Page 86 - Foreign Service Journal - September 2013

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as consul general in Bordeaux and
political counselor at the U.S. Mission
to the European Communities.
From 1975 to 1979, Mr. Barbis was
political officer in Athens during strug-
gles that resulted in Greece’s return to
NATO. Then, back in Washington, he
advised three successive chiefs of staff
of the U.S. Army on foreign policy and
national security from 1980 to 1989.
Mr. Barbis retired from the Foreign
Service in 1992. He was a recipient of
the State Department’s Superior Honor
Mr. and Mrs. Barbis lived in St.
Michaels, Md., from 1990 to 2010.
There they made many friends through
participation in the Academy Art
Museum, the Chesapeake Chamber
Music Festival, the Chesapeake Bay
Maritime Museum, Christ Church, the
Miles River Yacht Club and the Har-
bourtowne Golf and Resort. In 2010
they moved to Evergreen Woods in
North Branford, Conn., to be near their
Mr. Barbis is survived by his wife of
56 years, Patricia Quinn Barbis, of Bran-
ford, Conn.; a son, Michael Barbis of
Rowayton, Conn.; a daughter, Dina Bar-
bis Tresnan (and her husband, Paul) of
Old Lyme, Conn,; four grandsons, Liam,
Callum, Angus and Skyler; a brother,
Bill, of Fresno, Calif.; and several cous-
ins in California, Hawaii and Greece.
Memorial contributions may be
made to the Senior Living Foundation
of the American Foreign Service, 1716
N Street NW, Washington DC 20036, or
the American Heart Association (
David M. Burns
, 84, a retired
Foreign Service officer with the U.S.
Information Agency who later became
an executive with the American Asso-
George Milton Barbis,
86, a
retired Foreign Service officer, died
of pneumonia on May 24 at Yale New
Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn.
Mr. Barbis was born in Visalia, Calif.,
to parents of Greek origin. In 1937
his mother took him and a younger
brother, Milton, to visit Greece, where
they were stranded during World War II
under the Italian and German occu-
pations. There he attended Athens
College, graduating in 1944 from the
Lyceum in Xilokastron, and so was flu-
ent in Greek.
Following repatriation to the United
States, Mr. Barbis entered the U.S. Army
and received an honorable discharge.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in
international relations from the Uni-
versity of California at Berkeley in 1950
and a master’s degree from the Johns
Hopkins University School of Advanced
International Studies in 1952. He later
attended the National War College.
Mr. Barbis joined the Foreign Ser-
vice at the State Department in 1950.
His first posting was Tehran, where he
witnessed the rise of nationalism lead-
ing to nationalization of the oil fields
and eviction of the British. From 1953
to 1956, at the end of the Korean War,
he served as an economic and political
officer in Seoul, where he met his future
wife, Patricia Quinn, who worked in
cultural affairs at the embassy. She was
his lifetime partner and served with
him at all his posts.
Mr. Barbis then spent five years as
consul in Chiang Mai, where he moni-
tored the movements of nomadic hill
tribes with political implications in the
Golden Triangle bordering Laos, Burma
and China.
He served as an analyst in Washing-
ton before a series of European post-
ings starting in the late l960s, including
ciation for the Advancement of Science,
and who also founded a jazz band, died
on May 13 at Capital Caring Hospice in
Arlington County, Va., of an intracranial
David Mitchell Burns was born in
Pineville, Ky., and came to Washington
at age 15. As a teenager, he worked as
an elevator operator at the U.S. Capitol.
He served as an Air Force cryptogra-
pher in the late 1940s.
He was a 1953 graduate of Princeton
University and received a Fulbright
grant to study in Salzburg, Austria.
In 1955 Mr. Burns joined the U.S.
Information Agency. He served over-
seas in Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Mali,
Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and what is
now Zimbabwe.
After retiring from the Foreign Ser-
vice in 1977, Mr. Burns became director
of a project exploring climate change
at the American Association for the
Advancement of Science. He retired a
second time in 1990.
In 1972, Mr. Burns founded the Hot
Mustard Jazz Band. He was the group’s
leader, trombonist and singer. Te
popular local band performed swing
music and performed at the Kennedy
Center and the British Embassy, as well
as overseas in Jakarta, Sumatra and Bali.
In a March 2002
review of the
group’s fourth CD, “Rainbow Room:
Songs of the Art Deco Era,” Steve
Honley observed: “Burns is as adept
at playing the trombone and keeping
the up-tempo numbers dancing along
(à la Glenn Miller) as he is at lovingly
crooning the ballads. And he has strong
backing from the instrumentalists, who
play the skillful arrangements by Chuck
Redd (who also plays vibes in the band)
with authentic stylishness.”
Mr. Burns was a member of the
National Book Critics Circle and wrote