The Light - An Alumni Publication Winter 2014/2015 - Page 4

In Memoriam YFU MOURNS LOSS OF FORMER LEADER HOSTING LEGACY: GAIL OVERPECK It is with great sadness that YFU shares the news of the passing of John Richardson Jr., who served as President and CEO of YFU, Inc. from 197886. John’s passing comes within a month of his beloved wife, Thelma. YFU honors them both for their lifelong contributions to opening minds and hearts through their efforts to encourage intercultural understanding and recognition that we are all citizens of one world. “The famous quotation of ‘we stand on the shoulders of giants’ seems particularly apt as we mourn the loss of John and Thelma Richardson,” said Michael E. Hill, YFU’s current President & Chief Executive Officer. “John came to YFU at a pivotal time in our history, restoring credibility at home and abroad in an organization that was then adrift. His diplomacy, grace and leadership cemented YFU’s future for decades to come. He and Thelma gave eight important years of leadership and sacrifice to YFU, its students, staff and volunteers. On behalf of the 250,000 alumni and countless more volunteers, we honor John and Thelma and send our deepest sympathies to their loved ones.” Read John’s obituary here. Linda Gail Overpeck, age 71, died January 1, 2015 in Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis after a brief illness. She was born on January 23, 1943 in Indianapolis. She graduated from Brazil High School in 1961 and from John Herron Art Institute and Butler University in 1966. She then taught art in the Indianapolis Public School system until retiring in 1996. Her other passion following her retirement was hosting young women from around the world who came to Indianapolis -- attending both Speedway and Ben Davis High Schools -- as YFU exchange students. During her teaching career, she often traveled to attend art workshops in the U.S. and overseas. Once she retired, she continued her overseas travels to visit many of her exchange  daughters. “Gail hosted students right up to the last day of her life, with her last two exchange daughters living with her on a semester program,” said Michael E. Hill, YFU’s President & CEO. “She symbolizes the incredible heart and generosity of our host parents and volunteers across the nation, and the YFU family mourns her loss with her family.” The funeral was held Tuesday, January 6 at Conkle Funeral Home. Donations can be made in her honor, at her family’s request, to YFU at yfuusa.org/donate. John Richardson with his wife Thelma Richardson. “Zinnias” by Gail Overpeck, a talented artist featured in the CCA Gallery. 4 | The Light • YFU