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L.R. MacFarlane

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L.R. MACFARLANE Seattle native Lewis Renz Macfarlane, 72, died Easter Sunday 2011 of acute leukemia, with his wife and sons at his bedside. He is survived by his elder brother Alan; sister-in-law Lyn; sons Matt, Andrew and Steve; wife Ann; cousins, nephews, nieces; and brothers-in-law and their families. While a self-described nerd at Roosevelt High School, Lew discovered a comet with a hiking buddy, and described it to Time Magazine as "just about the most beautiful thing I ever saw." After graduating from Stanford in 1961, he spent serious time in the Congo, Vietnam, Tanzania and Nepal in the diplomatic, intelligence and research services of the U.S. State Department. Lew married Ann Griffin, a young Foreign Service Officer from the Bureau of Near East and South Asian affairs, in 1978. In the ensuing decade, they had three boys and shuttled between D.C. and stations abroad; in 1988 he retired from the service and relocated his family back to Seattle. Lew initiated a second career as a trade consultant, teacher, and public speaker, with new emphases on disaster response technology and improving international aid. He was a member of the Pacific Northwest Advisors, the World Affairs Council of Seattle, the Consular Association of Washington State, and an alumnus of the National War College. In recent years he led discussion groups on current events and foreign affairs in retirement communities in our area. Technology to him was nearly incidental - always admirable, but never more interesting than the goals he used it to accomplish. Lew was a zealously dedicated astronomer, diplomat, pianist, gardener, negotiator, hiker, teacher, mentor, uncle, friend, husband, father, and bon vivant. He spoke five languages, was impeccable in matters of courtesy, read multiple books at a given time, and rooted for the Mariners every single year. In his family he is sorely missed, but he will be remembered forever for his gregarious laughter, relentless curiosity, sharp dissection of issues and ideas, and his unbeatable bear hugs. A memorial service will be held at 10:00 am on Friday, April 29, at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Laurelhurst, followed by a private interment in the family plot at Lake View Cemetery. Lew can be remembered at www.lewmacfarlane.com.
Published in The Seattle Times on Apr. 27, 2011
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