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Jackie Van Rysselberghe

The daughter of a UO prof, Jackie Van Rysselberghe began a life of travel and language learning at age four, when her family spent a year in Milan on a Fulbright. "We took a Buick and drove around post-war Europe," she recalls. "It influenced my whole life." She returned to Italy in '66 as a exchange student, married an Italian TV cameraman, and worked for years as a RAI TV correspondant in Latin America. "I interviewed Salvador Allende and Pablo Neruda," she notes. With her marriage ending in 1985, Van Rysselberghe returned to Eugene, earned a teaching credential and married Bud Kaufman, an ex-high-school boyfriend. She retired this June after 17 years teaching French and Spanish at Sheldon High School. Following a trip to Asia four years ago, Van Rysselberghe and friend Rosemary Brockman became active volunteers with Eugene-based non-profit Friendship with Cambodia. "We support programs that create scholarships for poor students and loans to help women," she says. "I couldn't retire without something to dedicate myself to." Learn more at friendshipwithcambodia.org.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 6 September 2007

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