Linda Jewell - Additional Appreciations
by Colonel (Ret.) Mark S. Wikins
This photo shows Linda Jewell doing what Foreign Service Officers do best. In 2007, we were working hard with the Ecuadorian military to close off their northern border with Colombia to FARC activities. At that time, the FARC was actively using Ecuadorian territory for all kinds of logistical and support activities. Amb. Jewell, seen here in front of a US transport aircraft, accompanied us right up to the border, where we toured Ecuadorian military facilities and listened to commanders brief how they were organizing to control activities within their assigned areas. It was the first time ever (as far as we could tell) that a US Ambassador visited a “hot” area and all the Ecuadorian Army commanders were impressed, to say the least. This was the Amb Jewell I admired and was privileged to serve alongside.
(Col. Wilkins served twice with Amb. Jewell: Once in Costa Rica when she was the Chargé d’Affaires for an extended period of time and again in Ecuador, where he served as her Defense and Army Attaché.)
by Susan Damowitz
Linda’s death is an immeasurable loss to her family, to her colleagues, friends, and people who will never know her. One of the smartest people I have ever known, she could have been an intimidating mentor to a clueless new Foreign Service Officer (me), but she was the best mentor anyone could have, not only professionally, but personally. Her integrity, intelligence, wit, generosity, empathy, leadership, courage, and grace only scratch the surface of who she was. Like her, I was a mother of small children, sometimes struggling to balance work and home; she exemplified, for me, how to sort out priorities, and be an engaged parent and human being, while working for the Department of State. She was a legendary manager and supervisor – humane, effective, hard-working; and she set the standard against which I measured all the managers I ever worked for, and the standard which I tried to emulate when it was my turn to manage.
Her work after retirement benefitted many, and her volunteer activities were helping to mitigate the cruelty of the current administration’s immigration policies.
We will miss her enormously. Thank you, dear friend, for making a difference in the world.
by Greta Morris
I first met Linda Jewel and her husband, John Walsh, in 1978 in Jakarta, Indonesia. They were on their first Foreign Service tour with the U.S. Information Service. I was in Jakarta as a Foreign Service spouse. Linda and John and my late husband and I became friends and shared some fascinating excursions to different parts of Indonesia. I learned from John and Linda about the work of USIS and the challenges and rewards of being a “tandem couple.” I was searching for a purpose and a career, and it sounded like exactly the kind of work I would be interested in. I took the Foreign Service exam and in 1980, I entered the Foreign Service—the U.S. International Communication Agency, as USIA was called at that time. John and Linda and my husband and I never served together again, but we saw each other between postings and on Washington assignments. In 1992, when my husband died suddenly, Linda and John became my support network. They invited me over for dinner on a regular basis. We were all in language study that year: Linda and John in Polish and I in Thai. Linda called me on a weekly basis to see how I was doing and share stories of the challenges of learning a “hard language.” I looked forward to those calls: they provided a lifeline.
As a fellow woman FSO, Linda was my role model. She was smart, dedicated to her career, and worked hard, but she always had time for other people. After we both retired in 2008, we served together in PDAA and PDC.
After Linda’s diagnosis with cancer, we stayed in touch. I was fortunate to see her a few times between her treatments and family get-togethers and travel. The last time I saw her was right before she and John took a trip to France and Belgium. I had just returned from France and shared tips about hotels, restaurants, museums, and other attractions in Honfleur, where I had spent a week. I was delighted to receive a couple of e-mails from Linda during their trip; she seemed to be having a wonderful time. It was such a shock, and a great sadness, to learn of her passing shortly after her return to Washington. I will greatly miss her friendship, her dedication to public service and the highest American values, and her joie de vivre.
Ambassador Greta Morris was previously President of PDAA