Frederick Emmett Machmer
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Frederick Emmett Machmer
  • April 12, 1940 - November 18, 2017
  • Alexandria, Virginia

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Dr. Frederick (Rick) E. Machmer, Jr., a Senior Foreign Service Officer with the rank of Minister Counselor, who served as USAID Mission Director? in seven overseas posts in his 35-year career, including Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Nepal, and Tbilisi, Georgia, died November 18 in his home in Alexandria, Virginia. He was 77. The cause of death was complications from pancreatic cancer, resulting in heart failure.
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In addition to his role as USAID Director, Dr. Machmer served as Director of the USAID/Washington Office of Middle East Affairs, an office which included Iraq in its portfolio.? At that time, he was also named acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Asia/Near East Bureau (a role that is equivalent to a deputy assistant secretary of state). His work as Senior Foreign Service Officer includes extensive roles in the Middle East - as Head of the 1994 U.S. Government Delegation to the regional Middle East Peace Conference in Cairo, Egypt; as USAID Disaster Resistance Team (DART) leader for Afghanistan (2001); and as Senior Development Advisor, Senior Deputy Civilian Representative, and Chief of the Office of Stabilization, Regional Command-East, Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan (2009-2010). He also led USAID disaster response efforts in Ethiopia and Georgia in 2000.??

In 2002, Dr. Machmer made a presentation on the subject of civilian-military cooperation in Afghanistan to the senior staff of the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii, which culminated in an article- "Reflections of Afghanistan," on the pivotal period before and after September 11, 2001. The piece was published in The Liaison, a publication of the Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance in Honolulu.??

Dr. Machmer earned numerous awards during his career, including the 2001 State Department Group Meritorious Honor Award "For outstanding sustained effort to prevent a human catastrophe in Ethiopia," the 1992 Presidential Meritorious Honor Award from George H.W. Bush, a USAID Distinguished Honor Award (1988), and, in 1985, a USAID Superior Honor Award.??

Dr. Machmer was born in Sunbury, Pennsylvania and subsequently spent his younger years in Akron, Ohio until he enrolled in Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio as an undergraduate student. After earning his degree at Mount Union, he attended Cornell University where he received a Doctorate in International Law. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Nigeria and Liberia, and was a member of the American Foreign Service Association, the National Peace Corps Association, and the Belle Haven Homeowners' Neighborhood Association.??

Dr. Machmer spent the nearly 25 years in the Belle Haven neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia. He is survived by his beloved Golden Labrador Retriever, Jessie, who has a new home with a caring family in the neighborhood. Surviving relatives are cousins Joan Altmayer (Parma, Ohio), Mike McDonnell (Mashpee, MA), and Pat (McDonnell) Long (Dade City, Florida). Most notably, Dr. Machmer will be greatly missed by family, friends and colleagues throughout the world and his neighborhood family, especially Mary Panus and her husband, Dr. Thomas Wall.? Ms. Panus, cousin Joan Altmayer, Hospice nurses and Certified Nurse Assistants cared for him in his home over the last several months.? Ms. Altmayer, her niece Laura Marlow (Kent, Ohio), her daughter Lyz Bly (Cleveland Heights, Ohio), and her son Gary Bly (Strongsville, Ohio) honor his memory as a hero-humanitarian who sought and spread peace throughout the world.

Dr. Machmer requested that no funeral service be held; his family and friends are planning a celebratory gathering honoring him in March (2018). He was an animal lover and a proud graduate of Mount Union College and Cornell; gifts to Cornell University Law School, Mount Union College Scholarship Fund, and The Muffin Fund of Belle Haven Animal Medical Center may be made in his honor.
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Dr. Machmer's home was his comfortable refuge, with his muse, Petruk, a Javanese-created character of the ancient Indian text Mahabharata, displayed in front of the fireplace. Petruk was both a prankster and a furious warrior of the people. His Indonesian puppet wears this hand-written description around his neck: ??

"PETRUK
All seeing inside night Jaga?
Never sleeps?
Keeps tab[s] on everything?
Sometimes sees too much?
Remains discreetly silent"?