image of Alvaro Ugalde climbing hill

In Others’ Words

Diana Kingsbury-Smith Keesee

May 25, 2015

What I witnessed over the 30 years I had the privilege of knowing Alvaro Ugalde was that Alvaro had the rare quality of getting along with just about any human on the planet. His beautiful manners, contagious passion for the causes he advocated, humility and profound thoughtfulness captivated men and women all around the world. It would not faze him whether they were the powerful or the powerless. His optimism and humour just captivated. He made you feel good and happy.

Herewith two of my many memories of Alvaro:

The tour he organized of the Costa Rican National Parks for WWF-I President HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, a small group of WWF major donors, and Dena Kaye, whose Town & Country article describing this adventure was a beautiful boost for Costa Rica and WWF. Among the highlights were dozens of macaws entertaining the gang at breakfast in Corcovado and an overnight in the Mariposa Hotel, where following a walk about in the Manuel Antonio rainforest and on that park’s beaches, we had a riotous Margarita party, in and out of the swimming pool, for which Mother Nature punished us all with a terrifying thunderstorm throughout that night.

A weekend Alvaro spent with my husband, Jim, and me at our home in Waterford, Virginia, in the early 21st century. What a perfect guest! So many riveting stories, theories, and many giggles. Coming into the kitchen to fix breakfast, I found him enthusiastically sweeping our kitchen floor. The loving caresses he gave to our cats, horse and goat were greatly appreciated by one and all.

Diana Kingsbury-Smith Keesee
Proud Co-Chair of The Optimists Club, founded and chaired by Alvaro Ugalde