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Obituary: Highly-respected US diplomat who served as consul general in Belfast

 

Samuel Bartlett, who passed away at his home in Plymouth, Massachusetts, was a former US diplomat in Belfast. He was 82.

He was a strong character with great charm and a lively sense of humour who served as the consul general here from 1983 to 1986.

He was respected on all sides as he kept the US government informed about the latest developments in Northern Ireland during a period of violence and political intransigence.

Samuel B Bartlett was born in Boston in 1935 and educated at Noble and Greenough School. Later he studied history at Dartmouth College and graduated in 1957.

He then served in the National Guard before entering Harvard Law School in 1961.

He later joined family law firm Ely Bartlett Brown and Proctor, before joining the US Foreign Service in 1965.

He served in Paris, The Hague, Cebu in the Philippines, Ottawa, San Salvador and Belfast, and finally at the State Department in Washington.

His widow Joan told the Belfast Telegraph: "Sam loved those years in Belfast.

"We both did, and we treasured the memories and friends we made, and the craic."

Many of those friendships continued long after the Bartletts left Belfast, and they regally entertained their Northern Ireland friends, and many others, in their distinctive cliff-based house overlooking the ocean in Plymouth.

Sam's posting to Belfast posed big challenges for any diplomat, but his previous work in El Salvador had given him wide experience in another complex political situation.

He was an enthusiastic sailor, both on his own boats and those of his friends. He took part in the challenging Fastnet Race on a Dutch boat, and also in the Hong Kong to Manila race. He was also a keen tennis player.

He retired from the US State Department in 1986 and became corporate secretary to the Amoskeag Company in Boston.

He then went on to work for the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Abuse.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, the former Joan Harding, and by his children Tom, Molly and Mary and their spouses, as well as eight grandchildren, his wider family and many friends, including those on this side of the Atlantic who remember him with great affection.

Belfast Telegraph

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