In Memoriam | September 2019

John Toscan Bennett, 90, died June 16, in Alexandria, Va. Bennett attended Harvard University and earned a Ph.D. from the University of California before joining the Foreign Service in 1955. He served in Tunisia, Curacao, twice in Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, South Korea and Washington, with a final posting as deputy chief of mission in Guatemala. Bennett also attended Stanford University’s Sloan Program and served as chairman of the Department of International Studies at the National War College before retiring in 1981. In retirement, Bennett founded the Korea Economic Institute in Washington, D.C., and taught at George Washington University. Bennett was predeceased by a daughter, Holly. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Maria; two children, Kim and Toscan; and seven grandchildren.

Eugene “Gene” Hall Bird, 94, died June 2, in Vancouver, Wash. Bird served in the U.S. Navy from 1944-1948 before receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Oregon. He joined the Foreign Service in 1953 and was posted to Jerusalem shortly before the 1956 war. Bird also served in Beirut, Cairo, Dhahran, Jeddah and India. He retired in 1975 and moved to Washington, with his wife, Jerri, where together they spent decades advocating for a “two-state” peace settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Bird is predeceased by his wife. He is survived by four children, Christina, Nancy, Shelly and Kai.

Richard Birn, 88, died March 23, in Bethesda, Md. Birn received a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and pursued doctoral studies at Columbia University, where he received his master’s degree in 1955. He studied under a Fulbright fellowship in Paris, and worked as a teacher prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1962. Birn served at posts in Helsinki, Hong Kong, Toronto, Malta and Mexico City. His final posting was as a policy officer in Washington, before he retired in 1987. In retirement, Birn worked as a substitute teacher and was active in numerous organizations such as DACOR. Birn is survived by his wife of 61 years, Jacqueline; two children, Daniel and Anne-Emanuelle; and one grandchild.

Jeffrey A. Brock, 73, died June 6, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Brock served 20 years in the U.S. Navy Seabees, retiring as a petty chief officer. He joined the Foreign Service in 2001 and served as a facilities manager in Almaty and Buenos Aires. He spent the latter part of his career working at assignments in Africa and South America. Brock retired in 2015 and had a life-long love of golf. He prided his achievement of three holes-in-one while playing a par-4 course in Islamabad, Pakistan. Brock is survived by his wife of 30 years, Joy; a sister-in-law, Priscilla; and a niece, JJ.

Robert “Bob” John Clarke, 72, died May 30, in Rockville, Md. Clarke served in the U.S. Army from 1968-1970. He began his Foreign Service career as a consular and political officer in Managua, Nicaragua. Clarke served as special assistant to Secretary of State George Shultz and served tours in Madrid, Athens, Manila, Bangkok, Kabul and Hermosillo among other positions. He served his final tour as deputy chief of mission in Wellington, New Zealand, then retired after 33 years of service. Clarke is survived by his wife, Rosalind; and two daughters, Lisa and Jill.

John Gunther Dean, 93, died June 6, in Paris, France. Dean served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He received a B.S. and an M.A. from Harvard University and a doctorate in law from the Sorbonne. Dean’s Foreign Service career began in 1956 when he served as a political officer in Vientiane, Laos. He helped to open the first American Consulates in Lomé, Togo, and Bamako, Mali. From 1972-1974 he was the deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires in Vientiane, where he is credited for having helped the establishment of a coalition government which saved thousands of lives after the Fall of Saigon in 1975. From 1974-1988, he served as ambassador to Khmer Republic, Denmark, Lebanon, Thailand and India. He retired from the Foreign Service in 1989. He is survived by his wife, Martine; three children; and seven grandchildren.

Pasquale “Pat” DiTanna, 87, died July 18, in Fairfax, Va. DiTanna attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1953 prior to joining the U.S. Army. He served one year in Korea prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1956. DiTanna served in Washington, the Philippines, Turkey, Colombia, Panama, Ceylon, Chile, Switzerland and Pakistan. He also traveled extensively during assignments for the Office of Foreign Building Operations. DiTanna retired after 32 years of service. He enjoyed volunteering and was an active member of the Sons of Italy and Veterans of Foreign Wars in Fairfax, Va. DiTanna is survived by his wife of 59 years, Janet; a sister, Martha; four children, Tom, Lucian, Angela and Helen; and six grandchildren.

Joe W. Ellis, 70, died June 15, in Woodbridge, Va. Ellis served in the U.S. Army until he joined the Department of State in 1992. He served as a telecommunications specialist until he retired in 2012, and then he returned to the Department to serve as a contractor. Ellis was a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. He is survived by his wife, Esther; three children, Maurice, Byron and Valda; seven grandchildren; a great-grandson; and five siblings.

