In Memoriam | 2022

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 StateMagazine@state.gov.


December 2022

Ross “Max” Leland Klinger, 64, died July 15, in Jacksonville, Fla. Klinger served in the U.S. Navy prior to entering the Foreign Service in 1986. He worked at posts in Sweden, Somalia, Venezuela, Washington, India, Pakistan, Djibouti, and The Gambia, before retiring in 2008. In the private sector, Klinger worked as a hospital courier. He enjoyed reading books, fishing, camping, hiking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Klinger is survived by his wife, Rosita; five children, Joseph, Celyjane, Jonalyn, Mark, and Christine; two sisters, Linda and Tammy; and six grandchildren.

Eli William Bizic, age 83, died Sept. 4, in McLean, Va. Bizic was born April 8, 1939, in Rochester, Penn. He received a B.A. in international relations from the University of Southern California in 1961. He then obtained his law degree at the University of Texas at Austin in 1964. He was fluent in French and German and learned Arabic at the Shemlan School in Lebanon. He was sworn in as a member of the Foreign Service, July 30, 1964, and served abroad in Rabat, Tangier, Beirut, Tel Aviv, Bern, and Vienna. Following his 25-year Foreign Service career, Bizic served at the U.N. in New York, led the national Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity, worked as an attorney, and consulted for the Department of State. He became a member of the State Bar of Texas in1964, and was sworn to the United States Supreme Court later in his career. Nearing retirement, he joined his wife in managing her Georgetown antique store. Bizic is survived by his wife of 54 years, Evelyn; daughters Natalie McCollum and Elizabeth Bizic Cole; and three grandchildren.

Saynora D. Pittman, 53, of District Heights, Md., died Sept. 22. Pittman’s career with the Department began in July 1989. She served as a Prevention Officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Office of Children’s Issues assisting parents, law enforcement, and other stakeholders in preventing international parental child abductions. Pittman was a mentor to country officers in her bureau, always willing to lend a helping hand and provide welcomed advice. She demonstrated a deep sense of duty and respect for carrying out her responsibilities in assisting American citizens on behalf of the Department. Colleagues who depended on Pittman’s guidance commended her dedication, camaraderie, and love for her work. She is survived by her husband, Nathaniel J. Pittman Jr.; one daughter, Dominique Redmond; three sons, Darren Redmond, Nathaniel and Jaiden Pittman; two sisters, Valencia King and Brenda Harris; two brothers, Raymond Harris and Joseph Redmond; and eight grandchildren.

David A. Korn, 92, died Sept. 7. He joined the Department in 1957 after serving in the U.S. Army from 1951-1953. During his Foreign Service tenure, he served in Mauritania, Lebanon, Israel, Ethiopia (as permanent chargé d’affaires), and Togo (as ambassador). After retiring in 1988, Korn authored seven books, including “Assassination in Khartoum” about the murder of two Foreign Service Officers (FSO) by the Black September Organization terrorist group, and numerous articles and op-eds.

Robert C. Reis, Jr., 78, died Sept. 26, of lymphoma. He was born May 8, 1944, at Stewart U.S. Army Air Corps Base in New York. He attended St. Louis University. In 1967, Reis joined the Foreign Service and served in Berlin, Mogadischu, Lusaka, Tokyo, Yokohama, Sapporo, and Kuala Lumpur (as deputy chief of mission). While serving in Washington, he worked primarily on economic and East Asian affairs. In retirement, he declassified documents at the Department. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Ninette Knudsen Reis; his daughters, Katherine Reis Williams and Sarah Reis Roddis; his son-in-law, Thomas Roddis; two grandchildren, William Roddis and Jane Roddis; his sister, Nancy Vennard; and his brother Mark Reis.

Bernardo “Benny” Segura-Girón, 79, died June 13, of acute myeloid leukemia. He was born July 8, 1942, in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He received a law degree from the Catholic University of Puerto Rico and a Master’s degree in criminal law from New York University. Segura-Girón joined the Department as an FSO in 1982 and served in Brasilia, Caracas, Manama, Buenos Aires, and Panama City before returning to Washington in 1997 where he undertook a series of domestic assignments. After retiring in 2004, he worked as a consultant and traveled the world with his beloved wife. Segura-Girón was an avid reader who enjoyed golf as well as volunteering at St. Michael Catholic Church in Annandale, Va. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Frances; his daughter Francesca Segura Schlesinger and her husband, Robert; his son Bernardo O. Segura and his wife, Christie; and four grandchildren, Emmet, Alexander, Elena, and Nicolas. 

Julia “Julie” Frances Phipps, 92, died March 15, in Rochester, N.Y.  She joined the Department as a Foreign Service staff secretary in 1956, and served in Paris and Djakarta, before returning Stateside and converting to the Civil Service. In Washington, she served in the front office of the Executive Secretariat, managing the secretary of state’s travel and at times traveling with the secretary’s party. At her retirement in 1994, she received the Rogers Award, the highest career service award for the Civil Service. She loved family genealogy, cats, gardening, pursuing the elusive perfect tomato, and gatherings with neighborhood and Department friends. 

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James “Jaime” P. Rogers, 53, died Oct. 7. Rogers joined the Department in 2004. He served as an information technology specialist for the Executive Secretariat. Rogers was a lover of computers, music, plants, and animals, whom he affectionately referred to as his fur babies. He is predeceased by his father, Roy Allen Rogers; and survived by his mother, Jacqueline Duhart; and two brothers, Derek Allen Rogers and Clifford Joseph Rogers.

Nicholas “Nick” Mulville Murphy, 86, died June 3, in Richmond, Va., of a blood disorder. Murphy was born Jan. 20, 1936, in Pelham, N.Y. He was awarded a Navy ROTC scholarship to Princeton University and graduated in 1957. While in the Navy, he attended Arabic and Turkish language school, and served as an intelligence officer in Turkey. In Turkey, he met, fell in love with, and married the daughter of the German ambassador. He then embarked on a 30-year career as an FSO, serving in Beirut, Saudi Arabia, France, Senegal, and Washington. After retiring from the Foreign Service, Murphy began a second career declassifying documents for the Department. At 60 years old, Murphy attended University of Maryland Law School at night while working during the day. He graduated with honors in 2000 and was admitted to the Maryland Bar that same year. Murphy used his legal skills for the next 15 years, becoming an authority on the Freedom of Information Act for the Department. He is predeceased by his wife of 47 years, Anka Murphy; and his brothers, Tony and Jerome. He is survived by his daughter, Cecile Fay; his son, Nicholas S. Murphy; his grandson, Max Murphy; his daughter-in-law, Veena Luthra; his brothers, Stephen, Quentin, and Thomas Gregory Murphy; and many nieces and nephews.


