William Eagleton
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Obituary for William L. Eagleton

William L.  Eagleton

Obituary for William Eagleton

Ambassador William Lester Eagleton Jr, born in Peoria, Illinois August 17, 1926, passed away peacefully at his home in Taos, New Mexico on January 27, 2011.

He graduated from Peoria High School in 1943, served in the Navy at the end of WW2, graduated from Yale University, Institut des Sciences Politiques Paris, and Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

William Eagleton embarked on a remarkable 42 year career in the US Foreign Service, which began in Madrid and subsequently took him to Syria, Lebanon, Northern Iraq, Iran, Mauritania, London, Yemen, Algeria, Libya, Iraq, and Syria again where he served as Ambassador. Following retirement from the Foreign Service, he launched a second career with the United Nations, first as Deputy of UNRWA in Vienna, then as Special Coordinator for Sarajevo during the Bosnian war, and finally as Special Representative to the Secretary General for Western Sahara. He briefly rejoined US Government service in 2003, as Special Adviser for Northern Iraq.

Author of two books, the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad (1954), and Kurdish Rugs and Other Weavings (1985), his friendship with the Kurdish people goes back to the early 1950s.

He was preceded in death by his father, William Eagleton Sr, his mother Mary Louise Eagleton (née Chandler), his brother Lee Eagleton, and his son Robert Eagleton. He is survived by his wife Kathleen Eagleton (née Flannigan) and his seven children: Diane Eagleton of Boulder, CO; Marc Eagleton of Altea, Spain; Richard Eagleton of Altea, Spain; Philip Eagleton of Altea, Spain; Anthony (Valerie) Eagleton of Paris, France; John (Bénédicte) Eagleton of Paris, France; and Mary Louise (Sebastian) Eagleton Meaney of Paramaribo, Suriname. Ambassador Eagleton is also survived by his brother Richard (Joyce) Eagleton of Peoria, IL, twenty grandchildren and four soon to be five great grandchildren.

A small gathering to celebrate his life will be held at his home in Taos, NM on February 1st.

A memorial service and interment of his ashes will take place at Rockcreek Park Cemetery in Washington DC in the summer.

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