Page 91 - Foreign Service Journal - September 2013

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Washington, D.C., of leukemia.
Roscoe Seldon Suddarth was born
on Aug. 5, 1935, in Louisville, Ky., and
grew up in Nashville, Tenn., where
his mother ran a boarding house. He
graduated summa cum laude from
Yale University in 1956 with a degree in
He then studied at New College at
the University of Oxford in England,
receiving his master’s degree in modern
history in 1958. In 1972 he received a
master’s degree in systems analysis at
the Massachusetts Institute of Technol-
In 1961 Mr. Suddarth joined the
State Department Foreign Service. He
met his future wife, Michele Lebas, in
1963, during his first posting, to Mali,
when she won a singing contest aboard
a steamboat on the Niger River. The
couple married in Bamako, and a post-
ing to Lebanon followed.
A fluent Arabic speaker, Mr. Sud-
darth became a specialist in Middle
Eastern affairs. After Mali and Lebanon,
he served in Yemen, Jordan and Saudi
In 1967, during his assignment
as consul in Yemen, he spent three
weeks as a “selected” hostage, sharing
confinement with two USAID officers
accused of plotting to overthrow the
government. U.S. diplomats had rea-
soned that if an embassy official were
with them at all times, the likelihood of
the USAID personnel being executed
would be diminished.
As Mr. Suddarth recounted the story
in the October 1971
Foreign Service
(“Diplomacy in a Yemeni Jail”),
were the officers convicted, they would
face the death penalty, with the option
of “choosing a firing squad or—as a
more manly course—decapitation with
an Islamic sword.” Fortunately, the
informed gamble paid off: the two cap-
tives were released after three weeks of
Several years later, Mr. Suddarth
helped arrange the evacuation of
Wheelus Air Base in Libya and deal
with the spike in oil prices following the
coup that brought Moammar Gaddafi
to power there.
He later became executive assistant
to the under secretary for political
affairs, and in that role was involved
in the U.S. response to the Ayatollah
Khomeini’s Iranian revolution and
the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as
well as the 1981 release of the Embassy
Tehran hostages.
In September 1987 Mr. Suddarth was
named U.S. ambassador to Jordan. Dur-
ing the final months of that assignment,
Iraq’s Saddam Hussein made clear his
intention to attack Kuwait.
After service as inspector general at
the State Department and as interna-
tional affairs adviser at the Naval War
College, Ambassador Suddarth retired
from the Foreign Service in 1995.
He then served as president of
the Washington-based Middle East
Institute for six years. Later he was an
independent director of mutual funds,
while studying for a master’s degree in
musicology at the University of Mary-
land, which he received in 2008.
Amb. Suddarth lived with leuke-
mia for the last 12 years of his life, but
continued to go about his daily routine.
He took piano lessons from an old
friend and Yale classmate, pianist John
Eaton. He wrote several pieces for the
, including an appreciation of the
late FSO David Newsom (“Consum-
mate Diplomat, Extraordinary Human
Being,” September 2008). Only days
before his death, he played cards and
dined with friends.
He is survived by his wife of 50
years, Michele, of Bethesda, Md.; two
children, Anne Suddarth of Nijmegen,
Netherlands, and Mark Suddarth of St.
Louis, Mo.; four grandchildren; and a
Charles D. Ward
, a retired Senior
Foreign Service officer with the U.S.
Agency for International Development,
died unexpectedly on April 30 at the
University of Arizona Cancer Center
in Tucson, Ariz., as a result of a severe
infection following surgery for lung
Mr. Ward was born in Clay County,
Ala. With his keen intelligence, he was
able to overcome the obstacles that
poverty placed in his path. Following
service in the U.S. Army, he attended
the University of Alabama. He was then
awarded a Fulbright scholarship for
graduate studies at the London School
of Economics and, later, a teaching fel-
lowship at Harvard University.
In 1962, during USAID’s early days,
Mr. Ward joined the Foreign Service. He
served in Liberia, Tanzania, Swaziland,
Botswana, Lesotho, Yemen, Burma
and Washington, D.C. He returned to
Harvard twice during his career with
USAID—once for a program at The
Kennedy School and, later, for a year as
a fellow at the Center for International
After retiring from the Foreign
Service in 1988, Mr. Ward worked as a
contractor for USAID-funded projects
in Egypt, Somalia, Armenia, Malawi
and Kenya.
Mr. Ward is survived by his wife,
Veronica, of Portland, Ore.; three sons,
Eugene of Baltimore, Md., Steven of
Portland, Ore., and Jason of Sydney,
Australia; and six grandchildren.