The Foreign Service Journal, March 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2020 75 n Thomas J. Wajda , 78, a retired Foreign Service officer, died on Oct. 15, 2019, at his home in Frederick, Md., of complications from Parkinson’s disease. Born one of 10 children on his fami- ly’s dairy farm in northeastern Ohio, Mr. Wajda joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1963 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in political science from Youngstown State University. He worked in consular affairs in Iran and Afghanistan before volunteering to serve as a refugee adviser in Tay Ninh province during the Vietnam War. After returning from Vietnam in 1970, Mr. Wajda completed the Harvard Trade Union Program and then served as labor attaché in Senegal and New Zealand. His professional travels during this period also included Papua New Guinea and Antarctica. In 1979 he earned a master’s degree in science and technology policy from The George Washington University. His later career included postings to France and Canada, and key contributions to negotiations concerning the Inter- national Space Station and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Mr. Wajda retired from the For- eign Service in 1995. In retirement, he returned to his farming roots. He and his wife, Madeline, founded Willow Pond Farm, a certified organic herb farm in Fairfield, Pa., that would be their labor of love. Inspired by visits to farms in tra- ditional lavender-growing areas in Provence, France, and the northwestern United States, the Wajdas focused on the challenge of cultivating lavender in the rocky soil of Pennsylvania. They later founded the annual PA Lavender Festival, the first event of its kind in the mid-Atlantic, and hosted this popular regional event until 2015. At Willow Pond, Mr. Wajda grew more than 100 varieties of lavender, including three cultivars he developed: Madeline Marie, Rebecca Kay and Two Amys. He delighted in sharing his knowledge through a self-published lav- ender gardener’s guide and in lectures and garden tours. Friends remember his dry sense of humor and wit and his amicable nature. Mr. Wajda is survived by his wife of 58 years, Madeline Lyle Wajda; three children, Rebecca Kay Gwynn, Thomas J. Wajda Jr. (and his wife, Linda) and Amy Zoe Wajda (and her spouse, Amy Gotwals); five grandchildren, Peter, Michael and Samuel Wajda and Charles and Ruth Wajda-Gotwals; as well as one brother, Edward Wajda (and his wife, Phyllis), and two sisters, Sally Ashelman (and her husband, Keith) and June Byo (and her husband, Bill). He was preceded in death by son-in- law Thomas M. Gwynn III, three sisters and three brothers. In lieu of flowers, the family has established the Thomas J. Wajda Foreign Affairs Scholarship at the Youngstown State University Foundation, 655 Wick Avenue, Youngstown OH 44502. Online condolences may be shared at www. . n James Allen Wedberg , 86, a retired Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Develop- ment, died on March 8, 2019, in Mary- land of cancer. Born in California to Swedish American parents, Mr. Wedberg won a four-year sports scholarship to George Pepperdine College (now Pepperdine University), where he majored in sociol- ogy with a minor in mathematics. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1956 to 1958, studying city and regional planning. His studies were interrupted by service as a cartog- rapher in the U.S. Army. Mr. Wedberg also spent the summer of 1957 in Towson, Md., on housing development. Later, while en route to Nevada, he stopped in at the city plan- ning office in Kansas City, Mo., where he was offered—and accepted—the job of designing the master regional plan for Clay County. The one-year task included a plan for the region’s new international airport and the surrounding farmland acreage. He subsequently returned to MIT to pursue doctoral studies. Mr. Wedberg studied regional development in Norway as a 1958-1959 Fulbright scholar. That was followed by a year’s grant to Sweden to study land use and ownership. Idealism and a lifelong love of travel (which took him to nearly every country on all six continents, including hitch- hiking through 35 African countries in 1960 and 1961) reinforced his commit- ment to supporting developing nations. In 1966 Mr. Wedberg joined USAID. He served in Washington, D.C., as country program/desk officer for Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameroon and the Cen- tral African Republic. He served overseas in Vietnam, Tanzania, Afghanistan (where he met his wife, Malla) and Mauritania. In 1985 he retired. Mr. Wedberg was laid to rest, with military honors, in Quantico National Cemetery in Triangle, Va. He is survived by his wife, Malla Wedberg; stepdaugh- ter and son-in-law, Mashal and David Hartman; a sister and brother-in-law, Nancy and (ret.) Lt. Col. Lawrence Zit- train; and nieces, nephews and their families. n