The Foreign Service Journal - March 2017
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MARCH 2017



Martin-Donley of Houston, Texas; his

brother and family, William, Linda and

Justin Martin of Manvel, Texas; and his

sister and family, Nancy, Matthew and

Stacy Matula of Atlanta, Ga., San Antonio,

Texas, and Houston.

Donations in Mr. Martin’s memory

can be made to Planned Parenthood, the

American Civil Liberties Union or the

National Brain Tumor Society.


Vernon “Ray” Meininger,

66, a

retired Foreign Service officer and the

husband of FSO Laurie Meininger, died

unexpectedly on Nov. 4, 2016, in Free-

town, Sierra Leone.

Mr. Meininger was born on Aug. 18,

1950, in Wickenburg, Ariz., and grew up in

Northern California. He graduated from

Piner High School in Santa Rosa, Calif.,

and volunteered for service in the U.S.

Army in 1968, serving in Vietnam.

He received his B.S. in facilities engi-

neering from Pacific Western University.

In 1974, Mr. Meininger married Laurie


He worked for several years in hospital

administration and facilities management

in California, Hawaii and Arizona until

1999, when he and his wife joined the

Foreign Service as a tandem couple with

the State Department.

Mr. Meininger served abroad in the

Marshall Islands, Cameroon, Guyana,

the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

Romania, Iraq and the Central African

Republic, managing embassy facilities in

those countries.

He retired from the Foreign Service in

2015 after receiving numerous Superior

Honor Awards and other recognition for

his service. He then accompanied Mrs.

Meininger on her assignment to Sierra

Leone. There, he was consulting with the

United Nations on rehabilitating health

care centers that had been devastated by

the Ebola outbreak of 2014-2015.

Friends and family members recall

that Mr. Meininger made friends wher-

ever he went; always with good cheer, a

broad grin, witty humor and kindness.

He was a true gentleman and diplomat,

and a funny and prolific writer. He lived

a life full of love, laughter and adventure,

and was never without a handkerchief in

his back pocket.

Mr. Meininger enjoyed teaching his

craft to local staff, being the community

grandpa or playing Santa Claus at embas-

sies, orphanages and hospitals around the

world, dispensing hugs and small gifts with

a “Ho Ho Ho” and a twinkle in his eye.

He is survived by his wife, Laurie, and

her family; their son, Jason, and daughter-

in-law, Deven; grandchildren, Jordan and

Travis; his mother, Vi Nordman; his broth-

ers Rick, Greg, Gary and TomMeininger,

and their families; and numerous cousins.


Chester Edward Norris Jr.,

88, a

retired Foreign Service officer of Lamoine,

Maine, and Naples, Fla., died on Nov. 15,

2016, in Naples after a brief illness.

Mr. Norris was born on Dec. 1, 1927,

in Winterport, Maine. He graduated from

Winterport High School and the Univer-

sity of Maine at Orono.

Early in his life Mr. Norris worked

alongside his father, brother and uncle

in the family businesses including car

dealerships, real estate holdings, a small

public utility and a construction company.

Mr. Norris joined the Foreign Service in

1968, with guidance from the late Senator

Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine).

His first posting was as commercial

attaché to Tel Aviv, where he met his future

wife, Ulla. Assignments to Sydney, Lon-

don, Jeddah, Lagos and the U.S. Mission to

the United Nations in New York followed.

He was selected to attend the National

War College, class of 1976.

In March 1988, President Ronald Rea-

gan appointed Mr. Norris U.S. ambassador

to Equatorial Guinea. His tenure there

saw the first contracts negotiated between

American energy interests and Equato-

rial Guinea, starting a process that would

transform one of the poorest countries in

Africa into a major gas and oil producer.

Ambassador Norris retired from the

Foreign Service at the end of 1990. He was

subsequently approached by Houston-

based Walter International to represent it

as a consultant in Equatorial Guinea.

This eventually led to Mr. Norris’ third

career, working for a succession of oil

companies like CMS Nomeco and Mara-

thon Oil. In recognition of his contribu-

tions to the energy industry, in 2000 a

methanol tanker was christened “Ambas-

sador Norris” in the town of Beppu, Japan.

Aman of great wit and humor, Amb.

Norris often regaled family and friends

with reminiscences of early family life

in Maine and adventures abroad, such

as driving a motor home from Jeddah to

Athens with his wife and a good friend.

Although he traveled the world, he

found the most joy in time spent at his

home on the coast of Maine, where he

watched the deer and the eagles in the

company of his wife and his two little


For many years Amb. Norris served on

the board of the Maine Seacoast Mission,

in Bar Harbor, an organization that has

served the needy along the coast of Maine

for more than 100 years and for which he

cared deeply.

Amb. Norris is survived by his wife,

Ulla; a brother and sister in Maine; and

many nephews and nieces in Sweden and



WilliamAndrew “Andy” Oster-


66, a former Foreign Service officer,

died suddenly on Sept. 3, 2016.