In Memoriam | November 2019

Barbara L. Dorset, 89, died Aug. 6, in Sarasota, Fla. Dorset began her career with the U.S. Army at the Pentagon and then worked at the CIA. With the United States Information Agency she was posted in Bonn and Rabat prior to serving the Department as a Foreign Service specialist in Valletta. Dorset then accompanied her husband, a Foreign Service officer, on tours in Accra, Monrovia and Bonn. Dorset retired after 22 years of service in 1983 and worked for several years at a law office just outside Washington, D.C. She loved to read and write and enjoyed puzzles. Dorset is survived by a son, Mark.

Theodore “Ted” Lyman Eliot Jr., 91, died Aug. 9, in Sonoma, Calif. In 1948, Eliot attended Harvard University and received his master’s degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Public Administration in 1956. He became a Foreign Service officer in 1950 and was posted in Sri Lanka, Germany, the USSR, Iran and Washington, D.C. Eliot served as ambassador to Afghanistan from 1973-1978. He retired after 29 years of service and worked as the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and director of the Asia Foundation’s Center for Asian-Pacific Affairs. Eliot was an avid bird watcher and loved baseball. He was predeceased by his wife of 65 years, Patricia. Eliot is survived by four children, Sally, Ted, Wendy and Peter; two sisters, Joan and Mary; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Norbert “Bud” Holz, 98, died Aug. 30, in Cambridge, Wis. Holz served in World War II and earned four campaign medals and seven battle stars. After the war, he graduated from college and served as a teacher until he joined the Foreign Service in 1962, where he served with his family in Ecuador. Holz also served at posts in Paraguay, Guatemala and Panama, and he served as chief of human resources in Vietnam. He retired in 1978 and moved to Fort Atkinson, Wis. Holz was predeceased by his wife of 72 years, Lydia. He is survived by three children, Kathy, Chris and John; eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Rodney Charles Johnson, 87, died July 29, in Sheboygan, Wis. Johnson joined the Foreign Service in 1980 as assistant medical director for the Clinical Psychiatry office. In this position, Johnson participated in the debriefing of the American hostages when they were released by Iran in 1981. He was also posted to Mexico City for three years, serving South and Central America and the Caribbean. In retirement, Johnson spent summers on Detroit Island in northern Lake Michigan where he docked his 72-foot sailboat, the Barlovento. Johnson is survived by his wife, Dolcye; three children, Kirt, Kirstin and Kristian; and three grandchildren.

David Taylor Jones, 77, died Aug. 6, in Philadelphia, Pa. Jones received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania prior to serving in the U.S. Army’s intelligence branch as a second lieutenant in Korea. In 1966, he left active duty—remaining in the Army Reserve—and entered the Foreign Service. Jones served as the special assistant during the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty negotiation and ratification, deputy director of the INF Ratification task force and after being promoted to the Senior Foreign Service, he served as the Foreign Affairs advisor to two Army chiefs of staff from 1989-1992. Jones served his final assignment as the political minister counselor in Ottawa. He retired after 34 years of service and enjoyed a second career as a writer and editor. Jones is survived by his wife Teresa; a sister, Elizabeth; three daughters, Martha, Lisa and Margaret; and two grandsons.

Walter Alexander Kohl, 97, died Aug. 10, in Bethesda, Md. Kohl served as the Voice of America diplomatic correspondent and worked closely with Secretaries of State William Rogers and Henry Kissinger as they traveled in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. He served as an American press attaché in Germany, an information officer in Greece, a public affairs counselor in Vienna and director of the United States Information Agency’s Foreign Press centers in Washington, New York and Los Angeles. Kohl retired from the Senior Foreign Service and went on to direct the Voice of America German language broadcast operation. In retirement, he also established the Washington-based international communications firm Inter-Intel-Info Inc. Kohl is survived by a son, Thomas.

Lowell Bruce Laingen, 96, died July 15, in Bethesda, Md. Laingen served as a naval officer in the South Pacific during World War II. He graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and later received an M.A. from the University of Minnesota and an honorary Ph.D. from the Humphrey Institute. He joined the Foreign Service in 1949 and served at posts in Germany, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and he was appointed ambassador to Malta in 1977. In 1979 he was appointed charge d’affaires to Iran and was taken hostage, where he remained in captivity for 444 days. After his release, he was appointed vice president of the National Defense University where he served until retired in 1987 after 38 years of service. Laingen is survived by his wife of 62 years, Penelope; a sister, Norma; three sons, William, Charles and James; 10 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

Dorothy Grace Schwertfeger, 96, died Sept. 27 in Horicon, Wis. Schwertfeger joined the Department of State in 1941 and served as a Foreign Service officer for more than six decades at assignments throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. During the evacuation of Cambodia in 1975, Schwertfeger and the ambassador were among the last of embassy officials to be helicoptered out of the country before diplomatic relations were severed between the two countries. In the 1990s, Schwertfeger served in Washington, D.C., until she retired, coming out of retirement to offer assistance during the second Iraq War. Schwertfeger was predeceased by her parents; three siblings; and a niece. She is survived by a sister, Selma; and many nieces and nephews.

Marsha Lynne Singer, 62, died April 28, in Arlington, Va. Singer received a B.A. and a J.D. from the University of Florida and an LL.M. from the University of Miami. She began her Foreign Service career as an employee family member, accompanying her Foreign Service officer husband, David Grier, at assignment in Caracas. Singer became a Foreign Service officer in 2001, and she served as a consular officer in Krakow, a desk officer in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, a desk officer in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere, a PEPFAR coordinator in South Africa and an economic officer in Caracas. Singer was an avid reader, gardener, bird watcher, pet lover and fan of cooking shows. She is survived by her husband; a son, Matthew; her mother, Ruth; two siblings, Sara and William; three nieces and two nephews.

Rosalind “Roddy” Sawyer Springsteen, died Sept. 6, in Washington, D.C. Springsteen attended Oberlin College and received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan. In 1949, she joined the Ford Motor Company as their first professional female employee. In 1950, she joined the Department of State as an economist and served in positions in the Far Eastern Research Division and the Office of European Regional Affairs. Springsteen served alongside her husband and Department employee, George, until 1958 when she left in order to adopt their first child. After raising her children for 12 years, Springsteen served positions in a library, as a middle school teacher, as an economic editor at the Department of Labor and as managing editor of the “Journal of Economic Education” from which she retired in 2009. In retirement she enjoyed gardening and sports. Springsteen was predeceased by her husband. She is survived by two children, George and Martha—a former Department employee; and five grandchildren.

Frederick H. Stein, 92, died July 26, in Dumfries, Va. Stein served in the U.S. Army from 1945-1946. He received a bachelor’s degree from City College of New York and attended SRT, one of the first TV schools in the country. Stein began his career in 1955 as a civil servant with the United States Information Agency and later converted to the Foreign Service. He worked as a producer, director, writer and division chief. Stein traveled throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States. He retired from the Foreign Service in 1985 and was active in the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, and he also enjoyed playwriting, directing, Tai Chi, model trains and walking. Stein was predeceased by his wife, Gloria. He is survived by two children, Stuart and Susan; and a daughter-in-law, Danielle.

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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