THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
U.S. embassy in Taiwan in 1963 as politi-
cal and commercial officer, returning to
Washington again in 1966 to serve suc-
cessively as Taiwan desk officer, deputy
director of PRC affairs and attend the
National War College.
From 1971 to 1975—the period that
saw the end of the Cultural Revolu-
tion, the rise of the “Gang of Four” and
the death of Mao Zedong—Mr. Thayer
served as deputy political counselor at
the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in
New York City, and was then posted to
the American Liaison Office in Beijing as
deputy chief of mission under George H.
W. Bush from 1975 to 1976.
In 1980, Mr. Thayer was appointed
U.S. ambassador to Singapore, serving
until 1984, when he was named director
of the American Institute in Taiwan until
Ambassador Thayer retired from the
Foreign Service in 1989 as dean of the
Foreign Service Institute School of Lan-
guage Studies. During a distinguished
30-year career he was recognized with
the Meritorious Service Award, two
Superior Honor Awards and the Distin-
guished Honor Award.
Amb. Thayer soon returned to the
State Department as a consultant to
the Office of Asylum Affairs and, later,
as a reemployed annuitant, worked as
a reviewer for Asia in the Freedom of
Information office. He was a member of
the FOIA Appeals Panel at the time of
his illness and had hoped to return to
In retirement he volunteered with
Meals on Wheels and the Community
Council for the Homeless at Friend-
ship Place. He was a member of the
American Foreign Service Association,
DACOR, the Far East Luncheon Group,
the Washington Institute of Foreign
Affairs, the C&O Canal Association and
an array of organizations in support of
the environment, civil rights and human
Family members and friends remem-
ber Amb. Thayer not only as a consum-
mate diplomat, but also as a cultured
and modest man with a wry sense of
humor who savored the serenity of the
outdoors. He took a deep interest in oth-
ers and relished the accomplishments
and exploits of his extended family and
Ambassador Thayer is survived by his
wife, Marion GuggenheimThayer; four
children from his first marriage to Joan
Pirie: Robert, Nathaniel and Margaret
Thayer of Washington, D.C., and Marian
Thayer Vito of West Chester, Pa.; three
stepchildren from his second marriage
to Edith G. Browne: Olin, Luis and Jer-
emy Browne; three stepchildren: Grace,
Davis and Jonathan Guggenheim; five
grandchildren: Amanda, Julia and John
Thayer, and Nathaniel and James Vito;
seven step-grandchildren; a step-great-
grandson; and a sister, Marian Thayer
Toland. His brothers, Frederick, Thrus-
ton and Nelson Thayer, predeceased
Memorial contributions may be
made to the Potomac Conservancy or to
the C&O Canal Association.
Richard S. Thompson,
retired Foreign Service officer, died
peacefully at his home in Bethesda, Md.,
on March 7.
Born in Spokane, Wash., in 1933, Mr.
Thompson grew up in Pullman, Wash.
After graduating from Washington State
University in 1955, he attended Oxford
University for two years as a Rhodes
Scholar, followed by two years in the U.S.
Army. He earned an MA in government
from Georgetown University.
Mr. Thompson joined the State
Department Foreign Service in 1960.
During a 27-year diplomatic career, he
served in Aruba and Curaçao, Niger,
Vietnam, France and Algeria, as well as
in assignments at the State Department
in Washington, D.C.
The highlight of his career was his
three tours in Saigon. He arrived in
Vietnam in January 1968, one week
before the Tet offensive, which included
an attack on the U.S. embassy. In 1972
and 1973, he participated in the Vietnam
peace talks in Paris.
Mr. Thompson’s final tour in Viet-
nam ended when he was evacuated by
helicopter from the embassy roof dur-
ing the fall of Saigon in April 1975. His
article about that experience, “Leaving
Saigon: An FSO’s Last Day in Vietnam,”appeared in the April 2000 Foreign Ser- vice Journal .
While serving in Algiers from 1980
to 1982, Mr. Thompson supported
the negotiations for the release of the
American hostages in Iran.
After retiring from the Foreign Ser-
vice in 1987, he worked for 12 years at
the American Foreign Service Associa-
tion as the professional issues coordina-
tor and was the unofficial proofreader
for each edition of
The Foreign Service
Mr. Thompson enjoyed travel, ten-
nis, music, walking on the towpath
and spending time with family. He is
survived by two sons, John of Bethesda,
Md., and Alex of Columbus, Ohio; a
daughter, Francesca, of Washington,
D.C.; and five grand-daughters: Stella,
Sophia, Lucy, Roxanne and Nina.
Donations in his memory may be
made to the Albert W. Thompson Schol-
arship Fund at the Washington State