Margaret van Naerssen

Hearing of Jim’s passing was very sad news. But hearing of it also brought back memories — from over the years, starting when we both worked at the U.S. Office of Education. He was in the International Education division while I was in the office for language teacher education under the National Defense Foreign Languages Act. Our offices were the only ones focusing on languages. Later our paths crossed at times at Georgetown University and repeatedly over the years at TESOL activities. I felt that he and Penny were my professional uncle and aunt.

In the early 1980’s he was visiting Bejing where my family and I were living at the Friendship Hotel compound. Once when he needed to call a family member in the US, I alerted him that his call might be monitored. So–he shrugged, grinned, and intentionally spoke in Greek. Still he was startled when the operator interrupted telling him to speak only in English or French as none of the operators speak his language! Then, as a linguist, he just chuckled!

My condolences to Jim’s family, and a special hug for Penny.

Margaret van Naerssen

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