Secretary of State John Kerry took a detour to Chicago on his way back from Japan to visit the family of a slain American diplomat.
Kerry on Monday flew to O'Hare International Airport, where he met with the parents of 25-year-old Anne Smedinghoff, the River Forest native who was killed last week by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. Kerry said Smeddinghoff was "full of ideals and full of hope."
Smedinghoff's funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Luke Church, 528 Lathrop Ave., in River Forest. Her visitation begins at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., in Oak Park.
Last week her Fenwick High School alma mater held a special mass in her honor.
"For one so young, she seemed so focused and determined to unravel the big problems," said Smedinghoff's AP Spanish teacher, Irene Drago, who spoke of her quiet intelligence and special gift for foreign language.
"Teachers are supposed to inspire students," Drago said. "But most teachers quickly realize the reverse is often true. Anne inspired me."
The Illinois native is the first U.S. diplomat to die on the job since last year's Benghazi, Libya, attack.
Kerry returns from Eastern Asia where he was visiting allies to assure them the U.S. will stand by them if North Korea attacks. Kerry said Sunday the Obama administration would negotiate with North Korea under the right circumstances.