Augusta doctor recalls slain ambassador

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Even in high school Chris Stevens was something of a diplomat.

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Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, is seen in a 1978 photograph from the Piedmont High School yearbook. Stevens was the editor of the newspaper at the school in California's San Francisco Bay Area.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, is seen in a 1978 photograph from the Piedmont High School yearbook. Stevens was the editor of the newspaper at the school in California's San Francisco Bay Area.

“He had a way with people,” said Elmer Kropp, an Augusta doctor who said he went to high school with the U.S. ambassador, who was killed in Libya on Tuesday. “He was fantastic. He was compassionate, feeling, friendly.”

Kropp, who works in quality assurance for Lilly Pharmaceuticals in Augusta, said he met Stevens as a sophomore at Piedmont High School in California’s San Francisco Bay Area.

“We had orientation and sat next to each other,” he said. “We were best friends.”

The two worked on the high school newspaper together. Kropp wrote a gossip column, while Stevens covered sports.

“He became editor. He did tennis. He did theater. He did everything,” Kropp said.

Both went on to the University of California, Berkeley, but had different majors. Kropp went pre-med, while Stevens majored in history. Kropp said they only shared one political science class and grew apart.

Kropp first heard reports of Stevens’ death Wednesday online.

“I brought up Yahoo to check e-mail and there’s his picture,” he said.

The two last saw each other in person at their 30th high school reunion in 2008, Kropp said.

Wednesday night in Augusta, Kropp looked through their old high school yearbook, which included a signed note from Stevens.

“I’m celebrating his life,” he said.


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