November 2022

Annette Maria Day, 53, died June 19, in Largo, Md. Day joined the Department of State in 1992. Her last assignment was in the Office of the Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance. She enjoyed taking her mother out for breakfast, traveling the world, and going to concerts—especially Gladys Knight performances. She is survived by her mother; five siblings; and a large extended family.

Michael Hahn, 73, died Aug. 14, in Florida, of multiple myeloma. Hahn was born and raised in Italy, joining the U.S. Information Agency in 1981 after working as a political researcher and documentary screenwriter in Washington. He served at posts in Ankara, Guatemala City, Genoa, Rome, San Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, and Prague. He retired from the Foreign Service in 2008 and worked part-time as a retired annuitant, filling positions in Helsinki, Tegucigalpa, Tbilisi, Tel Aviv, Lisbon, and Washington, where he worked for the Bureau of  International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and, most recently, as associate editor at State Magazine. He most enjoyed time with sons and grandchildren, skiing, opera, and hearty Roman cooking.

Kirk-Patrick Kotula, 81, died Aug. 29, in Kerrville, Texas, of cancer. Kotula served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1959-1965. He joined the Foreign Service in 1966, and served in Cairo, Ankara, Saigon, Dhahran, Antananarivo, and other posts abroad before returning Stateside to teach at the Foreign Service Institute. After retiring in 1993, Kotula continued working for the Department of State as a retired annuitant, completing more than 20 overseas assignments from 1994-2019. He loved his work, travel, history, poetry, soft rock and classical music, conversation with friends, and a good joke.

Thomas Talaat Turqman, 93, died Aug. 8, in McLean, Va., of pulmonary fibrosis. Born and raised in New York City, Turqman graduated from the City College of New York and married Elsa Christine Thunborg in 1951. He went on to serve in the intelligence branch of the Army during the Korean War and afterward joined the United States Information Service where he served in Milan and Sicily. Subsequently, Turqman was accepted into the Foreign Service at the U.S. Department of State where he spent the majority of his career at overseas posts including in Sweden, Italy, Libya, and eventually in Germany where he served as consul general in both Dusseldorf and Stuttgart. He retired in 1990, but stayed involved with foreign policy by teaching courses at the National War College at Ft. McNair in Washington.

Thomas Tonkin, 86, died Aug. 17, in Sarasota, Fla. Born in Chicago, Tonkin earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. He joined the Foreign Service in 1959 and served in Rio de Janeiro and Washington before being detailed to Stanford University to study Latin American affairs. Subsequently, he was assigned to Panama City and Buenos Aires, followed by two years as chief of Argentine Affairs in Washington, after which he retired from the Department of State. He rejoined the Foreign Service in 1985 and was posted to Caracas, Guatemala, Dublin, and the U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States. After retiring again, Tonkin traveled abroad with his wife, Peg Tams (also a retired Foreign Service Officer) who served as a reemployed annuitant in Italy, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, and Ecuador. An avid reader, he volunteered with the Literacy Council, the Sarasota Library, and the All Faiths Food Bank in his later years. He is survived by his wife, Peg; his daughter, Vanessa; and his son, Tom.


October 2022

Francis J. Aschman, 92, died July 3, in Ormond Beach, Fla. Aschman was in the U.S. Air Force from 1948 to 1952, serving in the Korean War. He joined the Foreign Service in 1961, and served as a communications officer for 28 years. During his career, Aschman worked at posts in Sydney, Sofia, Bangkok, Bonn, Melbourne, Frankfurt, Jakarta, Mexico City, and Ottawa. He retired in 1989, and enjoyed dancing, cruises, and traveling. Aschman is survived by his wife of 59 years, Patricia; three daughters, Denise, Allison, and Kristin; and three grandchildren.

Peter Scott Bridges, 90, died Aug. 13, in Arlington, Va. Bridges earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree as well as the Certificate of the Russian Institute from Columbia University. He then served two years in the U.S. Army before joining the Foreign Service in 1957. He initially served on the Soviet desk, then as a political officer in Panama, and later as vice consul. From 1961-1962, he was a student in the U.S. Army’s Russian Institute at Oberammergau. He later served as an assistant general services officer and political officer in Moscow, and was seconded to the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, serving as an English-Russian interpreter. He also served as a political officer in Rome, and was chief of the political/economic section in Prague. In Washington, he served as director of the Office of Performance Evaluation and then as a deputy executive secretary in the Executive Secretariat. In 1977, he was seconded to the Treasury Department, where he served as the executive secretary. During his career, Bridges also served as director of the Office of United Nations Political Affairs and of the Office of Eastern European Affairs, deputy chief of mission in Rome, and, in 1984, he served as ambassador to Somalia. He retired in 1986, and served as executive director of the Una Chapman Cox Foundation, manager of international affairs of Shell Oil Company, and resident representative in the Czech Republic of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He was a published author and long-time hiker and runner. Bridges is survived by his wife of 67 years, Mary Jane; four children, David, Elizabeth, Mary, and Andrew; and six grandchildren.

