Ian McClement Pounds, 55, formerly of Middlebury

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh — Ian McClement Pounds, son of Sue and Lew Pounds of Southbury, CT, passed away July 31, 2016, in Chittagong, Bangladesh. He was 55.

Ian was well-known around the world as a teacher, an author and playwright, a musician and songwriter, a guidance counselor, a firefighter, a mason, a carpenter, a canvas maker, and an all-around philanthropist, humanitarian, dreamer and innovator. He attended the University of Colorado and Oxford University, and he completed his degree at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Ian began travelling the world very early in his life, participating in Colorado’s Semester at Sea program, which took him as far as Asia and Egypt. He has resided in Connecticut, Washington, Alaska, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia, Afghanistan, and finally, Bangladesh.

Ian ran a successful canvas works company in Sitka, Alaska, counseled troubled teenagers in Middlebury, Vermont, and also volunteered for the fire department there. He spent many years participating in and coordinating the annual Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at Middlebury College. In 2008 Ian began living and working as a volunteer in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he taught English, Drama, and Music within the AFCECO children’s orphanage system. Over the next five years he built lasting relationships with the children and staff there. He conceptualized and led two student trips to the U.S. — the first with three students, and the second with six students and a chaperone. They toured the country living in a huge recreational vehicle they affectionately referred to as “the Magic Bus.”

The children spent several months giving speeches, and teaching our country about AFCECO and the immeasurable difference that organization has made for thousands of Afghan orphans. While on tour, they raised over $100,000 in donations for the orphanages.

Ian wrote prolifically throughout his life. He composed plays, poetry, non-fiction, memoirs, and music. He loved his students and documented their life’s stories in his work. It became too dangerous for him to remain in Kabul, so Ian moved on to teaching at the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, in 2013. Again, he found great satisfaction in teaching and counseling Asian teens about the rights of women and how to become the next generation of world leaders.

Ian lost a battle with ALS on July 31st. He is survived by a wife, two step-sons, three sisters, two brothers, five nieces and nephews, three former wives, dozens of fellow sponsors and friends of AFCECO, and hundreds of children around the world who have grown up knowing, loving, and learning from this extraordinary man.

Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Ian’s name.

Donations may also be made in his memory to AFCECO (the Afghan Child Education and Care Organization) by visiting AFCECO.org. A celebration of Ian’s amazing life is forthcoming. ◊

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