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90

JULY-AUGUST 2016

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

IN MEMORY

n

Charles Sidney Blankstein,

80, a

retired Foreign Service officer with the

U.S. Agency for International Develop-

ment, died on April 30 at the Washington

Home in Washington, D.C., of congestive

heart failure.

The son of Russian-Jewish immigrants,

Mr. Blankstein was born in the Bronx,

N.Y., the youngest of three children. He

was raised in Greensboro, N.C., where his

family moved during the 1940s.

Mr. Blankstein was an avid bibliophile

from a young age, absorbing the adven-

tures of Herman Melville, Alexandre

Dumas and others. He became a regular

newspaper reader at age 8 when his par-

ents kept him indoors for two consecutive

summers due to the polio epidemic that

swept through the South.

As a young boy during World War II,

he would spread out large maps of Asia

and the Pacific, as well as Europe, in his

bedroom to track the progress of the

Allies. His uncle, Guy Dembo, was a U.S.

infantryman who fought to liberate Italy.

After attending Riverdale Country

School in the New York City area, Mr.

Blankstein attended college at the Uni-

versity of North Carolina, graduating with

a degree in economics in 1957. It was the

same year that UNC’s basketball team

won its first national championship, and

Mr. Blankstein remained a lifelong Tar

Heels fan and an avid college basketball

enthusiast.

He went on to attend Harvard Law

School in a class that included the late

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin

Scalia, Massachusetts governor and

1988 Democratic presidential candidate

Michael Dukakis and Attorney General

William Ruckelshaus. He graduated with

a J.D. degree in 1960, and later spent a

year as a Sloan Fellow at the Massachu-

setts Institute of Technology, where he

earned a master’s degree in management.

Mr. Blankstein began working for

the federal government in 1962 as a

lawyer for the Securities and Exchange

Commission. He subsequently spent

four years as an attorney in the General

Counsel’s Office of the National Aero-

nautics and Space Administration.

In 1967, Mr. Blankstein joined the

USAID Foreign Service. He was posted

in Bolivia and Ecuador in the late 1960s,

and traveled extensively for this work in

Africa, Asia and the Middle East during

the 1970s.

Mr. Blankstein’s diplomatic career

was shaped by the expanding fortunes—

and global role—of the postwar United

States, as well as by President John F.

Kennedy’s 1960 Inaugural call for Ameri-

cans to serve their country.

He was grateful for the opportunity

to expand his knowledge and participate

with extraordinary colleagues at a time

when the United States lent its resources

and expertise to help emerging nations

realize their potential.

He worked to stabilize foreign govern-

ments by helping impoverished farmers

improve their businesses, which would

allow them to feed growing populations

and better their own lives and that of their

families. He also contributed to rural

development programs, including the

massive Caribbean Basin Initiative during

President Jimmy Carter’s administration.

Mr. Blankstein retired from USAID in

the mid-1980s, after spending four years

in the Dominican Republic. He contin-

ued working as a consultant.

He is survived by his wife, Lucy; his

daughter, Amy; and his son, Andrew,

daughter-in-law, Beth, and granddaugh-

ter, Emma.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may

be made to the Rock Creek Conser-

vancy, 4300 Montgomery Ave., Suite 304,

Bethesda MD 20814.

n

John Harmon Clary,

81, a retired

Foreign Service officer with the U.S.

Agency for International Development,

died on April 24 at Frederick Memorial

Hospital in Frederick, Md.

Born on Sept. 26, 1934, in Osceola,

Iowa, Mr. Clary was the son of the late

Orvelle M. and Mary King Clary. He

served in the U.S. Army from 1955 to

1957, and then entered college, graduat-

ing from the University of Iowa in 1960

with a bachelor’s degree.

In 1966, Mr. Clary joined the USAID

Foreign Service, beginning what would

be a more than 40-year diplomatic

career. His first posting was to Saigon

during the VietnamWar, where he

sustained shrapnel injuries. In this

four-and-a-half-year assignment he

progressed from assistant provincial

representative to area development

administrator, and also received a supe-

rior honor award.

Mr. Clary also served in Paraguay,

where the couple’s two daughters,

Heather and Hillary, were born. Assign-

ments to the Dominican Republic, Nepal

and Panama followed.

The Clarys retired to Braddock

Heights, Md. In retirement, Mr. Clary

worked for several years at Bon Ton

department store in Frederick, Md.

Friends and family will especially

remember him for his dry sense of

humor. An avid student of the Civil War

and son of a World War I veteran, Mr.

Clary had recently joined American

Legion Post 297.

In addition to his wife, Barbara O’Neil

Clary, he is survived by his daughters,

Heather Clary and her husband, Sebas-

tian Silvestro, of Annapolis, Md.; and

Hillary Hawkins, and her husband, Kevin

Hawkins, of Smithsburg, Va.; two grand-

children, O’Neil Silvestro and Penelope

Hawkins; and a brother, James Clary, of