Fred Latimer Hadsel, 94, of Lexington, a career diplomat and retired director (now president) of the George C. Marshall Foundation, died Sunday, April 11, 2010, at his home.
He had lived in Lexington since 1974 following his retirement from the foreign service to serve as director of the Marshall Foundation until 1985. He was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Winifred Nelson Hadsel, in 2009.
“It is hard to overstate the impact of Dr. Hadsel on the Marshall Foundation,” said Brian D. Shaw, current Foundation president. “He created and nurtured three of our cornerstone projects: the Marshall Army ROTC Awards Seminar, the Marshall Undergraduate Scholars Program and The Papers of George Catlett Marshall. After his retirement, Dr. Hadsel remained active in the affairs of the Foundation until his death. We are grateful for his vision, his leadership and his friendship.”
Hadsel’s work at the Foundation included work on the completion of the authorized biography of Marshall by Forrest C. Pogue, who had been his colleague and mentor at the University of Chicago. His last contribution to the Foundation was a history of its first 50 years, from 1955 to 2005.
He was born on March 11, 1916, in Oxford, Ohio, the son of the late Fred Latimer Hadsel and Mary Perine Hadsel. He earned his undergraduate degree (Phi Beta Kappa) at Miami University, where his father was a professor of Latin. He held a master’s degree in history and international relations from Clark University in Massachusetts and a doctoral degree in European history from the University of Chicago. He also studied at the University of Grenoble, France, and the University of Freiburg, Germany. In later years he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree at Miami of Ohio.
Growing up in Oxford, he attended the original McGuffey School. He discovered a love of the French horn and attended the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan, where he studied under John Phillip Sousa. His mother was a Smith College tennis champion in 1900 and he became an avid player, playing for his college team and continuing his interest throughout his life.
During World War II, he served with the First Army as a combat historian in Europe. He later reflected that the military assignment changed the focus of his interest from history to international relations, and from solely academic work to foreign affairs.
He joined the Department of State in 1946, later entering the Foreign Service. He served as First Secretary for African Affairs in London, Deputy Chief of Mission in Ethiopia, Ambassador in Somalia and Ambassador in Ghana, retiring in 1974.
Throughout his career, he drew on his training in history and international relations to teach part-time in several universities and colleges: the School of Government at George Washington University, the Johns Hopkins School of International Affairs and Howard University, all in Washington, D.C., and Virginia Military Institute. He also taught at the University of Keele in England in 1991.
He was a member of R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church. He also belonged to the Fortnightly Club and the Lunch Bunch.
He is survived by his three daughters, Christine Hadsel of Burlington, Vt.; Winifred “Kit” Hadsel Huffman of Lexington; and Jane Hadsel Spooner of London, England; and six grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Marshall Foundation, VMI Parade, P.O. Box 1600, Lexington, Va. 24450.