Guy Allen Overland, a librarian who managed libraries and resource centers in Washington for the National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Export-Import Bank for more than 20 years, died Jan. 23 at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington. He was 54.
Jim Houser, his partner of 16 years, said the cause of death was complications stemming from Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome, a rare disease marked by severe body swelling and organ failure.
Overland most recently served as Supervisory Librarian for the Research Library and Archives of the Export-Import Bank, where he worked from October 2013 until early January of this year, when he was hospitalized for his illness.
He served for 19 years, from 1994 to October 2013, as director of the National Endowment for Democracy’s Democracy Resource Center. Houser said Overland helped start the resource center and oversaw its growth from a traditional library to a technologically advanced resource facility.
Houser said the National Endowment for Democracy plans to add Overland’s name to the official name of its Democracy Resource Center in recognition of his distinguished tenure and service to the center. An aide to the organization’s president, Carl Gershman, confirmed plans for the name change.
Prior to joining the National Endowment for Democracy, Overland worked as a law librarian for the law firm Fulbright and Jaworski and, prior to that position, served as a program officer for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.
“He was active in library and international organizations in Washington, D.C., and was the originator and coordinator for the Washington International Library Group,” Houser said in a statement.
“He overcame obstacles with the illness he had,” said longtime friend Patrick Kalk. “He was just a very positive person, always in a good mood, hardworking, intelligent, a good sense of humor — all of those good things.”
Overland received a master’s degree from Catholic University in Library and Information Science and a separate master’s degree from American University in International Affairs. He received his bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Florida State University, where he was president of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity.
According to Houser, Overland was born in Bellefonte, Pa. He is survived by his mother, Cynthia Overland, of Fairfax, Va.; his three siblings, John Overland, Laura Maun Garcia and Linda Stewart, all of the Tampa Bay, Fla., area; and his partner Jim Houser of Arlington, Va.
A celebration of his life is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, at Foundry United Methodist Church, 1500 16th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. A reception is scheduled to follow the service at the church’s Fellowship Hall.
In lieu of flowers, loved ones request that a donation be made in his memory to either the National Organization for Rare Disorders, which funds research and treatment of patients with rare diseases, or Doorways for Women and Families, which provides services for people encountering domestic violence and homelessness.