Long time Friend of Fiji, David Rhudy, died on February 20, 2012 at the age of 65. David was from Riverside, California and a graduate of UC Santa Barbara. He first befriended Fiji in 1969 as a Peace Corps volunteer with Fiji II. Following his two years in Fiji, Dave became a Vista volunteer serving in Hawaii and Arizona, later becoming a VISTA director in Indiana where he met and wed his lovely bride, Carol Mayse. After these ten years in public service, Dave moved into the private sector and became co-owner of the family hardware in Goshen, Indiana; but before getting too settled, he took his new wife on a vacation to Fiji where he introduced her to land and people he had learned to love a decade before.
Dave maintained contact with fellow RPCV’s from Fiji while working, raising a family (daughter Meredith and son Mark) and serving his community on the school board and active member of the local Kiwanis Club. Immediately upon retiring, Dave initiated a “roaming reunion” when he and a fellow Fiji volunteer traveled the southeast visiting other former Fiji volunteers and renewing friendships. Discussion during that excursion led to Dave co-organizing a more formal Fiji II 40th anniversary reunion in 2008 reengaging twenty-four former volunteers. Dave did not limit his “keeping the spirit of Fiji alive” to only Fiji II veterans. After retirement, he became a consultant and travelled throughout the country. Before leaving on any trip, he would check the Peace Corps listing of returned volunteers for former Fiji associates who might live in the area he was visiting; and he would always call. Not surprisingly, almost all of those calls resulted in a dinner with lengthy conversations on Fiji. Two years ago, there was a second “roaming reunion” with Dave visiting former volunteers in the northeast. Last summer in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity and Friends of Fiji, Dave returned once again to Fiji as a volunteer. He took great joy in visiting the two sites where he had served forty-five years earlier. Dave participated in the Peace Corps fiftieth anniversary celebration in September where he attended the Friends of Fiji dinner and marched with others in the Fiji delegation under the Fijian flag. Dave Rhudy, a great friend of Fiji, will truly be missed.