James Eugene Leader, 83, died May 29, in Ashburn, Va. Leader graduated from Purdue University and studied abroad in Allahabad, India, planting the seed for his lifelong love of South Asia. He joined the Foreign Service in 1960 and served in India, England, Sri Lanka and Venezuela. He retired after 27 years of service in 1987. Leader was active as a volunteer scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America, Troop 345. He was predeceased by his wife, Carillon. He is survived by three children, Daniel, Carol and Jane; 11 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Duncan H. MacInnes, 71, died April 22, in Sarasota, Fla. MacInnes attended Clark University and received an M.A. degree from the University of Arizona. He entered the Foreign Service in 1984 and served in Doha, Sanaa, Colombo, Jerusalem, Canberra and Washington. He retired as a member of the Senior Foreign Service in 2012 and pursued interests in photography, travel and boating. MacInnes is survived by his wife of 50 years, Donna; and son, Robert.

George A. McFarland Jr., 88, died June 1, in Annapolis, Md. McFarland served as a U.S. Air Force pilot during the Korean War. He joined the Foreign Service in 1958 as a political officer and served in Costa Rica, Cyprus, Turkey, Peru, Brazil, and Antigua and Barbuda. He retired to Peru in 1985 and became a modernist sculptor, exhibiting in Texas, Maryland and Washington. McFarland is survived by his wife, Rosario; four children, Stephen, Anne, Maria and John; and seven grandchildren.

Donna Lee Millet, 63, died May 13, in Lakewood, Colo. Millet joined the Foreign Service in 1980, and she served as a secretary in New Delhi and Tunis, where she met her husband, Jean-Paul “Paulo.” Millet then served as an office management specialist in Nouakchott, Algiers, Djibouti, Colombo, Libreville, Abu Dhabi, Damascus, Pretoria, Kuwait City and Canberra. She retired in 2011 and moved to Loveland, Colo., where she enjoyed an active life and enjoyed traveling in both the U.S. and Europe. Millet is survived by her husband.

Neala D. Montgomery, 66, died March 8, in Lawton, Okla. Montgomery joined the Foreign Service in 1989 and served as an office management specialist and diplomatic courier for more than 25 years. She served at posts in Budapest, San Jose, Costa Rica, Manila, Nairobi—during the 1998 bombing—Prague, Caracas, Washington, Frankfurt, and Bangkok before she retired in 2014. In retirement, Montgomery lived in California and was an avid gardener and also enjoyed traveling and volunteering. She is survived by her husband, also a retired Foreign Service officer, Steven; and a daughter, Candice.

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Thomas A. Rodgers, 78, died June 9, in Tucson, Ariz. Rodgers served in the U.S. Navy and worked as a psychiatrist at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego. He joined the Foreign Service in 1988 and served as a MED regional psychiatrist. He served in Kinshasa, Pretoria, Bangkok and Santiago. He left the Department of State in 1995 and continued working as a psychiatrist in Alaska and Spokane, Washington, until he retired in 2010. Rodgers enjoyed storytelling and fishing. He is survived by his wife, Hester; many children; and grandchildren.

Arlette A. Sulak, 84, died June 27, in Lake Ridge, Va. Sulak entered the civil service in 1989. She served alongside her husband as a personal services contractor on assignments in Ghana, Germany and Pakistan. She also served as a civil service employee on their last assignment in Vienna, Austria. Sulak retired in 2004 and enjoyed gardening. She is survived by her husband, Michael; and two sons, Michael and Andrew. 

Lucy Giampiccolo Silverthorne, 95, died April 24, in El Paso, Texas. Silverthorne entered the Foreign Service in 1955 and served in Washington, as secretary to the assistant secretary for far eastern economic affairs. She was later assigned as secretary to the ambassador at posts in Tegucigalpa, San Jose, Caracas and Rome. She later became a consular officer and served in Panama, Juarez, Caracas, Washington, Miami and Managua before retiring in 1976 to El Paso. Silverthorne was predeceased by her husband, Joseph. She is survived by two sons, Pancho and Joseph; and three grandchildren.

Questions concerning employee deaths should be directed to the Office of Casualty Assistance at (202) 736-4302. Inquiries concerning deaths of retired employees should be directed to the Office of Retirement at (202) 261-8960. For specific questions on submitting an obituary, please contact Amanda Richard at

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