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64
FEBRUARY 2013
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
IN MEMORY
n
Jerine Newhouse Bird.
, 86, the wife
of retired FSO Eugene Bird, died on Dec.
13 after a 15-month battle with peritoneal
cancer. A longtime resident of Washington,
D.C., Bird was a perennial activist and lob-
byist for Middle East peace.
Born in Portland, Ore., in 1926, Jerine
(“Jerri”) B. Newhouse grew up in Eugene,
Ore. A graduate of the University of
Oregon, she married Eugene H. Bird, a
Foreign Service ofcer and an Arabist,
in 1948. Over the next three decades, the
couple lived in Stockholm, Washington,
D.C., Jerusalem, Beirut, Dhahran, Cairo,
Bombay, NewDelhi, Jeddah and Riyadh.
Te extensive experience in the Middle
East had a profound efect on Jerri Bird.
On the eve of the October 1956 Suez War,
the Birds were stationed in East Jerusalem.
“For some reason, the ‘incidents’ have
beenmore numerous and the ‘reprisals’
very heavy,” she wrote to her parents in
Oregon. “Neither side is ‘right,’ but Israel’s
policy of retaliation simply keeps the fre
going. It is openly acknowledged that for
every (Israeli) life lost in a border incident,
the Israelis will kill in return and usually
many, many more. An eye for an eye has
turned into 12 for one or better.”
Teir son, Pulitzer Prize-winning histo-
rian Kai Bird, later wrote about their life in
his memoir,
Crossing MandelbaumGate:
Coming of Age Between the Arabs and
Israelis, 1956-1978
(Scribner, 2011).
After her husband’s retirement, Mrs.
Birdmoved back toWashington, D.C.
Tere she became active in the Episcopal
Church’s Washington Interfaith Alli-
ance for Middle East Peace and, in 1989,
founded Partners for Peace.
As the group’s president, she organized
an innovative program that brought “Tree
Women from Jerusalem” to tour American
cities several times a year. She reached
out to audiences in synagogues, churches
and universities through this program to
explain the complexities of the Palestinian-
Israeli confict.
Bird chose the three women—a Jewish
Israeli, a MuslimPalestinian and a Chris-
tian Palestinian—for each 10-city tour.
Te three women usually were strangers
to each other; Bird’s only prerequisite for
their participation was that they all had to
agree that the city of Jerusalem should be
shared among the three faiths.
Over more than two decades, thou-
sands of Americans heard these Jerusalem
women debate a two-state solution to the
Middle East confict. “I wanted ordinary
women to speak to ordinary people in
America,” Bird told the
Baltimore Jewish
Times
in 1998. “I felt that the voices not
being heard were the women, the human
voices. I felt Americans would respond to
it.”
Jerri Bird was known to her family and
friends as a strongly opinionated, sharp-
tongued advocate. “She was a great lady
with a strong conscience,” said Charles
Glass, ABC News’ former chief Middle East
correspondent. “She tried to undo some
of the harmour country has done to the
Palestinians.”
A trainedmusician, Bird once sang in
a production of “Te Sound of Music”
in
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She played the part
of Mother Superior.
She later wrote magazine articles for
Te Foreign Service Journa
l and contrib-
uted an essay on Saudi women to an
anthology edited by ElizabethWarnock
Fernea,
Children of the MuslimMiddle East
(University of Texas Press, 1995).
Her family was most important to
her; and her grandchildren, in particular,
brought her the greatest joys in the last
years of her life.
Jerine Bird is survived by her husband,
Eugene; their children, daughter and son-
in-law Christina and RodrigoMacaya, son
and daughter-in-law Kai Bird and Susan
Goldmark, daughter and son-in-lawNancy
Bird and Karl Becker, and daughter and
son-in-law Shelly Bird and Jonathan Ely;
grandchildren Lisa and Lya Macaya, Jason
and Daniel Macaya, Joshua Goldmark Bird
and Jonathan Ely; and her sister, Nadine.
At her request, the family asks that
memorial donations be sent to the Middle
East Children’s Alliance
(www.mecafor
peace.org),
1101 8th St., Suite 100, Berkeley
CA 94710, or to the American Friends of
the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem
(www.
afedj.org),
25 Old King’s Highway No.,
Suite 13, Darien CT 06820.
n
James Franklin Brackman
, 86, a
retired FSO, died on Nov. 22 at Fairfax Hos-
pital in Fairfax, Va., after a long illness. He
was a longtime resident of Alexandria, Va.
Born in Neola, W. Va., in 1926, Mr.
Brackman served in the U.S. Army from
1945 to 1946 and received an honorable
discharge. He completed a bachelor of
science degree in fnance and accounting
fromWest Virginia Tech in 1950.
In 1952, Mr. Brackman joined the
United States Foreign Service and began
a diplomatic career as a budget and fscal
ofcer spanning 39 years. His frst post
was Bonn, where he helped administer the
Marshall Plan. He then served in Bogotá.
At his third post, in Amman, he met his
wife, Stella Scouros, whomhe married in
1958.
Te couple subsequently served in
Caracas, Karachi, Budapest, Asunción,
Belgrade (in the former Yugoslavia),
Kinshasa, Cairo and Beijing. He loved the
Foreign Service and thrived at every post
by immersing himself in the culture and
the new experiences that each ofered.
Sent to East Pakistan in 1971, he helped
with the evacuation of American citizens
during the Bangladesh independence
struggle. Earlier, he was a member of the
control team in Karachi during the 1962