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56
F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / M A Y 2 0 1 2
I
N
M
EMORY
Helga W. Bligh
, 75, the wife of re-
tired Senior Foreign Service officer
JohnW. (Jack) Bligh Jr., died onMarch
25 in Manlius, N.Y.
Born Helga Margarete Wollesen in
1937 in Revensdorf, Germany, Mrs.
Bligh was a graduate gymnastics teach-
er and taught in Bad Hermannsborn
before emigrating to the United States
in early adulthood. She worked for a
year as an au pair in Philadelphia be-
fore traveling to California, and then
returned to live and work for another
year in New York City.
After returning to Europe, she tu-
tored children in Paris andMadrid be-
fore working as chief administrative
assistant for a major trade association
in Duesseldorf, where she met her fu-
ture husband. The couple married in
1979.
Accompanying her husband on his
Foreign Service assignments in Spain,
Canada, Germany and Australia, Mrs.
Bligh worked for U.S. embassies and
consulates in Barcelona, Madrid, Ot-
tawa and Bonn. She received the State
Department’s Meritorious Honor
Award in 1990 for her success in ob-
taining visas for the travel of American
diplomatic and military personnel to
sensitive regions of the world, espe-
cially during the Persian Gulf War.
In 1994, Mrs. Bligh received recog-
nition for distinguished service from
the U.S. Department of Justice Office
of Special Investigations for her contri-
butions to the pursuit of war criminals.
Following Mr. Bligh’s retirement
from the Foreign Service, the couple
resided for three years in Germany,
then moved to the U.S. for family rea-
sons in 1999. Helga spoke French,
Spanish and Russian, in addition to
English and her native German, and
she traveled widely throughout the
United States and the world.
In addition to her husband, who re-
sides inManlius, Mrs. Bligh is survived
by the children she loved as her own:
Col. Edward W. (Christine) Bligh,
USMC, of Stuttgart, Germany; Col.
David J. (Mechelle) Bligh, USMC, of
Chesapeake, Va.; and Juliana Bligh, of
Saginaw, Mich.; and their children:
William, Robert J., Chelsea, Sydnie,
Zachary, Robert W. and Ryan.
Richard Wood Boehm
, 85, a re-
tired Foreign Service officer and for-
mer ambassador, died on Nov. 8, 2011,
in Bethesda, Md., of chronic obstruc-
tive pulmonary disease.
Mr. Boehm was born on June 25,
1926, in Queens, N.Y., to Kathryn and
Charles Boehm. He was valedictorian
of the class of 1943 at Jamaica High
School. He then served in the Third
Armored Tank division of the U.S.
Army during World War II and was in
Germany on V-E Day.
After the war, Mr. Boehm attended
Adelphi College on the GI Bill and
earned a bachelor’s degree in English.
There he met Patricia Ann Lynch of
Rockville Center, N.Y., whom he mar-
ried in 1949.
In 1955 Mr. Boehm started his ca-
reer as a Foreign Service officer with
an assignment at the Department of
State in Washington, D.C. His first
overseas tour was as vice consul in
what was then the U.S. protectorate of
Okinawa. He then served at the U.S.
Mission in West Berlin during the
Berlin Wall crisis.
In Luxembourg, Mr. Boehm was
deputy chief of mission to Ambassador
Patricia Roberts Harris, who was later
Secretary of Housing and Urban De-
velopment during the Carter adminis-
tration. Mr. Boehm went on to serve
two tours in Ankara, as political coun-
selor from 1971 to 1974 and, later, as
DCM. He also served as political-mil-
itary counselor in Bangkok and as
DCM in Kathmandu.
Mr. Boehm served as ambassador
to Cyprus from 1984 through 1987,
and as ambassador to Oman during the
Persian Gulf War. On retiring from
the Foreign Service in 1992, Amb.
Boehm received the State Depart-