In Des Moines, Iowa, we got a chance to have a meal, look around a little and hear firsthand about their remarkable life. We enjoyed every moment, not knowing we wouldn’t have another chance.

Our hearts go out to Cathy and to Jack’s many friends and families. There are so many us grieving today. The only salve is that we know Jack’s work will live on.

We urge you to take some time to explore the world through Jack’s incredible eye. Here are two of his photo collections: and

Jack and Cathy Kurtz, left, at a restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa, with YJI co-founders Jackie Majerus and Steve Collins.

Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com

Donna Lou Rochlen Obdyke ~ Class of 1970

Donna Lou Rochlen ~ Class of 1970

Departed ~ 4/21/2021

Helen Stokes Fabricant I am in shock. I have her yearbook ‘69 yearbook (someone has mine) and just a few days ago, I messaged her that I would be glad to send it to her. Oh! This is terrible and sad. If her family wants it, I will be glad to send it. I don’t have any contact information now.  My empathy is with her family. How hard! What a loss.

Obituary for Donna Lou Obdyke

Donna Lou Obdyke, of California, was born on February 3rd 1952 in California, and passed away on April 23rd 2021 in California. She is survived by her loving family.


Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com

Charles Chuck Fish ~ Class of 1978


Charles Chuck Fish ~ Class of 1978

Departed ~ 9/19/21


Charles “Chuck” Robert Fish, age 61, of Dayton, passed away on Sunday, September 19th, 2021.

He was born on May 11th, 1960 to Esther Fish (Nickle) and Robert Fish. Growing up, Chuck lived in many places as a military brat but had a special fondness of his time in Thailand. As an adult, Chuck joined the United States Air Force as a Loadmaster. He spent countless hours transporting personnel and cargo of all kinds in C-17’s and C-141’s all over the world. His last assignment took him to Hawaii where he embraced the island life including kayaking across Pearl Harbor to work each day. He was passionate about his work and retired as a Master Sergeant after 25 years of service to his country.

Upon retirement, Chuck moved from Hawaii to Ohio for one sole purpose, to be close to his daughter and her future family. He absolutely adored his daughter and loved her and his four grandchildren more than anything. His hobbies included baseball, motorcycles, trivia, and video games. He had a remarkable memory and was especially fond of baseball statistics and the Oakland A’s.

He was preceded in death by his mother Esther Fish, and son Charles “CJ” Fish. Chuck is survived by his daughter Jeannette (Brad) Dennis, grandchildren Tucker, Harper, Cooper, and Xander Dennis, father Robert “Bob” Fish, siblings Marilyn (John) Mokwa, Edward “Ed” (Rhonda) Fish, Rachelle “Shell” (Nick) Maddaloni, Muriel “Sissy” (John) Hergenroeder, Charlene Glassmyer, Jeannine (Marc) Mason, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

To help the family celebrate his life you are invited to share during his visitation at Conner & Koch Life Celebration Home (92 W. Franklin St. Bellbrook, Ohio 45305) on Friday, October 1, 2021 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Life Celebration service and military honors will be held immediately following the visitation on Friday, October 1, 2021 at 5:00 pm.

You are welcome to write a condolence, send flowers, plant a tree, and share a story about Charles at

Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com

Susan Becker Lese ~ Class of 1980

Susan Becker ~ Class of 1980

Departed ~ 9/14/2021

Janet Lowe wrote:

It is with a very heavy heart that I share some sad news….Susan Becker ’80 ISB Alumni passed away last night in West Virginia her home of recent years. She chose to enter into hospice care after being diagnosed with a very aggressive ovarian cancer, she left this world comfortable and at peace.

1962-2021 ~ Susan Becker Lese survived by her daughter Rachel, sister Catherine, grand children twins Savannah and Sawyer, and ex. husband/friend Brian Lese.

~As per her wishes there will be no formal services~. Even though she was only in Bangkok for just one year, 1980 as a senior, she always said it was one of the best times in her life.

Farewell blessings for you beautiful free bird ❤.

Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com