Paul Joseph Byrnes, 95, died Aug. 4, in Sarasota, Fla. In 1944, Byrnes enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Following discharge, he graduated from Frostburg College in 1950. He taught junior high school before accepting a position as special agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1957, he joined the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service and later joined the Foreign Service in 1970. From 1970-1974, he was the U.S. representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program, in Rome. From 1979-1982, Byrnes went to Antigua to open a consulate general covering five Eastern Caribbean countries. He left the Department in 1985 to be assistant secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization in Madrid. After retirement in 1988, Byrnes joined the U.N. Association and the Foreign Service Retiree Association of Florida, serving seven years as board chair of the latter, and three years as vice president of the Sarasota Sister Cities Association. He also began a career in real estate and volunteered on several homeowner association boards, with arts and political groups, and at Doctors Hospital. Byrnes is survived by his wife of 54 years, Hope; three children, Paul, Kate (also a Foreign Service officer), and Sean; three grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Shawn Kelly O’Donnell, 40, died July 20, in Washington, D.C. Prior to embarking on a career with the U.S. government, O’Donnell, a California-native, worked at Google. In 2013, she joined the Department of Homeland Security, and in 2019 she joined the Foreign Service. O’Donnell most recently served in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, and also served as a consular officer in Mumbai. She had a lifelong love of travel, either living in or visiting 54 different countries, including Egypt, Syria, and Spain where she learned and became proficient in standard Arabic, Syrian Arabic, and Spanish. A few weeks prior to her death, O’Donnell climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for her 40th birthday. O’Donnell is survived by her mother, Mary; a sister, Shannon;  step-father, Claes; and a brother-in-law, Andreas.

Rosemary Dorothy O’Neill, 79, died July 20, in Cape Cod, Mass. After graduating from Dunbarton College, O’Neill joined the Department of State as a special assistant to the ambassador of Malta and Luxembourg. She served at posts in Washington until 1980, then served in Morocco. O’Neill served under the Department’s secretary of human rights, as an advisor with the director of policy planning on northern Ireland issues, and helped to establish a group of Irish American leaders for meetings with the president’s special envoy to northern Ireland. In 1992, O’Neill was elected as the chair of the Open Forum—an internal and confidential channel for Foreign Service officers created by the secretary of state for free flow discussion and debate on U.S. policy. Prior to retirement in 2004, O’Neill established the Afghan Women’s Program, providing Afghan women and girls with educational opportunities. In retirement, she served on the Harwich Democratic Committee and was chair of the Board of the Family Pantry of Cape Cod. O’Neill was predeceased by her parents, Millie and former-Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” P. O’Neill; and a brother, Michael. She is survived by three siblings, Thomas, Susan, and Christopher; and many nieces and nephews.

Elizabeth Raspolic, 82, died May 26, in Phoenix, Ariz. In 1960, Raspolic graduated from Bennington College then began graduate school at Arizona State University and the Universidad National Autonoma de Mexico. She later joined the Peace Corps in Lahore, Pakistan, and served in more senior Peace Corps positions in Thailand and Tunisia. In 1973, she joined the Foreign Service as one of four women in an entering class of 25, and was posted to Lyon, France, where she served as a consular officer. During her career she served at posts in Seoul, Addis Ababa, Guangzhou, as consul general in Beijing, deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires in Ouagadougou, and in 1996, ambassador in Gabon. Raspolic also served in Washington, in the Executive Secretariat, as well as other senior assignments. She retired in 2001, but was recalled to the Department of State in 2008 to serve as chargé d’affaires in Conakry. In retirement, Raspolic enjoyed reading, and collecting art and Native American jewelry. She is survived by four cousins, Catherine, Lillian, Norman, and Judy.

Jim Wojtasiewicz, 70, died Aug. 7, in Sterling, Va. He joined the Foreign Service in 1983 and was posted as a political consular officer to Khartoum. He then served as the economic officer in Malaysia, the deputy chief of mission and the chargé d’affaires in Brunei, the deputy economic counselor in Poland, and the political-economic counselor in Côte d’Ivoire. In Washington, he was the senior France desk officer, the desk officer for Poland, the deputy
director for NATO, the public affairs officer for the undersecretary for economic affairs, and the senior advisor for the Millennium Challenge Account in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. Wojtasiewicz retired in 2007, and worked for two years as the program manager for counterterrorist finance, as a contractor. In 2018, at 67 years old, he graduated from William and Mary Law School and became a lawyer, practicing at the New York Law Firm’s Virginia branch. He was an avid reader, loved baseball, and enjoyed traveling. Wojtasiewicz is survived by his wife of 47 years, Renata; and two daughters, Anna and Teresa.


September 2022
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Richard Cecil Castrodale, 82, died June 22, in Little River, S.C. Castrodale entered the Foreign Service in 1967. He served at posts in Johannesburg, Algiers, Stockholm, Chiang Mai, and Songkhla, and held subsequent posts for the U.N. in Geneva and Islamabad. He retired in 1991. He enjoyed traveling, especially to Italy where he attended language schools in several cities every few years and toured the countryside. Castrodale is survived by his wife, Diane; three children, Rowan, Louisa, and Alex; and six grandchildren.

LaRae Kemp, 80, died May 15, in North Richland Hills, Texas. Kemp graduated from the University of Colorado and received an M.D. from the University of Colorado Medical School in 1974. She later earned a master’s degree from Columbia University. In 1977, she joined the Foreign Service as the Department of State’s first female physician. She served in Kinshasa, Cairo, Moscow, and Bridgetown. She also served as the first Black/Native American Medical Director for the Bureau of Medical Services at the Department, and assisted with the response to the 1983 bombing at the U.S. embassy in Beirut, hostage situations in the Middle East, and medical evacuations of critically ill Americans across war zones. In retirement, Kemp made numerous medical mission trips to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and she was a published author. Kemp is survived by her retired-Foreign Service Officer husband, Tyrone; six children; and many grandchildren.

Ralph Herman Ruedy, 78, died May 7, in ​​Staunton, Va. Ruedy graduated from Iowa State University prior to embarking on a career in the U.S. Navy. He served in Vietnam and was promoted to lieutenant commander in the Naval Reserves, later receiving a commission as a major in Air Force Intelligence. He went on to achieve his Ph.D. in English from Duke University before joining the Foreign Service with the United States Information Agency. Ruedy and his family served in Tehran, East Berlin, Bonn, Russia, and Washington. After he retired from the Foreign Service, he continued to serve as a consultant for the Department of State. He served as interim deputy office director for public diplomacy in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, and an election observer in Montenegro, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Ukraine. He was an ordained elder with his church, often participating in mission trips, and enjoyed reading, reciting poetry, fishing, and hunting. Ruedy is survived by his wife of 52-years, Shirley; three children, Carolyn, Elizabeth, and Daniel; and a granddaughter.

