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Mission Park Funeral Chapel - North
3401 Cherryridge
San Antonio, TX 78230
210-349-1414

Richard Wendell BARHAM


1923 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences Gallery
Richard Wendell BARHAM Obituary
BARHAM, Richard Wendell

Richard Wendell Barham died on March 7. He was born April 29, 1923 in Toccoa, Georgia to Wendell Stacy Barham and Lona Switzer. Shortly after Richard's birth they returned to their home in Dallas, Texas. After completing high school in Dallas and with World War II looming, Richard volunteered for the US Army Air Corp and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in September 1942. He was then sent to an air base in British Guiana where on his first day of duty he met his bride-to-be Elaine Vieira. They came to the US on a troop ship in June 1944. After the war, Richard enrolled at Rice University and later transferred to the University of Texas at Austin and graduated in 1949 with high honors. He then earned a Master's degree from the University of Michigan. Richard developed an interest in political science and began a PhD at Columbia University but the start of his professional career intervened. He returned to his PhD research 30 years later and earned his doctorate in political science from Columbia in 1982. In 1951 he passed the stringent examination process to become a US Foreign Service Officer and underwent training in Washington, D.C. His first diplomatic assignment was with the US Embassy in Oslo, Norway. From there the Foreign Service moved Richard and Elaine with their young family to the British colony of Cyprus which was in the throes of a violent revolt of ethnic Greeks against the governing British. The next assignments were in Washington and New York for special training before taking up a five-year post in Athens, Greece. The Department of State in Washington, D.C. was his final Foreign Service post. Richard's fluency in Greek and knowledge of the country led to several special assignments. He served as escort officer and interpreter for Vice President Lyndon Johnson and a number of cabinet officers and members of Congress. In 1964 he was chosen as State Department escort for President Johnson's wedding of King Constantine of Greece and Princess Anna Marie of Denmark. Richard was awarded the Royal Order of the Phoenix by the Kingdom of Greece. In 1966 Richard left the Foreign Service to take a position in Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (later Exxon Corporation) as advisor on international affairs. For 19 years he covered, at different times, corporate relations with governments in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Far East and Australia. He also dealt with the US Government and international organizations including the United Nations. On retirement from the Exxon Corporation in 1985, Richard and Elaine settled in Austin where he taught occasionally as a Visiting Professor at the University of Texas. Richard was an avid follower of Texas Longhorn football and a benefactor of the University of Texas. Family history became a passion and he took great pride in his membership of the Sons of the American Revolution. Richard is survived by his wife Elaine, three sisters, five children, eight grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.

Services: Graveside services will be held at 11am on Thursday March 13th in San Antonio, Texas at Mission Burial Park North. You may sign the on-line guest book at www.missionparks.com under the obituary section.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Mar. 12 to Mar. 13, 2014
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