In Memoriam | February 2020

James C. Clemons Jr., 93, died Oct. 7, in Bluffton, S.C. Clemons served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was later employed by U.S Forces in Vienna prior to joining the Foreign Service. Clemons served at posts in Palermo, Rome, Nicosia, Bonn, and Monrovia until he retired in 1979, when he was engaged by the VSE Corporation. Clemons enjoyed writing, poetry, acting, and community service. Clemons was predeceased by his wife, Gertrude and is survived by three children, Gary, Mike, and Karen. 

Richard Kinsella, 97, died Nov. 13, in West Hartford, Conn. Kinsella joined the U.S. Coast Guard and served with the Navy SEALS during the Korean War. He graduated from Georgetown University in 1955 and joined the Foreign Service working for the Office of Maritime Security. Kinsella served in Caracas until 1972 and then transferred to Rio de Janeiro where he remained until he retired in 1987. In retirement, Kinsella relocated to Wethersfield, Conn. He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Conchita; four children, Marco, Robert, John, and Dianne; six grandchildren; and one great-grandson. 

Benjamin F. Smith, 83, died Oct. 9, in Pawleys Island, S.C. Smith served in the U.S. Army reserves for six years prior to graduating from Auburn University. He worked at the Internal Revenue Service for 12 years and then joined the Department of State as a Foreign Service officer in the Office of the Inspector General. During his tenure, Smith traveled to 66 countries including a 3-year tour in Bogota. He retired in 1993 and enjoyed reading, gardening, cooking, and fishing. Smith was predeceased by a daughter, Joye. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Ann; two daughters, Suzanne and Caroline; and four grandchildren. 

Katherine A. Sprang, 59, died Dec. 18, in Summerville, S.C. Sprang received a doctorate from Georgetown University in German Applied Linguistics/Second Language Acquisition. After serving in the private sector, she began her federal career as an assistant to the training coordinator/chief deputy clerk of the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas. Sprang joined the Department in 2000 and served as associate dean of the Foreign Service Institute‚Äôs School of Professional and Area Studies, curriculum and evaluation coordinator in the Office of the Director, director of the Regional Training Program, and director of the Instructional Systems Division. She also headed up the Training Program in Charleston for the Financial Management Bureau. Sprang was an expert gardener and enjoyed home renovation. She is survived by her husband, John; a son, Alan; her mother, Clara; and three sisters. 

Questions concerning employee deaths should be directed to the Office of Casualty Assistance at (202) 736-4302. Inquiries concerning deaths of retired employees should be directed to the Office of Retirement at (202) 261-8960. For specific questions on submitting an obituary, please contact Amanda Richard at

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