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The Life of James Richard Johnston

JOHNSTON James Richard Johnston "Jim" (Age 95) Retired Foreign Service Officer and economist died peacefully on November 14, 2019, in Alexandria, VA. Jim was born April 4, 1924, in Chillicothe, OH, to Alex and Edna (Peugh) Johnston. A 1941 graduate of Chillicothe High School, Jim attended Miami University in Oxford, OH, before enlisting in the United States Army Infantry in 1943. After completing basic training in Paris, TX, he was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Because of his affinity for learning languages, he was assigned to study Chinese at the University of Chicago and then transferred to Chunking, China. Following World War II, he returned to the University of Chicago where he earned a Masters' degree in International Relations in 1948. Jim served as a foreign affairs analyst in the US Department of State in Washington, DC, before being assigned to the US Embassy in Taipei, Taiwan (then known as Formosa). Following his marriage in 1953 to Agnes Nasmith, and Senate confirmation as a Foreign Service Officer in 1956, Jim served as Consul in posts in Pakistan, Turkey, and Costa Rica. In 1963 he transferred to the US State Department headquarters in Washington DC, and the family moved to Alexandria, VA. He later transferred to the US Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, where he served as Director of the Developing Nations Division, Bureau of International Commerce, as well as Director, Office of South Asia, until he retired in 1989. Jim was proud of his service to his country, and often assisted in diplomatic and economic negotiations, providing research and writing speeches for Presidents and Cabinet members. He believed in the power of diplomacy to ensure peace and prosperity, and was a dedicated civil servant in both Democratic and Republican Administrations. Jim's faith in the American people and his dedication to a proud and capable federal government was unwavering. A gentle, modest, and generous man, Jim was an avid reader and loved the outdoors, spending summer family vacation camping for weeks at a time. In retirement, he loved to travel, with road trips to Ohio, Texas, Florida, Vermont, and Canada. He was a dedicated correspondent with family and friends from all over the world. Jim also had a lifelong interest in trains, having grown up the son of a conductor in the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Jim never lost his intellectual curiosity, nor his love of language that first set him on his international career. He enjoyed reciting phrases in Chinese, Turkish, and Spanish, as well as poems learned in elementary school, and could often be found looking up information in an almanac or encyclopedia. Jim is survived by his children, Thomas of Alexandria, VA, Susan and daughter-in-law, Laura Steber of Baltimore, MD, and David and daughter-in-law, Kim and grandchildren, Brian, Dan, and Devin Johnston of Lorton, VA. He was preceded in death by his wife, Agnes Nasmith Johnston, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, and brothers, Robert, Walter, and Neil. A celebration of his life will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Floor 17, Chicago, IL 60601.Jim is survived by his children, Thomas of Alexandria, VA, Susan and daughter-in-law, Laura Steber of Baltimore, MD, and David and daughter-in-law, Kim and grandchildren, Brian, Dan, and Devin Johnston of Lorton, VA. He was preceded in death by his wife, Agnes Nasmith Johnston, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, and brothers, Robert, Walter, and Neil. A celebration of his life will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Floor 17,

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Military Service

War:
World War II
Branch:
Army
Rank:
Unknown