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An American on Work Trip Among the Dead in Sri Lanka

Dieter Kowalski, 40, was a Denver resident who was born in Milwaukee
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2019 8:48 AM CDT
Sri Lankan security forces approach the site after a vehicle parked near St. Anthony's shrine exploded in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, April 22, 2019.   (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

(Newser) – We knew that Americans were among the victims of the terror attacks in Sri Lanka, and now we have the first name: Dieter Kowalski, a 40-year-old Denver resident. Kowalski worked in tech for Pearson, described as an educational publishing and assessment company, and he had just arrived in Sri Lanka on business, reports NBC News. “And the fun begins," he had written on Facebook Friday. "Love these work trips. 24 hours of flying. See you soon Sri Lanka!” Pearson CEO John Fallon told employees in an email that Kowalski had just checked into the Cinnamon Grand hotel—one of three hotels hit, along with churches—when the explosion struck, per Fox 6.

"Colleagues who knew Dieter well talk about how much fun he was to be around, how big-hearted and full-spirited he was," writes Fallon. "They tell of a man to whom we could give our ugliest and most challenging of engineering problems, knowing full well that he would jump straight in and help us figure it out." Kowalski's brother, Derrick, confirmed the death, writing, "We have all lost a brother today," per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The newspaper notes that Kowalski was a native of the Milwaukee area who graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2001. (Authorities in Sri Lanka had received warnings about an imminent attack.)

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