The Honorable Terence Todman passed away on August 13, 2014 in a hospital in the U.S.Virgin Islands. He was 88. Between 1969 and 1989 he served in the U.S. Department of State (DOS). He was ambassador to Chad, Guinea, Costa Rica, Spain, Denmark, Argentina and was appointed Career Ambassador in 1989. Between 1977 and 1978 he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
Todman served in the Army during World War II and was deployed to the Pacific theater. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico in 1951. At news of his passage, the office of the Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement praising Todman’s service to the DOS and the nation. “Terence was known for his outspokenness and his advocacy for equality during a time of segregation, when few minorities could be found at any level in the State Department.”
Throughout his five decades of national service, Todman confronted pervasive institutional racism. He was a vocal critic of the “ghetto assignment of blacks to Africa or to Caribbean nations,” which he still saw practiced as late as 1990. His mother was a maid and his father was a stevedore. Reflecting on his passing, Kerry’s office expressed their condolences for a career diplomat whose “loss will be felt around the world, and whose legacy will continue to inspire foreign affairs professionals.”
Terence Todman earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School in 1952.
For more information see Todman’s obituary in the “Washington Post.”