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In Memory of Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Swope

We extend our condolences to Betty’s family, friends, and colleagues. We are sad to share her passing on March 9, 2024.

Betty Swope dedicated her Foreign Service career to helping others. Her compassion and commitment left a lasting impact on those she served. Even after retirement, Betty remained a beacon of kindness and mentorship. Many knew her as a dear friend and a tireless advocate for our community.

Notably, Betty played an integral role in managing the jewelry section of our annual Art & Book Fair. Her passion and dedication shone through; her legacy will forever inspire us.

To Betty’s family and friends, we offer our deepest sympathies during this difficult time. 

Below, we have copied her obituary, including the details about the viewing and the funeral service, published by The Washington Post. It can also be accessed here

 With deepest sympathy,


Mary Elizabeth Swope (1944-2024)

By The Washington Post – March 13, 2024

Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Swope, age 79, passed away on March 9, 2024, of congestive lung failure.

Betty was born on March 11, 1944, at Columbia Hospital in Washington, DC, and grew up in Arlington and Herndon, Virginia. She graduated from Mary Baldwin College with a BA and received an MPA from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is also a graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair and the U.S. Department of State Senior Seminar.

Always known as a woman ahead of her time, Betty joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1967, looking for a career that allowed her to travel and serve her country. She remained in the Foreign Service for her entire career, serving with dedication and distinction in multiple countries, including Portugal, Spain, Mexico, France, and Egypt. She was twice appointed Consul General (Cairo and Guadalajara). Also, she held important posts in Washington, DC, as Director of Consular Training at the Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Mexico Border Coordinator, Deputy Director of Management Operations, and in the Consular Affairs Division of the Office of the State Department’s Legal Advisor, working with state and local law enforcement on U.S. treaty obligations when foreign nationals are arrested in the U.S. She was especially committed to consular work and assisting Americans as they worked and traveled overseas. Over the years, Betty received several State Department awards and was an active member of Executive Women at State and the Mentor Program.

Betty believed one of her most important roles was assisting the next generation of State Department staff in their careers. She will long be remembered as a friend and mentor to innumerable junior personnel and individuals interested in diplomatic careers. In retirement, she continued to mentor many. She was a member of Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired (DACOR) and the Associates of the American Foreign Service (AAFSW), for whom she managed the jewelry section of its Annual Book Fair.

Betty is survived by her husband of 43 years, Patrick F Kennedy, also a retired member of the Foreign Service, whom she married on January 31, 1981, in the Bethlehem Chapel at the Washington National Cathedral. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her brother, John W. Swope. She was predeceased by her parents, Ralph R. Swope and Elizabeth Anderson Swope, and one brother, Ralph R. Swope, Jr.