The Foreign Service Journal, September 2009

S E P T E M B E R 2 0 0 9 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 71 James J. Blake , 87, a retired FSO and former ambassador, died on April 25 at The Washington Home in Wash- ington, D.C., from complications fol- lowing a broken hip. Mr. Blake was a cum laude gradu- ate of Queens College in New York, where he received his bachelor’s de- gree in 1946 with departmental honors in history. He was also the recipient of the Rachel Pinsen Award for Excel- lence in History. He graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1961 and earned a master’s degree from The George Washington University in 1963. Prior to graduating from Queens College, Mr. Blake had served for three years in the Army, participating as a combat infantryman in the Rhine- land and Ruhr campaigns, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star. In 1947, Mr. Blake joined the For- eign Service. His overseas assign- ments included Brussels, Calcutta and Tripoli, as well as Reykjavik, where he served as ambassador. In Washington, he served as director for North African affairs and was later appointed deputy assistant secretary for African affairs. He also served on the Army staff in the Pentagon as a political military of- ficer concerned with strategic plan- ning. While deputy chief of mission in Tripoli, during the Arab-Israeli June War in 1967, Mr. Blake coordinated the evacuation of approximately 4,000 American citizens by air due to the widespread Libyan hostility toward American policies in the Middle East. As ambassador in Iceland, his primary responsibility was to ensure continued use of a large U.S.-NATO Air Force base outside Reykjavik. When he left, Iceland conferred on him the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Fal- con. Amb. Blake retired from the For- eign Service in 1981, after serving as coordinator of the Senior Seminar. Following retirement, he volunteered for more than 19 years at The Wash- ington Home. He served as a Eu- charistic minister for 20 years at St. Ann’s Parish in Tenleytown, Md., where he was also a chief usher. He was a life member of the New York Historical Society, a member of the Ari- mathea Society and a member of the American Foreign Service Association. Amb. Blake’s first wife, Dolores A. Quaid, died in 1977, while they were assigned to Iceland. He is survived by their four children: Stephen, a career FSO currently assigned to Washing- ton, D.C.; Kathleen, a cardiologist in Albuquerque, N.M.; David, a trade union representative in New York, N.Y.; and Robert, a financial services director in New York, N.Y. Amb. Blake is also survived by his second wife, of 22 years, Brenda M. Dawson of Glamorgan, Wales, and four step- children from her former marriage: Anthony, Gillian, Sarah and Catherine, all of whom reside in Great Britain. Camilla “Memo” Copenhaver , 92, mother of retired FSO Barry Copenhaver, died on Jan. 17 in Cuero, Texas, her home since the early 1950s. “Memo,” as she was known to her many Foreign Service friends, had vis- ited her son and daughter-in-law in Panama, Bonn, Lahore, Mexico, Mon- rovia, Islamabad, Kinshasa and Braz- zaville. She also visited her grand- daughter Jill Copenhaver, then work- ing for the State Department in Conakry. Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Jan. 27, 1917, Mrs. Copenhaver was adventurous throughout her life. She rode the Eurorail with her grandchil- dren and relearned how to ride a bike in Germany at the age of 72. Later, she hailed rickshaws in Lahore to go shopping, saw the Khyber Pass and rode the train to Peshawar. And on her 80th birthday, she was honored with a celebration in the Marine House garden in Monrovia, Liberia. Her last trip was to Kinshasa, at the age of 88, where she traveled into the hinterlands to see the bonobos and I N M EMORY