Karen Ann Vismale, 63, died March 7, in The Bronx, N.Y. In 1986, Vismale joined the Department of State in a data entry position at the New York City Passport Agency. She served at this post for 28 years. Vismale enjoyed playing video games and swimming. She was predeceased by her parents, Albert and Gloria; and her ex-husband, Angel. Vismale is survived by a daughter, Renee; a sister, Janice; two granddaughters, Lena and Luna; and a host of aunts, uncles, and cousins.


August 2022

Warren Gray, 67, died Feb. 7, in Marco Island, Fla. Gray served in the U.S. Army prior to going to law school. After graduating, he practiced law at the Department of Energy, first as an attorney and then as an administrative judge. He later joined the Foreign Service and was assigned to study Malayalam, in a sole class of one. During his career, he served at posts in India, Poland, Azerbaijan, Washington (including an assignment to the National Targeting Center), Mexico, and he served a temporary duty assignment in Moldova. Gray retired in 2019 and continued to pursue his lifelong love of learning languages, solving puzzles, and serving with the National Language Service Corps. Gray is survived by his wife of 32 years, Aisling; two children, Aidan, and Zoe; and an aunt and uncle.

Dwight Holmes, 60, died May 3, in Nantucket, Mass. In 1980, Holmes joined the U.S. Marine Corps and became a Marine Security Guard, where he served in embassies across Africa and Europe. In 1989, Holmes joined the Foreign Service as a communications officer and served at posts in Tokyo, Denmark, Baku, and Brussels. He retired in 1996, returning to Nantucket where he raised his family, started two successful small businesses, and continued his lifelong love of travel. Holmes is survived by his wife of 32 years, Nancy; three children, Gerard, Jade, and Erin-Marie; and son-in-law Troy (a Department of State employee).

Anbess Keffelew, 72, died April 10, in Gardena, Calif. Born in Ethiopia, Keffelew later moved to California and became an American citizen. He received a bachelor’s degree from California State University and a master’s degree from Golden Gate University. Keffelew joined the Department of State in 1998 and served as a Foreign Service national in Armenia, Liberia, Paraguay, Germany, and Jamaica. He retired in 2015 and enjoyed tennis and swimming. Keffelew is survived by his wife, Kadiean; seven children, Yonas, Miguel, Jordon, Geavanne, Akeem, Rahiym, and Aeden; his mother, Almaz; and five siblings.

Ramona Quinn Kludt, 92, died Feb. 28, in Albuquerque, N.M. Kludt joined the Foreign Service in 1955 and was posted to Saigon. In 1979 she served at NATO in Brussels, and later served at posts in Damascus, East Berlin, Ethiopia, Paris, Romania, Ghana, and Morocco. Kludt retired in 1995, and settled in Albuquerque. She volunteered her time with numerous organizations including Habitat for Humanity, and was a docent at the Albuquerque Art Museum. She loved Paris and everything French, visiting often after her retirement. Kludt is survived by three sons, Adam, Trevor, and Dudley.

Ralph “Robin” Carlyle Porter III, 89, died May 17, in Middlebury, Vt. Porter enlisted in the U.S. Navy reserve as a freshman at Washington and Lee University. He graduated from Rutgers University and was commissioned at Officer Candidate School in Newport in 1955. Later, in the reserves, he volunteered twice for duty in Vietnam on the aircraft carriers Midway and Ranger. He entered the Foreign Service in 1961, and was posted to Port-au-Prince, Manila, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Moscow, and he served in Kyiv, Ukraine in 1976. Porter retired from the Foreign Service in 1983 and earned a masters of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. He went on to restore historic houses, and served two terms in the Rhode Island State Senate, before being elected to the North Kingstown Town Council in 1998, 2000, and 2004. After retiring from politics, he became a leader in the Rhode Island anti-casino cause. He enjoyed reading, writing, gardening, and walking his Westies and Scotties. Porter was predeceased by his wife, Marsue as well as his first wife, Cynthia. He is survived by four children, Ralph, Christopher, Sarah, and William; two step-children, Laurisa, and Nicholas; eight grandchildren; a sister-in-law, and many other cousins, nieces, and nephews.


July 2022

Edward Allan Gallagher, 68, died May 13, in Arlington, Va. In 1976, Gallagher graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and earned a master’s degree from Georgetown University. During his military career, he attained command pilot status, and served as a senior planner and mission commander in Somalia and Haiti. He also served as an international political-military officer, a military liaison to Soviet forces in East Germany during the height of the Cold War, as senior European command officer for NATO, and Czech and Slovak country director at the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He concluded his military career in 2006, as the defense and air attaché to the Czech Republic, and retired at the rank of colonel. In 2007, Gallagher joined the Department of State as a Foreign Service officer. For 11 years, he served in multiple positions including director of the Branch Office in Banja Luka, director of the Branch Office in Douala, consular officer in Paris, and in the political-military section in Baghdad. He is survived by his wife, Julie; two children, Matthew and Caitlin; and two sisters, Jeannine, and Shirley. 

Wajat “Woody” Iqbal, 81, died Jan. 9, in Sarasota, Fla. Iqbal joined the Foreign Service in 1986. He served as a budget and fiscal officer in Lagos, general services officer in Brasilia, post management officer in Washington, and an administrative counselor in The Hague. He retired in 1997, and enjoyed reading books on U.S. and international history and foreign affairs, eating sushi, watching classic movies, and following the financial markets. Iqbal is survived by his wife of 46 years, Saundra; four children, Christina, Kimberly, Zain, and Alison; and a sister, Chand.

José “Tito” Ledda Nakpil, 69, died Jan. 20, in Germantown, Md. Born in the Manila-area of the Philippines, Nakpil graduated from the Notre Dame of Manila in 1969, and attended University of the Philippines, before he immigrated to the United States with his mother and siblings in 1971. He became a U.S. citizen in the late 1970s. He later received a B.S. and M.S. from Pennsylvania State University. Nakpil worked for IBM for 13 years before joining the Foreign Service. He served in Burkina Faso, Niger, Abu Dhabi, and in Washington. At his last post, he served as an information system officer, until he retired in August 2013. Nakpil enjoyed extreme sports such as motorbiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and hang gliding. He also loved reading, camping, traveling to all 50 U.S. states, and being a scoutmaster. Nakpil is survived by his wife, Aya; three sons, Jules, Sim, and Karl; three siblings; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Ryszard S. Olewnik, 52, died June 10, in Brentwood, Md. Olewnik joined the Department of State’s Bureau of Personnel (now Global Talent Management (GTM)) in 1989, where he served as a supervisory management analyst leading the Executive Office’s General Services Team. For more than three decades he was a critical cornerstone for GTM—keeping their management operation running smoothly. Olewnik is survived by his mother, Marianna; and a sister, Barbara.

