THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
, 38, an
active-duty FSO serving as U.S. consul in
Bratislava, died suddenly there on June 4.
A native of Minnesota, Mrs. Nelson-
Salcedo earned a bachelor’s degree from
the University of Wisconsin and a master’s
degree from the Humphrey School of Pub-
lic Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
She joined the U.S. Foreign Service in
2008 and had served in Santo Domingo
and in Kuala Lumpur prior to her assign-
ment to Bratislava in 2014. Known for
innovation and customer service in
consular affairs, she was the recipient of
several Superior and Meritorious Honor
Awards from the State Department.
Mrs. Nelson-Salcedo was an enthu-
siastic and skilled student of foreign
languages and relished exploring cultures;
at her untimely death she spoke five
languages fluently. Her passion for civil
rights and social justice was reflected in
her excellent work as a diplomat around
She was also a dedicated wife and
mother. Friends and family members
recall her as an exceptional human being
with a huge heart, unlimited compassion
and an irrepressible smile, who lived life to
Selena Nelson-Salcedo is survived by
her husband, Jorge, and their daughters,
Antonella, age 4, and Gaia, age 3; her
parents, Janice Hobbs and Don Nelson; her
stepmother, Mary Kay Perrin; her mother-
in-law, Consuelo Barbosa; her siblings:
Jenna, Jeremy (and his wife, Clara), Micah
(and his wife, Lindsay) and Simone (and
her husband, John); and six nieces and
nephews: Henry, Diego, Emma, Max,
Homer and Nelson.
To make a contribution to educa-
tion funds for Selena Nelson-Salcedo’s
daughters, go to:https://scholarshare
ebilling.com, and enter code CAR6jpB and
CAhAU5G (one account for each child).
Sharon Elspeth Oper
, 76, a retired
Foreign Service office management spe-
cialist, died on June 2 in Longboat Key, Fla.
A native of New Jersey, Ms. Oper was
born on Jan. 16, 1941. Her entry into public
service began in the early 1970s when she
was hired as an aide to Representative
Bella Abzug (D-N.Y.).
She established and managed two
congressional offices, worked as a field
representative and program analyst for the
Head Start program, and held professional
status in the Department of Housing and
Urban Development’s Office of Congres-
sional Relations before joining the Foreign
Service in 1974.
Ms. Oper enjoyed overseas postings in
Chile, Spain, Zaire (now the Democratic
Republic of the Congo), Pakistan, Thailand
and Kenya during her 20-year Foreign
Service career from 1974 to 1994.
During her last assignment, she was
selected as a member of the State Depart-
ment “advance team” for Secretary of State
Warren Christopher and was in and out of
the Middle East a dozen times. Four life-
long friendships were born of the intensity
of those trips, and Sharon took great pride
in watching as three of those colleagues
rose to the role of ambassador.
Ms. Oper retired from the Foreign Ser-
vice in 1995 and settled in Florida.
Admitting that she was terrified of most
down escalators and heights in general,
friends recall, Ms. Oper insisted she was
never afraid of living in strange places. Her
life stories were the delight of her friends
and evidence of her strength of charac-
ter—whether the time in Chile when she
hid three American nuns from the secret
police; or the charming anecdotes involv-
ing her aging mother, who lived with her
during postings inThailand and Kenya.
Seven years of living in Africa trans-
formed Ms. Oper into an aficionado of
African art and African grey parrots, one
of whom—“Two-Two”—survives her
and has been lovingly adopted by local
friends with an African grey of their own.
Ms. Oper loved animals, and many
friends remember the little dog she
had early in her career. She never
allowed herself another pup, however,
because she knew she would be travel-
ing too often to give a dog the affec-
tion it deserved. But she couldn’t resist
Two-Two, or the hundreds of birds she
photographed on the beach just near her
Known as “Fluffy” to many in the
Foreign Service (owing to a coat she once
wore), Ms. Oper was a member of Temple
Beth Israel, and a member of a syna-
gogue in every country in which she lived
throughout her career. She had a lifelong
passion for international cultures and
cuisine and for tennis, and was a stead-
fast supporter of the Democratic Party.
Ms. Oper was a true champion of
diversity and inclusion long before those
ideas became buzzwords, friends recall.
She excelled as a friend: she listened well,
and remembered the details. She took
your side and worried alongside you, and
enjoyed sharing a discussion of current
events or a laugh. Her enthusiasm for life
was matched only by her ability to find
humor in even the simplest moment.
Ms. Oper is survived by her nieces,
Zoe Oper and Gail Oper Stumpf; her
nephew, Joseph Oper; and by her cousin
Beth Vandroff and lifelong friend Sally
Arce, both of whom were supportive
presences in her last days.
James D. “Jim” Rosenthal,
retired Foreign Service officer and former
ambassador, died on June 20 at his home
in San Francisco, Calif.
A native San Franciscan, Mr. Rosen-
thal graduated from Lowell High School
in 1950. He was on the swimming and