George M. Barbis, Foreign Service officer

June 20, 2013

This obituary has been revised to reflect the following correction: George M. Barbis served in South Korea from 1953 to 1955 and in Thailand from 1959 to 1961.

George M. Barbis
Foreign Service officer

George M. Barbis, a career Foreign Service officer whose assignments included Greece, Thailand, South Korea and Iran, died May 24 at a hospital in New Haven, Conn. He was 86.

The cause was complications from pneumonia, said his wife, Patricia Quinn Barbis.

Mr. Barbis worked for the State Department from 1950 until retiring in 1992 as adviser to the board chairman of the Panama Canal.

After an early assignment in Tehran, he worked in South Korea as an economic and political officer from 1953 to 1955. From 1959 to 1961, he was in Thailand as principal officer in the city of Chiang Mai.

He held jobs as an analyst in Washington before a series of European postings starting in the late 1960s. From 1975 to 1979, Mr. Barbis was political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Athens. Back in Washington, he advised three U.S. Army chiefs of staff on foreign policy and national security from 1980 to 1989.

He was a recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award.

George Milton Barbis was born in Visalia, Calif., to Greek immigrants. The family had returned to Greece by the time World War II broke out, and Mr. Barbis and several other members of his immediate family could not leave during the subsequent Axis occupation. He graduated from high school in Greece.

After brief service in the U.S. Army after the war, Mr. Barbis received a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of California at Berkeley in 1950 and a master’s degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University in 1952.

Mr. Barbis lived in Bethesda and St. Michaels, Md., before moving to North Branford, Conn., in 2010.

Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Patricia Quinn Barbis of North Branford; two children, Michael Barbis of Rowayton, Conn., and Dina Tresnan of Old Lyme, Conn.; a brother; and four grandsons.

— Stefanie Dazio

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