In Memoriam – Claire Bogosian, Former AAFSW SOSA Chair

(adapted from the Foreign Service Journal obituary)

Claire Mornane Bogosian, 81, wife of ambassador (ret.) Richard W. Bogosian, died on Nov. 23, 2019, in Montgomery Village, Md., after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Claire Mornane was born in Medford, Mass., on Dec. 20, 1937. A 1959 graduate of Boston State Teachers College, she taught in public schools in Medford, Mass., Harvey, Illinois, at the American School of Baghdad, and at the Christ Episcopal Day School in Rockville, Md. Employed by the Montgomery county Recreation Department (1982-1985) she managed programs at county senior centers.

Mrs. Bogosian accompanied her husband to assignments in Baghdad, Paris, Kuwait, Khartoum, Niamey and N’Djamena. Active in community and social affairs, she was vice president of the American Women’s Association in Kuwait.

In Niamey and N’Djamena, she organized private financing and devised new programs for both countries’ ministries of health. For example, she oversaw the design and provision of children’s beds for hospitals in Niamey, something that had not existed in Niger until then.

During difficult times at hardship posts, especially in Khartoum, Niamey and N’Djamena, Mrs. Bogosian provided support to the American community by opening the ambassador’s residence to the community, even feeding dozens of frightened and vulnerable Americans in post-coup N’Djamena in December 1990.

In Niamey she taught sewing to young teens. She was especially attentive to Peace Corps Volunteers in Niger and Chad, and to Americans coping with very stressful environments in Kharrtoum and N’Djamena.

In the 1990s, Mrs. Bogosian was active in the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW). For several years, she managed the AAFSW Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA). She was a recipient of the award in 2002.

During this period, she was often called on to address the ambassadors’ course at the Foreign Service Institute about the role of the ambassador’s spouse. She also spoke about Africa at elementary schools in Montgomery County.

Friends remember her as a dedicated teacher, a loving wife and mother, and a mentor and model for younger Foreign Service families.

Mrs. Bogosian leaves behind her husband of 58 years, Richard; her son, David of Brooklyn, N.Y.; her daughters, Jill of Somerville, Mass., and Catherine of Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.; their spouses and five grandchildren.