In Memoriam Harry Kendall 1919-2009
Harry Kendall, a retired Foreign Service Officer with the United States Information Agency and long-time IEAS employee, died in Oakland on January 18 after a long illness. He was 89.
Kendall was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, December 1, 1919, to Charles and Helen Davies Kendall, the seventh of eight children. In 1940, he enlisted in the Army Airways Communication Squadron and trained as a radio operator at Scott Field, Illinois. Subsequently he served at air bases in Florida, Texas and Louisiana. In 1943, as part of the 14th Air Force under General Claire Chennault, he was posted to China to handle communications in support of air traffic from India supplying American and Chinese forces fighting Japan. Starting in November 1944, he helped prepare weather reports for US operations over Japan.
After the war, he completed a BA in journalism and political science at LSU and an MA in international relations at Yale. He pursued post-graduate work at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and worked as a reporter for the Charlotte Observer. In 1951 he married Margaret Munch of Chapel Hill who accompanied him throughout his Foreign Service career.
In 1951, Kendall joined the U.S. Information Agency, "telling America's story to the world." Assignments included information and cultural roles in Venezuela, Japan, Spain, Washington DC, Panama, Chile, Vietnam and Thailand. During his first Washington assignment he served as USIA/NASA Liaison in the early days of manned space flight (Mercury and Gemini programs), channeling information on the U.S. space program to USIA posts around the world. Later he lectured throughout Latin America on the Apollo moon program.
Kendall joined the UC Berkeley Institute of East Asian Studies in 1980 as the international conference coordinator. He co-edited books on Vietnam, Mongolia, Japan and Southeast Asia, and published accounts of his wartime and Foreign Service experiences in two books, Beyond Magnolias—My First 30 Years, and A Farm Boy in the Foreign Service.
He is survived by his wife and three daughters, Betsy and Judith Kendall of Berkeley and Nancy Hewitt of Korea, and by three grandchildren, Jonathan, Georgia Li, and Cherisa Hewitt.
A memorial reception will be held on Saturday, January 31, 2009, at 2:00 p.m. at All Souls Episcopal Church, Parish Hall, 2220 Cedar Street (at Spruce) in Berkeley, California.