Miles Stevens Pendleton Jr.


Died December 19, 2009

College: Branford

Widow: Mrs. Miles S. Pendleton
36 Deacon Brown’s Point
North Haven, ME 04853

Children: Constance M., 1970; Nathaniel P., 1973
Grandchildren: Sam, 2009; James, 2011


Miles S., Jr., known as Kim, 70, a retired U. S. Foreign Service officer, died December 19, 2009, at his home in Washington, DC. The cause was Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. In his 30-year career he served in Tel Aviv, Bujumbura, Brussels, London, Paris and Washington, DC. In retirement he was active in the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Research Consortium and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Born in Montclair, NJ on March 22, 1939, Kim Pendleton grew up in Andover, MA, graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, and Yale College, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and received a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University in 1967 and a diploma from the National War College in 1980. He was the son of Miles S. Pendleton and Lucille Bond Pendleton. He taught in Ghana from 1962 to 1964. He joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1967 was assigned to Tel Aviv, where he served as a vice consul and staff assistant to the ambassador, Walworth Barbour, followed by a tour in Bujumbura during the ethnic strife between Tutsis and Hutus in 1972. In Washington DC, he served as a staff officer on the Secretariat Staff, going on several of the Kissinger shuttle flights, and then special assistant to Robert S Ingersoll, the Deputy Secretary of State, 1974-1976. From 1979 to 1985 he served as Deputy Director of the Office of Northern European Affairs during the Falkland Islands War in the spring of 1982, Director of the Office of Israel and Arab-Israel Affairs during the Israeli Lebanon incursion later in 1982, and Executive Assistant to Michael H. Armacost, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. He was Minister Counselor for Political Affairs in London from 1985 to 1989 and Paris from 1989 to 1993. Known for his ready smile and white hair, he surrounded himself with friends, loved conversation, and treated anyone he met with consideration and kindness. Courageous and honest in all matters, but particularly in facing cancer, he possessed a keen, independent mind and was passionate for the causes he supported including the schools he loved. He loved to be in Maine, to sail, and to read The New York Times and The Washington Post. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Elisabeth Morgan Pendleton, his son Nathaniel Pendleton of Washington, DC, his daughter Constance Pendleton and son-in-law Jason Gross of Washington DC and a grandson, a brother, Lea Pendleton of Marblehead, MA and a sister Lissa Pendleton of Westford, MA. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, January 14 at 11am at St Alban’s Episcopal Church, 3001 Wisconsin Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. 20016. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Trustees of Phillips Academy, 180 Main Street, Andover, MA 01810-4161 or the Washington Hospital Center Foundation 110 Irving Street NW, EB 1001, Washington DC 20010-2975 for the benefit of the Washington Cancer Institute,

From The Washington Post Miles “Kim” Pendleton Jr., 70, a Foreign Service officer, died of chronic lymphocytic leukemia Dec. 19 at his Washington home. Mr. Pendleton served in the Foreign Service from 1967 until retiring in 1997, working first in Israel and Burundi. Ethnic strife between Hutus and Tutsis in the Atrican country left 200,000 dead in 1972. In an oral history interview, Mr. Pendleton said that three weeks after he and his wife had hosted a dinner party, all of their guests were dead. Between filing dispatches to Washington, Mr. Pendleton found himself caught in the uproar. “”The daily events were really quite traumatic,” he said. “For instance, we had a Hutu gardener who hid in our house. We stashed him even at one point in our bedroom. And then he went crazy and went out and killed his mother and escaped from our garden compound. We had Hutus and Tutsis working for us. One is here in the United States now, is an American citizen, who helped raise our children for many years, a Rwandan Tutsi. Her son is my godson and in the U.S. Army out in Oklahoma.” Mr. Pendleton returned to Washington and after several years was assigned to the NATO mission in Belgium. He became one of the top Americans dealing with the Falklands War between Great Britain and Argentina. He was director of the Office of Israel and Arab-Israeli Affairs during the Israeli invasion of Beirut in 1982 and when the Marine barracks in Lebanon were attacked in 1983. Mr. Pendleton was a top political affairs officer in London in 1988 at the time of the downing of the Pan Am jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. He was in Paris from 1989 to 1993 during the Persian Gulf War and the U.S. invasion of Panama. In his last postings, Mr. Pendleton taught strategy at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and served in the office of ecology and terrestrial conservation at the State Department. Miles Stevens Pendleton Jr. was born March 22, 1939, in Montclair, N.J., and graduated from Yale University. He taught school in Ghana from 1962 to 1964, then received a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University in 1967. He testified before Congress on behalf of increased funding for blood cancer research. He enjoyed sailing, listening to broadcast news and annotating articles in The Washington Post and the New York Times. Survivors include his wife of 42 years, Elisabeth Morgan Pendleton of Washington; two children, Nathaniel Pendleton and Constance Pendleton, both of Washington; a sister; a brother; and a grandson.