Michael John Sears, 57, died March 2, in Richmond, Va. Following high school, Sears’ career began as a ceramics maker in Kibbutz Kfar Menachem, Israel, where he volunteered for 18 months. He later received a bachelor’s degree from Mount Hood Community College and from The University of Oregon. He also served as a county government reporter for the Napa Valley Register and a crime reporter for the Antioch Ledger-Dispatch. He joined the Department of State as a Foreign Service officer, and served at posts in Washington, Moldova, Moscow, Croatia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Sears is survived by his wife, Stela; three sons, Zachary, Alexander, and Gabriel; two siblings, Carolyn and Larry; and many other extended family members.


June 2022

John E. Hall, 81, died April 27, in The Villages, Fla. In 1963, Hall graduated from Ohio Northern University and, in 1970, received a degree from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine as an osteopathic physician. He served in family medicine until 1994, and then served in academic medicine. In 2001, he joined the Foreign Service as a regional medical officer and served at posts in Lagos, Beijing, and Cairo. He retired from the Department of State in 2006, and returned to academic medicine with a Duke University affiliated Family Practice Residency Program, where he served until 2015. Hall enjoyed traveling, sailing, golfing, bridge, and walking his many dogs. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Elizabeth; three children, Chiara, Amy, and Sean; and five grandchildren. 

Charles Stuart “Stu” Kennedy Jr., 92, died Jan. 3, in Falls Church, Va. Kennedy served in the U.S. Air Force’s intelligence branch during the Korean War. He joined the Foreign Service in 1955, and over the course of his 30 years of service, served at posts in seven countries across three continents. He served as consul general in Saigon during the Vietnam War, in Athens, Seoul, and was a principal officer in Naples. He retired from the Department of State in 1988. Kennedy founded and developed the Foreign Affairs Oral History Program of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training. He is survived by three children, Heather, Victoria, and Charles III; seven grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.


May 2022

Catherine Lichtblau, 97, died Feb. 10, in Rockville, Md. Lichtblau studied art and fabric design at Skidmore College and worked as an advertising copywriter in New York. When her husband George joined the Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research in 1952, she joined him in Washington. Together, they served at posts in Côte d’Ivoire, Korea, and Israel where Lichtblau pursued her lifelong interest in textiles. She exhibited her works in the Washington area, Korea, and Israel, was a weaver-in-residence at Glen Echo Park, and collaborated with a Washington-based couturier. Lichtblau is survived by two children, Julia and Marcus; and two grandchildren, Zoë and Gabriel. 

Azita Raji, 60, died Feb. 6, in Belvedere, Calif. Born in Iran, Raji completed high school in Switzerland, where she competed nationally as a downhill skier and chess player, before moving to the United States at the age of 17. She became a U.S. citizen in 1988. Raji received a B.A. from Barnard College, and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. In her early career, Raji served as an international investment banker, holding senior positions at J.P. Morgan & Co., Salomon Brothers, and Drexel Burnham. In 2012, Raji served as national finance vice-chair and chair of the swing state victory fund for the Obama campaign. She was a national advisory board member of the Democratic National Committee, a member of the Obama for America National Finance Committee, served on The President’s Commission on White House Fellows, and she was also appointed as a commissioner of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. In 2016, President Barack Obama appointed Raji as the first female U.S. ambassador to Sweden (and first Iranian-American to serve as a U.S. ambassador), a position she served in until January 2017. Raji is survived by her husband, Gary Syman; and five daughters.

Kenneth “Ken” Lee Stanley, 68, died Feb. 9, in Chantilly, Va. Stanley served in the U.S. Army, prior to entering the Foreign Service in 1985. He served at posts in Israel, India, Russia, Germany, and Thailand before retiring in 2008. Stanley then went to work for computer and technology companies CACI International, Inc. and the Science Applications International Corporation. He enjoyed history, travel, and spending time with his family. Stanley was survived by his wife, Tatyana; two children, Melinda and Valery; two sisters, Sherrie and Hope; and one grandson, Lucas.

Noella B. Taylor, 72, died Nov. 26, 2021, in Greenville, S.C. Taylor joined the Foreign Service and served for 22 years at posts in Moscow, Dublin, Stockholm, Brussels, and Luxembourg. She retired in 2014, and enjoyed traveling and reminiscing with her friends. Taylor is survived by her husband, William; and a daughter, Tracy.


May 2022

Catherine Lichtblau, 97, died Feb. 10, in Rockville, Md. Lichtblau studied art and fabric design at Skidmore College and worked as an advertising copywriter in New York. When her husband George joined the Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research in 1952, she joined him in Washington. Together, they served at posts in Côte d’Ivoire, Korea, and Israel where Lichtblau pursued her lifelong interest in textiles. She exhibited her works in the Washington area, Korea, and Israel, was a weaver-in-residence at Glen Echo Park, and collaborated with a Washington-based couturier. Lichtblau is survived by two children, Julia and Marcus; and two grandchildren, Zoë and Gabriel. 

Azita Raji, 60, died Feb. 6, in Belvedere, Calif. Born in Iran, Raji completed high school in Switzerland, where she competed nationally as a downhill skier and chess player, before moving to the United States at the age of 17. She became a U.S. citizen in 1988. Raji received a B.A. from Barnard College, and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. In her early career, Raji served as an international investment banker, holding senior positions at J.P. Morgan & Co., Salomon Brothers, and Drexel Burnham. In 2012, Raji served as national finance vice-chair and chair of the swing state victory fund for the Obama campaign. She was a national advisory board member of the Democratic National Committee, a member of the Obama for America National Finance Committee, served on The President’s Commission on White House Fellows, and she was also appointed as a commissioner of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. In 2016, President Barack Obama appointed Raji as the first female U.S. ambassador to Sweden (and first Iranian-American to serve as a U.S. ambassador), a position she served in until January 2017. Raji is survived by her husband, Gary Syman; and five daughters.

