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SELIGMANN Albert L. Seligmann Died peacefully at his home in Alexandria, Virginia on April 5, 2017, at the age of 91. Al had a distinguished career as a foreign service officer. He was born on May 26, 1925 in New York City where he attended Townsend Harris High School, and went on to earn his B.A. at Columbia College. He served in the U.S. Army as a Japanese Language Officer during the Occupation. Upon his return, he received his M.A. from the School of International Affairs at Columbia University and joined the State Department. His assignments took him to Kobe and Tokyo, Japan; Bangkok, Thailand; and West Berlin, Germany. Al served as director of the Office of Japanese Affairs, counselor for Political Affairs in Tokyo, senior Asian Affairs officer on the Policy Planning Staff and executive director of the U.S.-Japan Advisory Commission. He also served as deputy director of the Defense Department's Office of Policy Planning and NSC Affairs and spent a year at the University of Miami as diplomat-in-residence. Following retirement, he became The Asia Foundation's Representative in Japan. Al's intellect, humility, generosity, wit, and his contributions to foreign policy were widely recognized. His deep knowledge and love of Japan fostered many exchanges and partnerships between the two countries. The Japanese government in 1993 honored him at a ceremony at the Japanese Embassy with the Order of the Rising Sun, one of the highest decorations bestowed on foreigners. He and Bobbie, his wife of 69 years, were intrepid travelers-in 2011 they traveled for five weeks by themselves in India. Al's qualities as a diplomat were exemplified by his acute listening powers, his abiding belief that humans had the capacity to make the world a better place for all, his intellectual integrity and moral compass, his pithy speeches, and the power and craftsmanship of his writing. He took it on himself with pleasure to mentor younger people. He had a voracious appetite for learning, as well as for ice cream and chocolate, and he loved music, folk art, stamp-collecting, gardening, playing tennis, photography, and getting to know people from all walks of life. He embraced women's rights without question, and gave his full support to the varied professional career paths Bobbie and his four daughters took. Along with Bobbie, he was an avid participant in cultural activities and lectures as a member of DACOR, the Cosmos Club, and the Asian American Forum. Al is survived by Bobbie; his daughters, Susan Seligmann Moreno, Linda Seligmann (John Cooper), Ann Lyons (Scott Lyons), and Wendy Seligmann (John Schuerman); and his seven grandchildren, Adria Bernardino, Tomas Moreno, Mina Cooper, Sarah Lyons-Padilla, Evan Lyons, Logan Schuerman, and Spencer Schuerman, and one great-grandson, Zander Ryan Mejia. Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to DACOR Baconhouse Foundation, 1801 F Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20006. A celebration of Al's life will be held on June 18, 3:30 p.m., at Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church, 1909 Windmill La., Alexandria, VA 22307.
Published in The Washington Post on Apr. 7, 2017
Arrangements under the direction of:
Demaine Funeral Home
520 South Washington Street | Alexandria, VA 22314 | (703) 549-0074
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