In Memory of Kim Pendleton

In many ways, today is a day for which Kim had spent the past several years preparing us. Like many of you, I saw this day creeping up. And yet the preparation does nothing to change how sad I am that I have lost my friend. I know that many of you must feel the same way. You all will have your own treasured memories of Kim.

Kim was my friend for almost 50 years – beginning in our junior year at Yale. Although from very different backgrounds and different parts of the country, we pursued many similar interests and had careers that overlapped on several occasions. Our international lives caused us to meet not just in Washington, but in diverse places around the globe. I still vividly remember meeting in Ghana when we were newly minted college graduates – and were both teaching in West Africa. I can remember sitting in a dark, local restaurant in Koforidua sharing stories and feelings about our experiences. And we met on many other planned occasions: in Burundi, in London, in Brussels, in Paris and elsewhere.

But the thing about Kim was that you could never predict where you might run into him. For example, in Prague, in an American Express Travel office, I turned around and saw Kim. We went out for dinner and drinks that night, of course. And there I was in Alicante, Spain, running to seek shelter to get out of a driving rain, and I literally bumped into this fellow shelter seeker, looked up and realized I had collided with Kim. And his timing that trip was particularly good, as I persuaded him to join me in Majorca to spend part of my Mother’s second honeymoon with her and my stepfather, so I would not be quite as much of a third wheel.

Our lives paralleled in other ways, too. At one point, we even both worked at the same time in the same office – that of Deputy Secretary of State Bob Ingersoll. Kim was beginning a hard-driving two years in that office, just as I was leaving the same hectic lifestyle.

In his career at the State Department, Kim was a star. In preparation for today’s eulogy and in an effort to learn even more about Kim’s career than his modesty led him to share, I read the 250 page interview he provided to the Foreign Affairs Oral History Project. From that interview, you see what a major factor Kim was many aspects of U.S. foreign policy for 30 years. I am sure few people of our generation or any other for that matter had roles for as long or with as many top level State Department offices as did Kim.

Additionally, his work in wide-ranging assignments in Burundi and Israel — and in the environment affairs office — demonstrates how his personal values and humanity drove his professional work in pursuit of national and international interests. His performances were rewarded with important and interesting assignments – and with fast promotions. In fact, he was an example within the State career system of how outstanding performers could be promoted too fast for the welfare of their own careers. The system was unfair. But the country – and many senior diplomats – benefitted greatly from Kim’s service.

Kim was one of the hardest workers I saw in the State Department – or anywhere. He knew that his assignments and personal work ethic required sacrifices by E and his children, Connie and Nathaniel. That bothered him. But he often told me how much he delighted in sharing so many of his experiences around the world with them.

Many of us were baffled by Kim’s breadth of friends and uncanny knowledge of people. Mention the name of almost anyone who had done anything – and Kim had in-depth stories to share. He knew many – and he had an encyclopedic knowledge of the backgrounds and personal histories of even many more – especially if there were New England roots involved. Some of us wondered whether he and E had developed a new Ancestry board game.

