The Foreign Service Journal - March 2014 - page 61

MARCH 2014
ests, and established strong relationships
with South Africans of all races and
political persuasions.
After returning from South Africa in
1981, Mr. Edmondson was assigned to
the Office of the Inspector General in the
State Department, eventually serving as
deputy inspector general. On retirement
in 1986, he received the Wilbur J. Carr
Award (the Secretary of State’s career
service award), which read in part as
“. . .You have provided a model of ded-
ication to duty, of careful, sure judgment,
of ready acceptance of responsibility,
and of personal and ethical involvement
in public decisions. You have influenced
American policy toward southern Africa,
and you have earned the respect and
admiration of your colleagues in the
Foreign Service of the United States.”
In retirement, Mr. Edmondson was
president of Diplomatic & Consular Offi-
cers, Retired and served as a volunteer
at the Library of Congress in Washington
for 10 years. In 2008, he and his wife
moved from their home in Arlington, Va.,
to Prescott, Ariz.
Mr. Edmondson is survived by his
wife of 62 years, Donna Edmondson, of
Prescott; his daughter, Barbara Schnei-
der (and her husband, Richard) of
Prescott; his son, Paul Edmondson (and
his wife, Susan) of Washington, D.C.; and
four grandchildren: Aaron Schneider,
Katie Schneider, and Michael and Masha
Thomas L. Forbes
, 78, a retired
Foreign Service specialist, died on Dec.
8 at his home in Burke, Va., of natural
Mr. Forbes was born in Nevada, Iowa.
He faithfully served his country for 31
years, first with the U.S. Navy from 1953 to
1957 and then with the State Department.
William B. Edmondson
, 86, a
retired Foreign Service officer and
former U.S. ambassador to South Africa,
died on Dec. 5 in Prescott, Ariz.
Mr. Edmondson was born in St.
Joseph, Mo., in 1927, but spent his for-
mative years in Nebraska. He joined the
army on graduating from high school in
1944, and served for three years, reach-
ing the rank of first lieutenant.
After leaving the army he attended
the University of Nebraska, where he
graduated with high distinction and was
a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In 1951, he
earned a master’s degree in international
affairs at the Fletcher School of Law and
Diplomacy in Boston, and later that
same year married the former Donna
Kiechel, whom he had met at the Univer-
sity of Nebraska.
Mr. Edmondson joined the Foreign
Service in 1952, and in 1953 left for his
first overseas assignment as vice consul
in Tanganyika (now Tanzania). In 1955
he was assigned to Bern for two years,
after which he returned to the United
States and took up African area studies
at Northwestern University. He subse-
quently served in Ghana, Zambia and
South Africa, as well as in various offices
at the Department of State in Washing-
ton, D.C.
In 1978 President Jimmy Carter
appointed Mr. Edmondson as ambas-
sador to the Republic of South Africa.
The assignment came at a time of
major political and social upheaval in
that country. Given the U.S. govern-
ment’s condemnation of South Africa’s
apartheid laws and its support for civil
rights and democratic reform, tensions
between the host government and the
Carter administration were high.
Despite these challenging circum-
stances, Mr. Edmondson actively and
effectively represented American inter-
He joined the Foreign Service in 1957
and retired in 1985, serving as a commu-
nications officer in Asuncion, Copen-
hagen, Algiers, Saigon, Cairo, Reykjavik,
Tokyo, Belgrade, Rome and Washington,
D.C. After retiring from federal service,
he worked as an office manager from
1985 to 1995.
Mr. Forbes’ family remembers him as
a devoted father and grandfather.
He was preceded in death by his
brother, Daniel Forbes of Iowa. He is
survived by his daughter, Rosette (and
her husband, Paul) Farello of Chantilly,
Va., and her mother, Thu Barnes of Pinel-
las Park, Fla.; two brothers, Timothy (and
his wife, Alberta) of Texas, and Joel (and
his wife, Kathy) of Iowa; his sister-in-law,
Annette Forbes of Iowa; and three grand-
children: Natalie, Benjamin and Allison.
In lieu of flowers, memorial dona-
tions may be made to VITAS Innovative
Hospice Care (
Nancy Keeney Forster
, 85, an
educator and wife of the late FSO Clifton
Forster, died on Nov. 13 in Belvedere,
Mrs. Forster was born in Grand Rap-
ids, Mich., to Catherine Baldwin Keeney
and Roger B. Keeney. She attended the
Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pa., and
then headed west to study history at
Stanford University. Before starting col-
lege, she traveled around Europe, spend-
ing much of the time in Paris to improve
her French.
While at Stanford, she met and mar-
ried Clifton Forster, who was born and
raised in the Philippines and was attend-
ing Stanford on the G.I. Bill. In 1949 the
couple moved to the Philippines, where
Mrs. Forster completed her bachelor’s
degree in Asian history from Stanford.
In 1953, she and her husband, who
had entered the Foreign Service, moved
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