Thursday, September 28, 2017

Obituary Notice: Morton S. Smith former Senior USIA Foreign Service Officer

via LJB by email


Morton S. Smith "Mort" was born in Brooklyn in 1931 and passed away on Tuesday, September 26, 2017. Morton was the husband of 49 years to the late Angelina Albino; loving father to Daniel (Caroline), Ruth, Gregory (Veronica) and Benjamin; cherished grandfather of Matthew, Sam, Jason, David, and Maggie.

He received his BA from CCNY in History; MA Yale University in SE Asian Studies. Served in US Army where he believes he probably was the only Burmese-speaking jeep driver in the Army.

He joined the USIA Foreign Service in 1955. His overseas assignments included Korea, Burma, Singapore (for the State Department), and the Philippines. His U.S.-based assignments included Assistant Director of USIA for the Far East, Deputy Director of the Voice of America, Diplomat in Residence at Reed College in Portland, Oregon and Visiting Professor at the National War College.

He served as Director of Public Affairs at the State Department's East Asia Bureau, during which time he was the spokesman for the Woodcock Commission's visit to Hanoi and Vientiane to discuss MIA/POW issues soon after the end of the war.
He also was the spokesman for Assistant Secretary Richard Holbrooke's talks with the Vietnamese in Paris which ultimately lead to normalizing relations.
His many awards included the Presidential Distinguished Honor Award and the USIA Distinguished Service Award. After retiring, he was a consultant to the then newly - established Radio Free Asia and assisted the VOA in its implementation of the Broadcasting Act of 1996 in Germany, Spain and Portugal.
He also was an adjunct professor at Lewis and Clark College in Portland. His passions were his family, tennis, Beethoven, and all things Oregon. Services will be private.
Arrangements entrusted to Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home, LLC.  
Published in The Washington Post on Sept. 28, 2017

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