Joseph Palmer II, 80, a retired Foreign Service officer who was a former assistant secretary of state and ambassador to Nigeria and Libya and whose career spanned the years that brought independence to many African nations, died Aug. 15 at his home in Bethesda. He suffered complications after a stroke.
Mr. Palmer joined the Foreign Service in 1939. His involvement in African affairs began in 1941, when he began a four-year tour of duty as a consular officer in Nairobi. From 1945 to 1949, he was assistant chief of the African division of the State Department in Washington.
In 1960, after several other assignments involving Africa, he was the first U.S. ambassador to Nigeria after that country became independent. From 1966 to 1969, he was assistant secretary of state for African affairs.
Mr. Palmer then went to Libya, where he became ambassador five weeks after a military coup overthrew the monarchy and brought Moammar Gadhafi to power.
At that time, the United States maintained a large air base in the country and U.S. oil companies had extensive investments there. Mr. Palmer helped oversee the orderly closing of the air base while protecting U.S. economic interests. In 1972, he retired.
He was a recipient of the State Department's Distinguished Honor Award.
Mr. Palmer was born in Detroit and grew up in Boston. He graduated from Harvard University in 1937, then moved to Washington and attended Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.
He had served in London in the early 1950s and in what is now Zimbabwe from 1958 to 1960. In 1964, he was director general of the Foreign Service in Washington. He held that job until he was named assistant secretary for African affairs.
In retirement, Mr. Palmer was an associate in international relations at the Seven Springs Center in Mount Kisco, N.Y., a director of the Foreign Student Service Council, secretary-treasurer of the American Foreign Service Association, chairman of the editorial board of the American Foreign Service Journal and a member of DACOR (Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired).
Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Margaret Jones Palmer of Bethesda; three children, Heather Palmer Jafari of Gaithersburg, Joseph Woodbury Palmer of Tybee Island, Ga., and Thomas Jones Palmer of Kensington; and eight grandchildren.
State Department Employee
Marian Conway Trumbull Christie, 98, a retired State Department employee who was a founding member of the Decatur House Council of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, died Aug. 16 at the Washington Home. She had a lung ailment.
She worked for the State Department for 26 years before retiring in 1967. She had been a desk officer in the educational and cultural exchange office's Middle Americas program. She was classified as a Foreign Service officer.
Mrs. Christie, a Washington native and resident, had been a social secretary in the 1920s and 1930s. She had worked for the Brazilian and Belgian embassies and the Dutch and Canadian legations.
Her husband, Loring Christie, whom she married in 1940, died in 1941. She leaves no immediate survivors.
LLOYD T. SHANLEY III
Lloyd T. Shanley III, 45, a partner since 1982 in the law firm of Blumenthal & Shanley, died Aug. 13 at his vacation home in Charles Town, W.Va. He had AIDS.
Mr. Shanley, a Washington resident since 1977, was a criminal defense lawyer.
He was a native of Harwinton, Conn., and a graduate of Georgetown University and its law school. He also studied at the University of Heidelberg. Before opening his practice, he did legal work in Washington.
He was a member of poetry study groups.
Survivors include his wife, Carol Blumenthal of Washington and Charles Town; his parents, Helen Jasch Shanley and Lloyd T. Shanley Jr., brother, William B. Shanley, and a sister, Nancy Schnyer, all of Harwinton; and a half-brother, John Creel of Charleston, S.C.