THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Norman Lee Achilles,
79, a retired
FSO, died on Jan. 27 in Washington, D.C.
He had Parkinson’s disease.
Mr. Achilles was born in Pittsburgh,
Pa., on May 12, 1935, to Christy and Ida
Ann Achilles. He received a B.S. in civil
engineering from Carnegie Mellon Uni-
versity in 1957, an M.A. from the Univer-
sity of Edinburgh in 1961 and an MBA
fromHarvard University in 1962.
He also attended the Foundation
Nationale des Sciences Politiques in
Paris in 1965 and 1966. Later, Mr. Achilles
returned to Harvard and completed a
master of public administration degree
Mr. Achilles joined the Foreign
Service in 1963 and served in Vientiane,
Hue and Saigon as a political officer. He
later served in Japan and Australia as
an economic officer, and in France and
During his Foreign Service career,
Mr. Achilles participated in the State
Department’s Federal-Private program,
serving in a private-sector assignment
at IBM’s American Far East Corpora-
tion in New York City. There he advised
senior managers on issues involving
Japan and helped them better under-
stand how the State Department oper-
ates to help U.S. companies compete in
Following retirement in 1994, Mr.
Achilles spent a year as a scholar in resi-
dence at the WoodrowWilson School at
Princeton University, and for many years
was a visiting fellow at the Foundation
Nationale des Sciences Politiques. He
maintained an apartment on the Isle de
France in Paris for many years.
Mr. Achilles served as a docent at
Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown and
loved introducing visitors to the house
and gardens. He was a member of the
American Foreign Service Association
and a generous supporter of the Senior
Living Foundation of the American For-
Donations in his memory may be
made to the Senior Living Foundation,
1716 N Street NW, Washington DC 20036,
or to the Sarah Heinz House, 1 Heinz
Street, Pittsburgh PA 15212.
Opal Garnet Branch,
100, a retired
Foreign Service consular officer, died on
Ms. Branch was born in Marion
County, Mo., on March 26, 1914, to
Samuel and Della (Pendleton) Branch.
She graduated fromMonroe City High
School and received a two-year teacher’s
certificate. She went on to attend Kirks-
ville State Teacher’s College and gradu-
ated from Chillicothe Business College.
Ms. Branch taught school in Marion
County and worked in the private sector
in Kansas City, Mo., for several years
before entering government service in
From September 1942 to March 1946
she was employed by the War Depart-
ment at Fort Riley, Kan., as an assistant
to General George S. Patton, and was in
charge of the officers’ training courses.
While there, she also served as a Red
Cross nurse’s aide at the hospital in Junc-
tion City, Kan.
Ms. Branch accepted a transfer to the
Navy Department in San Diego, Calif., as
assistant to Admiral Calvin T. Durgin until
her appointment to the Foreign Service in
Her posts abroad included Ankara,
London, Oslo, Fukuoka, Tokyo and Paris.
Ms. Branch had numerous adventures
and met many dignitaries and celebri-
ties during her years overseas. She loved
traveling by ship and enjoyed dining and
dancing on board. She once got lost in
the London fog and was rescued by a
bobby. While in Norway, she learned to
ski and was invited as a special guest to
attend the opening of Parliament.
Ms. Branch was an active member
of Beta Sigma Phi, the international
professional and cultural society. While
in London, she represented her chapter
at the opening ceremony at St. George’s
Guild Hall at Kings Lynn, England. She
was presented to the mother of Queen
Elizabeth II and had her name inscribed
on a chair in Guild Hall.
In 1961, Ms. Branch was posted to the
Department of State, where she served
until her retirement from the Foreign
Service in 1974. She received the War
Department Meritorious Service Award
and the State Department Meritorious
and Superior Honors Awards.
Ms. Branch was involved in vari-
ous activities in the Washington area
including planning for the annual Cherry
Blossom Festival, addressing presidential
Christmas cards at the White House and,
on several occasions, meeting presidents,
first ladies and their guests.
Ms. Branch served as vice president
of the Missouri Society, was a member of
AFSA and the oldest member of DACOR.
A deaconess of National City Christian
Church, she served on its Welcoming and
Reception Committee for many years.
Ms. Branch is survived by her sister,
Norma Jean King of Urbana, Ill., and 10
nieces and nephews: Hal Callaway of
Mesa, Ariz.; Stanley Branch of Normal,
Ill.; Eric Branch and Curtis Branch of
Peoria, Ill.; Kirby Branch of Indianapo-
lis, Ind.; Craig Branch of Haslet, Texas;
Melody Drew of Girard, Ill.; Mark King of
Sun City West, Ariz.; Kelligay King Crede
of Urbana, Ill.; and Matthew King of West
Memorial gifts in her name may be
made to DACOR or National City Chris-
tian Church in Washington, D.C.