Kenneth “Ken” Lee Stanley, 68, died Feb. 9, in Chantilly, Va. Stanley served in the U.S. Army, prior to entering the Foreign Service in 1985. He served at posts in Israel, India, Russia, Germany, and Thailand before retiring in 2008. Stanley then went to work for computer and technology companies CACI International, Inc. and the Science Applications International Corporation. He enjoyed history, travel, and spending time with his family. Stanley was survived by his wife, Tatyana; two children, Melinda and Valery; two sisters, Sherrie and Hope; and one grandson, Lucas.

Noella B. Taylor, 72, died Nov. 26, 2021, in Greenville, S.C. Taylor joined the Foreign Service and served for 22 years at posts in Moscow, Dublin, Stockholm, Brussels, and Luxembourg. She retired in 2014, and enjoyed traveling and reminiscing with her friends. Taylor is survived by her husband, William; and a daughter, Tracy.

Mark Scott Watson, 50, died March 19, in Washington, D.C. In 2012, Watson joined the Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute where he worked in the School of Language Studies Spanish section. He served as director of the Mexico City Immersion Program from 2016-2020, and briefly in 2021 he worked in the Venezuelan Affairs Unit in Embassy Bogota. Most recently, he served in the School of Language Studies in the Curriculum and Staff Development Division. Watson enjoyed learning languages, salsa dancing, and traveling while immersing himself in new places and cultures. He is survived by his spouse, Roberto.


April 2022

Madeleine Albright, 84, died March 23, in Washington, D.C. Born in Prague, Albright emigrated to the United States in 1948. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1959, just two years after becoming a U.S. citizen. In 1962, she studied at John Hopkins University—but midway through moved with her family to New York where she continued her studies—receiving an M.A. and Ph.D—from Columbia University. Albright served on numerous education boards, which led her to organize a fundraiser for 1972 presidential candidate U.S. Senator Ed Muskie. This led to a position as his chief legislative associate, and in 1978, Albright was recruited to work as the National Security Council’s congressional liaison. In 1980, Albright was given a grant for a research project from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution. After that, she joined the academic staff at Georgetown University, directing the university’s program on women in global politics. She served as a Democratic Party foreign policy advisor, and was appointed by the Clinton Administration to handle the transition to a new administration at the National Security Council. In 1993, Albright served as ambassador to the United Nations, and in 1997, Albright was appointed as the 64th (and first female) secretary of state. Serving as secretary until 2001, Albright considerably influenced U.S. foreign policy in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and the Middle East and actively promoted the expansion of NATO and military intervention in Kosovo. After she left the Department of State, Albright was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She founded and served as chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group, served as a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, was part of Dentons Global Advisors, served as chair of Albright Capital Management, president of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, chair of the National Democratic Institute, chair of the U.S. Defense Policy Board, and was an author. Albright is survived by three daughters, Anne, Alice, and Katie; a sister; a brother; and six grandchildren.

Paul A. Bialecki, 71, died Oct. 19, 2021, in Madison, Wisc. From 1971-1975, Bialecki served in the U.S. Army where he was stationed in Amberg, Bayern, and Germany. He then graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. In March 1978, he joined the Foreign Service. During his career, he served in Ouagadougou, N’Djamena, Lilongwe, Port Louis, London, Seoul, Helsinki, and also had two tours of duty in Washington. He retired in April 2002 and served as a state information technology manager at the Wisconsin Chapter of the Nature Conservancy for 10 years. Bialecki was a member of the American Foreign Service Association. He enjoyed traveling, was an avid reader, and loved to journal. He also enjoyed spending time with his family, cooking, gardening, hiking in nature, and taking long walks with his Welsh Terriers, Toby and Finley. Bialecki is survived by his wife, Sally; a sister, Kathleen; many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Ellen Elizabeth Sartori, 94, died Jan. 31, in Washington, D.C. Sartori joined the Foreign Service as a secretary in 1962, and served for nearly three decades at posts in Somalia, Germany, Philippines, Lebanon, Paraguay, Ecuador, Panama, Holland, India, and Spain. She retired in 1990. In retirement, Sartori was devoted to her faith and lived at Little Sisters of the Poor in Washington for the last 15 years of her life. She is survived by a son, Anthony.


March 2022

Nelly Allegro, 86, died Dec. 3, 2021, in Tulsa, Okla. Allegro married her Foreign Service officer husband, James, in 1962. She joined him at posts in Managua, Lima, Kampala, Abidjan, Wellington, Guayaquil, Dusseldorf, Rome, and Montevideo. Allegro made friends at posts worldwide, was an avid reader, and spoke several languages. She is survived by four children, James Jr., Linda Grace, Frank, and John; and six grandchildren.

Dexter Anderson, 90, died Dec. 21, 2021, in Mystic, Conn. In 1953, Anderson received a B.A. from Yale University, and in the same year, enlisted in the U.S. Army, studying Russian at the Army Language School. In 1956, he married his childhood sweetheart and they spent a year in France while he studied at the University of Strasbourg on a Fulbright Scholarship. In 1957, he joined the Foreign Service and served at posts in West Germany, the USSR, Cameroon, and Switzerland. In 1986, he served with Voice of America in Washington, from which he retired in 1998. Anderson served as a volunteer radio operator at the Smithsonian, and also collected stamps and coins. He also enjoyed tutoring immigrants in English. He is survived by his wife, Nancy Ann; a sister-in-law; nieces; grand-nieces; and cousins.

Marshall “Joel” Kennedy Jr., 80, died Dec. 3, 2021, in Tarpon Springs, Fla. Kennedy joined the Department of State in 1970, serving as a diplomatic courier. He traveled the world, serving at posts in Thailand, Germany, and Bahrain. After 35 years with the Department, he retired in 2005 and moved to Florida. Kennedy volunteered at the Salvation Army soup kitchen and was a weekly Bingo player at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post. He was an avid golfer and volunteered at the voting polls and the Valspar golf tournament annually. He was also a mason and veteran of the U.S. Army. Kennedy is survived by his wife, Jeanne; three kids Katherine, Elizabeth, and Brett; and five grandchildren.

