THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Marianne Collins Ahlgren,
wife of retired FSO Charles Ahlgren, died
on Oct. 8 in Providence, R.I., after a long
struggle with the rare disease amyloido-
Mrs. Ahlgren was born in Oak Park,
Ill., on Oct. 3, 1937. After graduating from
Siena High School in Chicago, she joined
the Sisters of Mercy and attended St. Xavier
College, earning her B.S. in education and
speech. She went on to teach at several
parochial schools in the Chicago area.
During her summers, Mrs. Ahlgren
completed a master’s degree in audiol-
ogy from the University of Illinois. She
went on to teach at St. Xavier’s, where
she started a clinic for deaf children in
the wake of a rubella epidemic that swept
the Chicago area. She later worked as an
audiologist at Michael Reese Hospital in
Chicago, Riverside Hospital in California
and Gallaudet University in Washington,
After marrying, she accompanied her
husband to the U.S. embassy in Singa-
pore, where she taught at the American
School and gave birth to the couple’s two
children, Ingrid andTheodore. She joined
her husband in subsequent postings to
South Africa, New Zealand, Thailand and
Wherever she lived abroad, Mrs.
Ahlgren actively worked with the poor;
she helped women in the teeming camps
outside Cape Town and victims of sexual
trafficking in Chiang Mai. Her greatest
love, however, was for the deaf. She was
a leader in deaf education and linguistics
While in New Zealand, Mrs. Ahlgren
received a Ph.D. in applied linguistics
from Victoria University in Wellington.
Her dissertation discussed New Zealand
Sign Language as a full-fledged language,
with a large vocabulary of signs and a
consistent grammar. As a consequence,
NZSL was recognized, along with Maori,
as an official language of New Zealand.
She authored numerous articles in sci-
entific journals and wrote sign language
versions of children’s books such as
After the couple retired to Rhode
Island in 1999, Mrs. Ahlgren worked at
the Rhode Island School for the Deaf and
was an active volunteer in many charita-
ble organizations, including the Scandi-
navian Home and the Great Strides Cystic
Mrs. Ahlgren was predeceased by her
parents, Timothy and Lucille Collins of
Chicago, Ill. She is survived by her hus-
band, Charles; daughter, Ingrid of New
York, N.Y.; son, Theodore of Hamden,
Conn.; and granddaughter, Annika Liu.
The family requests that any memo-
rial contributions be made to the Senior
Living Foundation at 1716 N Street NW,
Washington DC 20036-2902.
Natale H. Bellocchi,
retired FSO and former ambassador to
Botswana, died on Nov. 17 at his home in
Bethesda, Md., of heart disease.
Mr. Bellocchi was born in Little Falls,
N.Y. He earned a bachelor’s degree in
engineering from the Georgia Institute
of Technology in 1948. He worked as an
industrial engineer at the Burlington
Mills Corporation for two years before
serving as a U.S. Army infantry officer in
Korea from 1950 to 1953.
In 1954, he received a master’s degree
from the Edmund A. Walsh School of
Foreign Service at Georgetown Univer-
sity. He began his Foreign Service career
in 1955 as a diplomatic courier, with
postings to Frankfurt and Manila from
1955 to 1959.
He was posted to Hong Kong as a gen-
eral services assistant in 1960, and two
years later was transferred to Vientiane
and commissioned as an FSO.
Detailed to the Foreign Service Insti-
tute Field School in Taichung in 1963 to
study Chinese, he was then assigned to
Taipei as a commercial officer. In 1968
Mr. Bellocchi returned to Hong Kong as a
commercial affairs officer.
He was then detailed to the U.S.
Agency for International Development
and sent to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh
City), where he worked for 18 months,
before being assigned to Tokyo as, suc-
cessively, commercial officer and coun-
selor for commercial affairs.
In 1974 Mr. Bellocchi was selected for
the Senior Seminar. A year later he was
detailed to the Treasury Department to
focus on developments in Asia. Postings
followed in New Delhi as an economic
counselor and Hong Kong as a deputy
He returned to Washington, D.C., in
1981 to serve as deputy assistant secre-
tary in the Bureau of Intelligence and
Research. In 1985, President Ronald Rea-
gan appointed Mr. Bellocchi ambassador
to Botswana, where he served until 1988.
Five years later, President George H.W.
Bush appointed Amb. Bellocchi to chair
the Board of the American Institute in
Taiwan. During what he described as “the
most difficult and historic journey” of his
life, he accompanied Taiwan President
Lee Teng-hui to the United States.
Pres. Lee was denied permission to
meet with the Chinese-American com-
munity in Honolulu and allowed to visit
Cornell University, his alma mater, only
after members of Congress pressed the
administration. Beijing responded to the
visit by firing missiles to ratchet up ten-
sions in the Taiwan Strait.
After retiring in 1995, Amb. Bellocchi
continued to follow Taiwan develop-
ments closely and advocated increased
international agency and U.S. govern-