The Foreign Service Journal, March 2024

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2024 71 IN MEMORY n Edward Alexander, 103, a retired public affairs officer, passed away on Oct. 5, 2023, in Bethesda, Md. Mr. Alexander was born in New York City in 1920 to survivors of the Armenian genocide. He earned a bachelor’s degree in musicology from Columbia University followed by a master’s degree from the Columbia School of Journalism. He joined the U.S. Army in World War II, serving in Europe on the staffs of Generals Eisenhower and Bradley in the psychological warfare division. After the war, Mr. Alexander worked as public relations director to Sir Laurence Olivier on two Shakespeare films, “Henry V” and “Hamlet.” In 1950 he joined the Voice of America, organizing broadcasts to Soviet Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Tatarstan. He spent 10 years as chief of the Armenian Service with VOA. During the Cold War, he served as a public affairs officer in West Berlin, Budapest, Athens, and East Berlin. He played a key role in the visits of President Kennedy to Berlin in 1963 and President Nixon to Bucharest in 1969. During his career, Mr. Alexander arranged numerous cultural exchanges of renowned American musicians, conductors, composers, and actors, introducing European audiences to performances by Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Kirk Douglas, and Zsa Zsa Gabor, among others. During his tour as deputy director for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Mr. Alexander traveled throughout the Soviet bloc supervising American press and cultural affairs. Following his Foreign Service postings, he served on the Board for International Broadcasting, overseeing Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty broadcasts, at the State Department in the Freedom of Information Division, and was spokesperson to three international conferences on human rights. He was official escort and interpreter for the White House visit of Catholicos Vazgen I with President Bush in the Oval Office and also for the visit of former Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan. Shortly after Armenia’s independence, Mr. Alexander was invited to Armenia to serve as adviser to the Foreign Ministry. Mr. Alexander wrote three books: The Serpent and the Bees—about the 15-year attempt by the Soviet KGB to recruit him; A Crime of Vengeance— about the Berlin trial of the murder of Talaat Pasha, interior minister of the Ottoman Empire (a feature film based on his book is in production); and Opus— a novel about the search by two Armenian diplomats for a stolen Beethoven manuscript. Mr. Alexander was an avid tennis player well into his 90s, a golfer, jazz authority, and devotee of gin martinis. He leaves behind his wife of 77 years, Roseann; son Mark (and spouse JoAnn Palazzo); son Scott (and spouse Cathy Davis); son Christian (and spouse Arlene Saryan); and grandchildren Derek, Maya, Miranda, Garen, and Sean Alexander. On a date yet to be determined, a memorial service will be held and his remains will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Traveling Doctors (for Nagorno-Karabakh refugees) at www., or to the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research at n Maryfaith Blanchard (née Gastel), 78, a Foreign Service spouse, passed away peacefully on Dec. 4, 2023, at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fla., of complications from sepsis. Ms. Blanchard was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Nov. 25, 1945, the youngest of three children born to Ralph and Irene (née Nagy) Gastel. As a child, Ms. Blanchard moved from Pittsburgh to Palm Springs, Calif., and considered this her hometown. She attended St. Theresa’s Catholic School through the eighth grade and graduated from Palm Springs High School in 1963. While in high school, she was a member of Teen Angels, an organization of young women who did charitable work in the area and raised money for the Angel View Crippled Children’s Hospital. She also worked as a fashion model for Robertson’s department store until she moved with her family to McAllen, Texas, in 1965. There she became a local television fashion model for an upscale women’s clothing store. She met her future husband, Philip Blanchard, while in Palm Springs, and they were married in Mission, Texas, in November 1966. Ms. Blanchard accompanied her husband, a specialist with the Diplomatic Telecommunications Service (now IRM), on assignments with the State Department to La Paz (1967-1969); Paris (1969-1971); Manila (1971-1973); Kinshasa (19731974); Kuwait City (1974-1975); Washington, D.C. (1975-1980); Bonn (1980-1983); Cairo (1983-1985); Washington, D.C. (1985-1987); London (1987-1990); and Albuquerque, New Mexico (1990-1992). Ms. Blanchard and her husband remained in New Mexico after his retirement in 1992, until they moved to The Villages, Fla., in 2000. She enjoyed traveling, meeting people, and making new friends wherever she lived. Ms. Blanchard was outgoing and gregarious, a beautiful soul with an infectious smile. She was kind, generous, and full of