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Obituary for Myles Robert Rene Frechette

Myles Robert Rene Frechette (age 81)
After a valiant battle against cancer, Ambassador Myles Frechette died July 1, 2017, at Casey House Montgomery Hospice in Rockville, Maryland. He is survived by Barbara, his beloved wife of 54 years, his devoted daughter and son, Alicia and Stephen, and his five loving grandchildren, Christian, Elizabeth. Katherine, William and Emily
Myles was born April 25, 1936 in Santiago Chile where his American father worked as a mining engineer and married Estella Aida Reyes. Myles was sent to an English-speaking boarding school in Santiago to become as proficient in English as he was in Spanish. Myles loved learning foreign languages and learning about the cultures that created them. During his diplomatic career, colloquial Spanish, French and Portuguese were among his greatest assets.
During World War II, his father left Chile with his family to work in Vancouver, British Columbia. There Myles graduated from high school and earned a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in French from the University of British Columbia.
Entering the US Foreign Service in 1963, Myles brought with him not only his language fluency, but also his love of theater and movies. He acted in plays in college and wrote movie reviews for his college paper. Those who knew him well in the Foreign Service would sometimes receive hints of those earlier reviews when he urged them to see a movie he had just enjoyed. His ease in front of cameras and microphones made newsmen seek his opinions about current happenings in Latin America during his diplomatic career and throughout his retirement.
His willingness to accept difficult assignments, such as the Cuba Crisis Task Force when he first entered the Foreign Service during the Kennedy years, led him to assume harder tasks such as Coordinator of Cuban Affairs during the highly controversial 1980 Mariel Boatlift during the Carter years.
In 1984 President Reagan chose him to be Ambassador to Cameroon. After a coup attempt was thwarted shortly after Myles arrived, President Paul Biya asked him for advice about a speech to restore peace. Later, when Cameroon was invited to Washington for an official visit, President Biya asked President Reagan, and was granted, “a fourth- year of Frechette.”
In 1988, Myles was selected by the President’s Executive Exchange Program to work for a year at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Bank in Manhattan to help develop equity trade swaps for third world countries.
Building on his experience at the bank, and having learned Portuguese to serve earlier in Rio de Janeiro, Myles was sent as Consul General from 1989 to 1991 in Sao Paulo, “the economic powerhouse of Brazil”.
From 1989 to 1993 United States Trade Representative Carla Hills asked Myles to be Assistant United States Trade Representative for Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.
His last Foreign Service assignment, and perhaps the most daunting, was as President Clinton’s Ambassador to Colombia from 1994 to 1997 during the most dangerous years of the “Drug War”. Despite facing daily assassination threats from drug traffickers, he actively engaged with the Colombian government and private sector in furtherance of US and Colombian interests and in so doing, developed an extensive network of colleagues and friends with whom he corresponded actively until his death.
He retired from the Foreign Service in 1998, but continued his work as an international trade and business consultant at private sector firms such as Hills and Company and Patton Boggs and as executive Director of the Peruvian Business Council. He was President and CEO of the Americas Society/Council of The Americas; wrote articles and gave speeches; taught a seminar on Latin American business integration to honor students at the University of Central Florida in Orlando: and became a Senior Associate of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC.
There will be a funeral Mass honoring Myles at the Church of the Little Flower at 5607 Massachusetts Ave., Bethesda, MD at Noon on October 18, 2017. Interment will be held privately. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to Montgomery Hospice 1355 Piccard Drive, Suite 100, Rockville, MD 20850, or to a cancer research center of your choice.


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Upcoming Events

Service

Wednesday

18

Oct

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Church of the Little Flower

5607 Massachusetts Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20816


Memorial Contribution

Montgomery Hospice

1355 Piccard Drive, Suite 100
Rockville, MD 20850
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