The Foreign Service Journal, March 2024

72 MARCH 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL where he discovered his love of travel and began learning German. On breaks from school, Mr. Buck was always hardworking and persuasive, whether delivering papers, mowing lawns, working his way up from the mailroom at a brokerage firm in New York, or selling Vicks VapoRub in the summer in the Midwest—becoming their best salesman ever despite having never used the product! He attended Scarsdale High School before earning a full scholarship to Yale, where he was a history honors major and a ranking scholar. One summer during college, he went to Düsseldorf with AIESEC, a program for American students interested in international economics. The following summer he studied Turkish in Ankara with AIESEC. He became fascinated with the Middle East, but realizing Turkish would allow him access to only one country in the region, he shifted to learning Arabic. In the years to follow, he earned two graduate degrees from the Fletcher School at Tufts: an M.A. in law and diplomacy and an M.A. in international relations and international economics. He also earned an M.A. in Middle Eastern studies from Harvard. After hearing President John F. Kennedy speak at his Yale graduation, Mr. Buck was inspired to become a Foreign Service officer. He entered the Foreign Service in 1963 while completing graduate work at Harvard. In 1965 he was posted to Algiers and was the most junior officer to remain there when most of the embassy was evacuated during and after the 1967 war. Shortly afterward, Mr. Buck was sent to study Arabic in Beirut, where he met his wife and soulmate, Hala Lababidi, a Lebanese interior designer and translator who was working as assistant to the cultural affairs officer at the U.S. embassy. The two were married in Beirut and moved to what was then South Yemen just a few weeks later. On the Bucks’ one-year anniversary, South Yemen broke relations with the U.S., and the couple experienced their first of several evacuations. Between tours in Washington, D.C., Mr. Buck helped reopen the embassy in Mauritania; served as head of the economic/ commercial section in Kuwait (1975-1979); deputy chief of mission (DCM) in Oman (1979-1983); DCM in Iraq during the final years of the Iran-Iraq War (1986-1988); minister counselor for political affairs in Canada (1990-1992); consul general in Saudi Arabia (1996-1999); and office director for North Africa (1992-1995). After retiring from the Foreign Service in 2002, he and his wife made their home in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., where Mr. Buck continued to teach, speak, and write professionally. He edited The Gulf, Energy and Global Security, and authored articles in numerous publications, as well as serving on the editorial board of The Foreign Service Journal for many years. He taught courses on national security and energy economics at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (now the National Defense University) and discovered his love for teaching in the process. Mr. Buck liked to say that he was lucky to have two careers: the Foreign Service and mentoring. He became active in the group Boys to Men and several other organizations mentoring and supporting young men and boys, many of whom looked to him as a beloved elder, known fondly as Grandpa. He founded the Middle East Lunch Group at DACOR, co-founded the Middle East Task Force at River Road Unitarian Church, and founded a men’s support group that has been active for 30 years. Friends recall Mr. Buck had a wonderlove for her family and friends. She was also very proud of her Hungarian heritage on her mother’s side. In 2016 she was able to visit Budapest, on a Viking river cruise, to see her grandparents’ birthplace. Ms. Blanchard was devoted to her family, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She enjoyed walking, water aerobics, and socializing with family and friends, and, most of all, she enjoyed spending time with her devoted husband, Philip. She will be deeply missed by her family and friends. Ms. Blanchard was predeceased by her parents, Ralph and Irene Gastel, and her brother Dennis. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Philip Blanchard; sons Ted (and spouse Allison), Matthew (and spouse Lesli), and John (and spouse Dawn); daughter Candace Jimerson (and spouse Jonathon); and six grandchildren: Autumn (and spouse Thomas) Campbell II, Jacob Blanchard, Justin Blanchard, Trinity Barker, Jayden Barker and Noah Blanchard; great-grandsons Landon and Liam Campbell; brother Robert Gastel (and spouse Bonnie, deceased); and numerous nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Ms. Blanchard’s memory to Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties, 2600 South St., Leesburg FL 34748. n Stephen W. Buck, 82, a retired Foreign Service officer, passed away peacefully at home from congestive heart failure on April 30, 2023. He was preparing with his family to celebrate his 83rd birthday. Mr. Buck was born on May 6, 1940, in Bronxville, N.Y., to Guernsey S. Buck and Kathryn Fay Symmes Buck. Most of his childhood was spent in Scarsdale, N.Y., with trips to Mill Valley, Calif., where his mother’s family lived. When he was 14, his great aunt Ruth took him to Europe,