The founding president of the U.S.-Japan Foundation and a former U.S. diplomat in Japan, Richard W. (Dick) Petree died Feb. 8 at a hospital in Stamford, Connecticut. He was 90 years old.
After service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Petree earned a master’s degree in East Asian studies at Harvard University and entered the U.S. Foreign Service.
A skilled Japanese linguist, his diplomatic career included postings as political counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, consul general in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, and consul in Fukuoka.
After serving as political counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Petree was nominated by President Jimmy Carter to serve as deputy U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations for Security and Political Affairs, with the rank of ambassador. He held that post from 1976 to 1981.
After retiring from the diplomatic corps, he was the founding president of the U.S.-Japan Foundation from 1981 to 1988.
Petree was also a longtime member of the Council On Foreign Relations.
Born in Jamestown, New York, in 1924, he was the son of Noel H. and Merle (Wilson) Petree.
He is survived by his wife, Virginia, son Richard Jr., daughter Susan and son Daniel. Following interment in Boulder, Colorado, a memorial service in Stamford is planned for early April.