Alpheus W. Jessup
Alpheus W. Jessup
  • June 12, 1917 - November 3, 2017
  • Washington, Virginia

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Alpheus William Jessup of Washington D.C., known to friends as "Bill," passed away at 100 years of age on Friday, November 3, 2017, in Arlington, Virginia. He was born on June 12, 1917, in Warwick, NY to dairy farmer Harold Jessup and his wife Beatrice Mary Baker. As a young teenager during the farm crisis and Great Depression, Bill travelled with his father to California to find work, returning later to upstate New York.
A lifelong Yankees fan, Bill played baseball during high school and was scouted by the New York Yankees as a catcher for their farm team; however, poor eyesight and small hands prevented him from having a baseball career.
Bill attended Lehigh University with the intention to become an engineer. After his first semester he was encouraged to change majors, and graduated in 1938 with a double major in journalism and economics, which served him well over the next eight decades.
Bill was drafted into the US Army in 1942 and was discharged from active duty in 1946 with the rank of Captain; continuing in the Army Reserves until 1953. As part of his service during World War II, he was an instructor of tactics at the Field Artillery School in Fort Sill; received training in Chinese at Yale University, and served with the Chinese Combat Command, for which he received The Breast Order of the Yun Hui Medal from the Chinese government for his outstanding and meritorious service in Burma. After the war, he worked on the editorial staff of Stars & Stripes-China edition from Shanghai before the Communist takeover moved him to Tokyo, where he wrote for publications including Business Week, Aviation Week, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report.
He worked for Esso/Exxon as an advisor on international and governmental affairs from 1963-1982 and after retirement continued to be involved in geopolitical affairs, editing Geopolitics of Energy and Energy Politics. At 99, he continued to read multiple world affairs blogs and countless foreign affairs magazines and online publications to stay current. He would send items of interest almost daily to friends and family encouraging us to fully understand the complexity of world affairs and national politics.
Bill was a member of multiple organizations, including the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Committee on U.S. - China Relations, the National Press Club, and the Cosmos Club.
In his private life, he was a tremendous cook and baker, scouring recipes to find the world's best chocolate layer cake, which was always ready when children and grandchildren arrived for a visit. He loved Peking duck, and even in his 90s, surprised everyone by engaging in lively conversations with the Chinese servers.
Bill leaves behind his loving wife of over 50 years Dorothy D. Jessup, son Alpheus W. Jessup II of Emerald Hills, California, daughter Wendy Claire Jessup of Arlington, VA, and four grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Bill's name to the American Diabetes Association and Johns Hopkins Medicine.