During the annual Scout Sunday events at the Chillicothe United Methodist Church Stephanie Van Reigersberg, will be the guest speaker at the 10:45 a.m., service on Feb. 3. Van Reigersberg spent 18 years as head of interpreters at the State Department. She was in the room interpreting when U.S. officials sat down with Fidel Castro, with Augusto Pinochet and many others.

Stephanie Van Reigersberg was born in St. Joseph, the oldest daughter of Simon and Monya Rositzky.

Her father, Simon Rositzky, a lifelong resident of St. Joseph, was a leader in Boy Scouts in Northwest Missouri for many years. He was a member of the Council Scout Camp staff at Camp Brinton near Agency and he helped create and develop Camp Geiger Boy Scout Camp. He was a member of the Scouts' Regional Advisory Committee, International Committee, North Central Region Board, National Council and Pony Express Council Board. Until his death he had been a member of the Scouts' Tribe of Mic-O-Say since it was founded.

Van Reigersberg’s first regular employer was the United Nations Interpreting Service in New York where she served an apprenticeship before beginning to work as a simultaneous interpreter. While there, she travelled widely under contract to such places as Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Geneva, Paris and a number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

She spent 32 years as a diplomatic interpreter for the State Department and the White House

during which she was honored to serve presidents and secretaries of state (and many other high officials) until her retirement in 2005. During 18 of those years she was the head of the USDS Interpreting Service, organizing interpreting services for a wide range of important meetings, summits, state visits, and one-on-one encounters between high officials and world leaders.

Highlights of her own career as a diplomatic interpreter include the Panama Canal negotiations, the 444-day effort to free our hostages from Iran, decades-long secret negotiations between the United States and Cuba including many meetings with Fidel Castro and other members of the Cuban Government, and many state and official visits with world leaders, both here and in their capitals.

After early retirement, she returned to conference interpreting (simultaneous and consecutive) for a wide range of international organizations and private businesses, and is presently working on a contract basis for organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, the Organization of American States and the Pan American Health Organization.

She and her husband are very proud of their two children, Alexia and Fernando (Dito), a sports trainer and actor respectively, and of Alexia’s two sons, Luke and Eli. Both Stephanie and Fernando are music and theater lovers, devotees and supporters of organizations promoting the arts and aiding the needy and displaced. Both she and her sister, Sue, spend their lives hoping to live up to the example set for them by their beloved father, Simon Rositzky.