On Wednesday, April 13 the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience lost a loyal champion and stalwart supporter of our effort to recognize the history of America’s more than 60 years of Peace Corps service to the world. Marla I. Bush passed away at her home in Bethesda, Maryland.
Marla was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her sister, Michealyn Mitchell, and brother-in-law, David; her nephew Sam H. Mitchell and wife, Elizabeth.
A celebration of her life is being planned. Her family asked that donations be made to Museum of the Peace Corps Experience and Arts for the Aging.
“We miss Marla—her constant encouragement, enthusiasm, and passion—and her tireless dedication to the Museum’s mission,” says the Museum’s board president, Patricia Wand. “She leaves a legacy through her infectious spirit of optimism and her many contributions.”
Marla became an active volunteer as soon as she learned about the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience in December, 2019, and by Spring of 2020 she was making crucial observations at monthly meetings of the working committee. She suggested and began tracking the more than 450 monthly hours volunteers work to achieve the collective Museum goals.
Marla then joined the Collections team and brought curiosity, awe, and admiration to the process of collecting objects. She worked side by side with other volunteers unpacking and organizing newly donated objects from returned Peace Corps Volunteers who had served in many countries of the world.
As a member of the Exhibits team she helped plan “Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience,” the highly successful exhibition celebrating Peace Corps 60th anniversary at American University Museum in 2021. Marla also lead early plans for the Museum’s upcoming exhibit at Peace Corps Place which opens in July of this year.
When in the Fall of 2021 the Museum announced its first fundraising campaign Marla made the ground-breaking pledge that led to success of the ambitious $100,000 “60th Anniversary Challenge Campaign.”
Marla served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lamy, Chad from 1968 to 1970 and as a social worker at the Jerusalem Center for Child and Family Development in Jerusalem. She earned a Master of Arts degree in African Studies at American University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of California at Berkeley. She danced with the Spanish Dance Company and the Raquel Peña dance troupe and was an Emeritus Teaching Artist with Arts for the Aging. She retired from a career with the Administration on Aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Obituary appeared in Washington Post on Sunday, April 17, 2022.
Donations may be made to Museum of the Peace Corps Experience or Arts for the Aging.
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Those of us who knew vivacious Marla will miss her presence in our lives. She had a loving spirit for people, animals, exploring other countries, making friends of people around the world–including me!!–and being such a fun person. Thank goodness for the great memories she left us. Love you wherever you are, Marla!!!
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