John Paul Modderno II, 79, died Jan. 8, in Washington, D.C. Modderno attended the University of Georgetown prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1969. He served as chargé d’affaires in Nicaragua, and at posts in Vietnam, and China. He retired as a senior Foreign Service officer in 1993. In retirement, he enjoyed auditing classes at Yale University, and attending online lectures. Modderno is survived by his wife, Jamie Patricia Horsley; and four children, Elizabeth, Anne, John Paul III, and Jane. 

James Harmon Morton, 84, died Nov. 19, 2021, in Eastport, Maine. Morton joined the Department of State in 1964. He served as a Foreign Service officer at posts in Luxembourg, Greece, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Washington. Morton was Cyprus desk officer and director of Greek Affairs. He served as a congressional fellow, served in the Office of Congressional Relations focusing on African affairs, and served as director of Junior Officer Training. He served in the Department’s Operations Center and in the secretariat staff under Secretary of State William P. Rogers. Morton retired in 1987, but returned to the Foreign Service Institute as a consultant, training foreign diplomats in Albania, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau. He loved to travel, and he particularly liked to engage in bird photography. Morton is survived by his wife, Colleen (a Foreign Service officer); two sons, David and Luke; a brother, Donald; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Joseph Presel, 79, died Dec. 19, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Presel joined the Foreign Service in 1963 upon graduation from Harvard College. He later continued his studies at St. Antony’s College at Oxford University. In a career spanning four decades, Presel specialized in Russian affairs and also worked extensively in multilateral diplomacy and political-military affairs. He served tours in Ankara, Paris, Moscow, Belgrade (as deputy chief of mission), and twice in the U.S. Arms Control Delegation in Vienna, the second time as deputy U.S. representative. In Washington, he served two assignments to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, as well as tours in the Bureaus of European and Eurasian Affairs, Political-Military Affairs, International Organizations, and Intelligence and Research. He also had several assignments in the offices of Department of State principals. In 1993, Presel became deputy to the coordinator of U.S. assistance to the New Independent States (NIS) and coordinator for NIS Regional Affairs. He was later named special negotiator for Nagorno-Karabakh with the rank of ambassador, and in 1997, he served as ambassador to the Republic of Uzbekistan. His last tour in the Foreign Service was as professor at the United States Naval War College in Newport. After retiring in 2003, Presel worked in the private sector and at the Central Intelligence Agency. He taught Russian history at the university level, and served on a number of boards of directors. In recent years, he had divided his time between Washington and Paris. Presel is survived by his wife, Claire-Lise. 


February 2022

Andres “Nato” Agan Jr., 83, died Aug. 30, in Sun City, Ariz. Agan entered the U.S. Air Force in 1956 and served until 1985. He then joined the Department of State as an information management specialist and served at posts in Bucharest, Beirut, and finally Helsinki before retiring in 2003. He then volunteered as a temporary duty communications rover. Agan was a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Sons of Norway, and many other organizations. He enjoyed traveling, drawing and oil painting, and performing magic. He is survived by a daughter Andrea; stepson Michael; and two grandchildren.

Jules Beaudoin, 85, died Nov. 14, in Reddick, Fla. Beaudoin received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine. He served in the U.S. Navy as a radio operator—including service during the Korean War and the Berlin Crisis of 1961. He joined the Department of State in 1974 as a security engineer officer, and served at numerous posts during his career, including Hong Kong, Thailand, Germany, Washington, Kenya, Morocco, and Miami. Beaudoin retired in 1998, and he enjoyed flying his Cessna 152, sailing, amateur radio, skiing, camping, gardening, and motorcycling. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Claudette. 

Joy-Lyn “Lynn Valley” Blake, 63, died April 13, in Ocean City, Wash. Blake joined the Foreign Service around 2008. She served in Addis Ababa, Kabul, Lahore, Luxembourg City, Ottawa, Paramaribo, Ankara, and most recently in Libya’s External Office where she was serving at the time of her death. Blake enjoyed theater and directing plays—including two plays that she directed at Embassy Kabul. She also enjoyed spinning raw wool into yarn. Blake is survived by her mother, Ann; and three siblings, Carol, Judith, and Daniel.

James “Jim” Blaine Davidson, died Nov. 29, in Rincon, Puerto Rico. While serving in the U.S. Navy, Davidson was stationed in Diego Garcia, Guam, and Taiwan. He then joined the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve in their International Affairs Office and later he worked for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, serving in Panama. In 1992, Davidson joined the Department of State, first as a civil servant, joining the Foreign Service two years later. He served as an information management officer in Peru, the Dominican Republic, Oman, Ecuador, the United Arab Emirates, Washington, and Venezuela. Davidson retired in 2014 and became an avid tennis player. He enjoyed the beach, surfing, and scuba diving. Davidson is survived by his wife, Josta; and daughter, Zoe.

Harald “Hal” G. Hoyesen, 73, died Nov. 5, 2021, in Santa Fe, N.M. Hoyesen joined the Foreign Service in 1976. During his career, he served at posts in Panama, Bangkok, Casablanca, and Rome. He retired in 1998, and went on to work for the energy company Halliburton and for  engineering company Kellogg, Brown, and Root. He officially retired in 2012. In retirement, Hoyesen spent time between his homes in Virginia and New Mexico, enjoying hiking, biking, gardening, and traveling. He is survived by his wife, Linda; a brother, Andrew; along with many nephews, and extended family members.

Carol Joan Mills, 83, died Dec. 7, 2021, in Bedford, Va. In 1958, Mills graduated from Potomac State College. She went on to work as a secretary at a law office and then began serving with Brethren Volunteer Services in Washington. She joined USAID, and served in Thailand and Laos prior to joining the Department of State where she served as secretary to ambassadors at various posts worldwide. Her career included tours in Nicaragua, Hungary, South Korea, and Australia. In retirement, she enjoyed traveling and reading. Mills was predeceased by her parents and three sisters. She is survived by seven nephews and nieces, Richard, Thomas, Mark, Stephanie, Jonathan, Elizabeth, and Matthew. 

Suzanne P. Nagy, 60, died Aug. 3, in Alexandria, Va. Nagy accompanied her husband Dan Tikvart, a current-Foreign Service officer, on assignments to South Korea and Colombia, providing crucial support on the home front while he was assigned twice in Afghanistan. She began a 30-year long career serving her country with the U.S. Government Accountability Office and as a civilian for the U.S. Army, most recently with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She also worked for the United Nations in Geneva and Vienna. In 2013, she earned her master’s degree from the National War College. Nagy was known for her sage advice to young professionals in the service. She is survived by her husband, Dan.