Attending an event at the Kennedy Center, Kim would know half the audience – whom he would freely introduce to you – making you sound like a unique star. He could be a compass for those who knew him well. He always knew someone he would turn to in order to connect you, to solve your problem, or to offer an opportunity.

I learned very early on that Kim had contracted CLL – in 1989, I believe. He had been told he had five years to live. Yes, that was more than 20 years ago. His subsequent confrontation with CLL – and his efforts to combat it, to ensure that it received its fair share of research funds and attention, and his interaction with doctors and politicians on behalf not so much of himself but of future CLL patients is worthy of a book. He struggled with CLL somewhat like Sisyphus – but he struggled in a way to think that the large boulder WOULD make it over the summit – and he would combat that rare and deadly disease.

Kim had a spirit and joy of life. He made people feel special, looking for some way to help you or a friend – always looking out for someone else’s welfare – one of the most caring people you could meet.

Honestly, I felt closer to Kim than even to many members of my own family. Ours was a wonderful 49 year friendship. I miss him. But the legacies he has left through his diplomatic service and through his many friendships and his family will endure long after all of us are gone.

January 14, 2010

Miles S. Pendleton, Jr., known as Kim, was a U. S. Foreign Service officer for 30 years serving in Tel Aviv, Bujumbura, the U.S. mission to NATO in Brussels, London, Paris and the Department of State. He worked on many of the key issues of U.S. foreign policy during those years including Israel during its incursion into Lebanon and the United Kingdom during the Falkland Islands war. He was happiest when he was working at the State Department in the 70’s and 80’s as office director, executive assistant and special assistant to several of the principal officers of the Department and being one of a small group who were present when U.S. foreign policy was being made. In 1998, he gave an extensive interview for the Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection, produced by the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, which is available on the Library of Congress website [], where he discusses his career and thoughts about the conduct of U.S foreign policy. His friends and colleagues remember him for his dedication, integrity, intelligence, and unfailing good humor. I think of his big smile and shock of white hair, his love for us his family, and his kindness to other people.

Kim arrived at Andover a most uncertain day student, but after four years there and four at Yale he became an excellent student who enjoyed thinking deeply and widely and writing proficiently. He went to teach in Ghana in 1962 at the urging of Bill Coffin and returned two years later knowing that he wanted to be a U.S. Foreign Service officer.

I met him when we were both in graduate school at Harvard. He won me with his smile. I was attracted to his thoughtfulness and even temper after three years among the bruising egos of Harvard Law School. Forty-three years later, I still admired and loved him for those qualities and did not regret our life on four continents and six cities.

Kim made friends everywhere and kept up with them throughout his life with phone calls, letters, email, and visits. He would run into people on the Serengeti Plain or the steps of the Ritz. He loved parties, big and small, and was a wonderful host because he paid attention to each guest and got people talking about interesting subjects. At our dinner parties, he would invite journalists, scholars, elected officials, diplomats, writers, and artists and engage them in lively conversation. Our daughter, Connie, and son, Nathaniel, grew up moving every few years, with all the adjustments it entailed, but having the adventures of life overseas. Among the many memories I have are seeing the game parks in Africa, the Normandy beaches, Ascot in the royal enclosure with Kim in elegant morning coat and top hat, a state dinner at the White House and a white-tie reception at Buckingham Palace.

Kim was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in 1989 and lived with the disease for twenty years. He learned as much as he could about the disease, lobbied and testified for additional funds for research on blood cancer for the National Institutes of Health, sat on the public policy board of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and worked for the CLL Research Consortium. A happy note in the last year of Kim’s life was the arrival of his first grandson, Sam, who has his grandfather’s dark eyes and magic smile and brought Kim great pleasure.

—by E Pendleton