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Walter P. Coombs

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Walter P. Coombs Obituary
August 20, 1918 - March 31, 2013
Walter Coombs, Founding Executive Director, LA World Affairs Council Walter P. Coombs died on March 31, 2013 in Pomona, California. He was 94 years of age. Coombs was born in Missoula, Montana in 1918; he graduated from the University of Montana in 1939 and received his J.D. degree there in 1941. He was active in local politics, worked on Montana Governor Sam Ford's election campaign, and subsequently served in the Governor's office in Helena. Later, in the 1940s, Coombs worked as an anti-trust Attorney for the Justice Department in San Francisco prior to accepting a position with the State Department. He was then posted to the Philippines and assisted in crafting that newly independent country's constitution after the War. In 1953 Coombs accepted the position of founding Executive Director of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, a position he held for 14 years. Under his guidance the organization became one of the premier Councils in the United States. It hosted world leaders, dignitaries, and statesmen from this country and from around the world at luncheon speeches and evening gatherings in Los Angeles. Partly due to his leadership of the World Affairs Council Coombs received the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II in 1967. After leaving the World Affairs Council, Coombs worked as an administrative assistant at the Office of the Chancellor of the California State University. He then accepted a position as Professor of Social Sciences at Cal Poly Pomona in 1971. He enjoyed teaching and his class on American Civilization was popular with students. While at the university he was active in the Cal State University State-wide Academic Senate and he served many years as chairman of the Social Sciences Department. He retired from Cal Poly in 1992. Coombs served on numerous commissions and boards, including the LA Judicial Procedures Commission and the LAPD Board of Rights Commission. He was an official for the 1984 LA Olympics, the LA World Cup Match, and was a member of the Los Angeles Bicentennial Committee in 1981. He also served on the Los Angeles County Grand Jury. He has resided the past 12 years at Mt. San Antonio Gardens Senior Community in Pomona. Dr. Coombs is survived by a brother, Leonard, in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and a nephew, Robert, in Truckee, California.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on May 5, 2013
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