Daniel Patrick Sheerin, 62, died Dec. 12, in College Park, Md. In 1981, Sheerin joined the Department of State as an intern in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs after graduating from Pennsylvania State University. He served in various capacities during his 40-year career with the Department, most recently as division chief of the Bureau of Information Resource Management’s Diplomatic Innovation Division in the Office of eDiplomacy. He retired this past September. Sheerin was an active soccer coach, swim team parent, Irish historian, avid Celtic F.C. soccer fan, poet, and Bruce Springsteen enthusiast. In 2008, he received a master’s degree from the U.S. War College. Sheerin is survived by his wife of 34-years, Sharon; and three children, Catherine, Daniel, and Patrick.

Kenneth Nordley Skoug Jr., 90, died Dec. 5, in Harleysville, Pa. In 1953, Skoug received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College, followed by a master’s degree and Ph.D. from The George Washington University. Skoug served in the U.S. Army prior to entering the Foreign Service in 1957. He served at posts in Germany, Mexico, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, two tours in Venezuela—one tour which he served as chargé d’affaires, and four tours in Washington. Skoug retired in 1990, and went on to publish two books. He enjoyed running, walking his dogs, bird watching, and reading. Skoug was predeceased by his wife of 50 years, Martha. He is survived by two children, Reed and Kenneth; and five grandchildren.


January 2022

Milburn “Gil” Garland Butler, 85, died Oct. 10, in Waldorf, Md. After a brief stint in the U.S. Army, Butler attended college in Colorado, then transferred to the University of Florida. After he graduated, Butler worked as a disc jockey eventually landing in roles in radio and television, first in Tampa, Fla., then Detroit, Mich., and finally in Washington where he served as a White House correspondent for the local CBS affiliate. In 1978, Butler joined the United States Information Agency’s Voice of America where he spent three decades covering 68 countries and serving abroad in Cairo, Beirut, Beijing, London, as well as in Washington. In retirement, Butler spent many years on a small horse farm in Accokeek, Md., tending to the farm, gardening, and spending time with his grandchildren. He enjoyed reading, and was a passionate follower of government and politics. He is survived by his wife, Judith; three children, John, Peter, and Melinda; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Rachel Leigh Jordan, 47, died Sept. 21, in Durham, N.C. Jordan attended school in Washington prior to joining the Department of State. She served for 20 years, retiring in 2011 from her position in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Jordan relocated to Fayetteville, N.C. and enjoyed event planning, home décor, and acquiring unique items. Jordan is survived by her parents, John Jr., and Gloria; two children, Briana and Michael; a sister, Cecile; many aunts, including Shirley (fellow Department employee); two nieces; two god-sisters; and many uncles and cousins. 

Richard Lee Marx, 87, died Oct. 16, in Newnan, Ga. Upon graduation from University of Colorado, Marx enlisted in the U.S. Army. After serving a tour in Korea, he joined the Foreign Service and worked in New York City and Panama. He became a diplomatic courier in November 1963, and he served at posts in Frankfurt, Manila, Panama, Washington, and Bangkok. He retired in 1992. In retirement he enjoyed traveling, and outdoor work. He is survived by his wife of nearly 54 years, Joanne (a retired Foreign Service member), and a daughter, Joanna.

Dorothy Robins Mowry, 99, died July 6, in St. Michaels, Md. Mowry received a B.A. from the College of Wooster, and M.A. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from New York University. She joined the United States Information Agency in 1963, and served for almost 20 years in various roles including counselor, first secretary and reserve officer; policy officer/acting director for the Office of North African, Near Eastern, and South Asian Affairs; country officer for India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka; and program manager for U.S. Political and Social Processes Information Center Services. She also served as a cultural attaché in Tehran, and cultural programs officer in Tokyo. She retired in 1984, and was involved with the Talbot River Protection Association, St. Michaels Community Center Board, Riverview Garden Club, and supported youth sailing programs at the Miles River Yacht Club. Mowry was predeceased by her husband, David, and a daughter, Sarah. She is survived by two children, Lynn and Thomas; six grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren, a niece, and a nephew.

Thomas “Tom” J. Wallis, 58, died May 1, in Miami, Fla. Wallis attended Virginia Tech, and the National Defense Intelligence College. He obtained the rank of Staff Sergeant for his service in the U.S. Army, and served in Iraq. Wallis joined the Foreign Service in 2001 as a consular officer and served at posts in Jamaica, Germany, Belize, Malawi, and Peru. He is survived by his wife, Monica; his parents; and three brothers.

Connie Rae Helen Poli, 77, died Oct. 31, in Orlando, Fla. After graduating from high school, Poli began working for 3M and trained as a missionary where she was assigned a position in Seoul in the early 1970s. She then moved back to the U.S., where she studied nursing, eventually moving to Washington and joining the staff of Vice President Walter Mondale. She later moved to Honolulu where she finished her studies at the University of Hawaii in 1982. In 1986, she joined the Department of State serving in Nassau, and was quickly reassigned to Santiago. During her career, she served at posts in Panama, Bonn, Hanoi, Amman, Bangkok, Washington, and Brussels. She retired and moved to Ajijic, Mexico, and made frequent trips to Thailand and Southeast Asia during the winter months. In 2015, she and her husband moved to Arizona, and finally settled in Saint Cloud, Fla. She enjoyed yoga, meditation, reading, line dancing, walking, and traveling. Poli is survived by her husband of 35 years, Charles.

Brian William Wilson, 62, died June 12, in Fairfax, Va. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University in 1983, Wilson taught middle school English and drama. He joined the Foreign Service in 1985 and served in London, Belfast, Ciudad Juárez, Guatemala, and San Jose, as well as assignments in Washington. He served in the senior Foreign Service in the Bureau of Neareaster and Asian Affairs Executive Office, Bureau of Global Talent Management’s Office of Career Development and Assignments, director of Entry Level Career Development, and most recently as the executive director for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and Bureau of International Organization Affairs. Wilson enjoyed hiking, cycling, golfing, kayaking, and was an active community volunteer. He is survived by his wife, Julia; and two children, Peter and Grace.


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 StateMagazine@state.gov.

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