George Rublee II, distinguished foreign service officer, lawyer, and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, died peacefully on Aug. 20, 2020. at RiverMead in Peterborough.
He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Ellen MacVeagh Rublee; and his children from his first marriage to Mariamne M. Newbold: Ann Parker Rublee Contreras Harrington and her daughter, Mariamne Harrington; William Alvah Rublee; John Francis Rublee and his daughters, Molly Rublee, Megan Rublee, Madeleine Rublee, Maisy Rublee and Michelle Rublee; Peter Rublee and his wife, Pamela Rublee nee Bush; and George Gordon Meade Rublee, his wife, Sandra Rublee nee Weigl, and their sons Dylan W. Rublee, Crosby A. Rublee and Myles L. Rublee; and by his wife’s children from her previous marriages: Ellen Warder Gallagher, Arthur Connell Gallagher, Margaretta (Daisy) Gallagher Archie and Francis Hopkinson Gilbert; and her seven grandchildren.
Mr. Rublee was born on Dec. 30, 1925, to Horace Rublee and Thelma Rublee nee Wilson in Chicago. The family moved to Larchmont, N.Y., shortly thereafter, where he attended public schools. He later attended Philips Exeter Academy in Exeter, graduating in 1943. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and began his basic training at Parris Island Recruit Depot, in Beaufort, S.C., in a unit preparing for the land invasion of Japan. Japan’s unconditional surrender on Dec. 2, 1945, resulted in his being released from active service. He remained in the Marine Corps Reserves and later returned to active duty to serve in the Korean War as captain of an amphibious landing unit. Mr. Rublee retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
He graduated from Harvard College in 1948 and from Harvard Law School in 1952 after his service in the Korean War. He joined the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., a firm of which his great-uncle, George Rublee, had been a named partner.
During his time at the firm, he and George Blow took on the pro bono case of EVERETT D. GREEN v. the UNITED STATES of AMERICA. This was a 5th-amendment case involving the principle of double jeopardy that Mr. Rublee and Mr. Blow argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 16, 1957. The Court ruled in the affirmative on Dec. 16, 1957, in an opinion by Mr. Justice Black.
Mr. Rublee left Covington & Burling in 1958 to join the government working for a program that was a final vestige of the Marshall Plan. He became one of the early members of the newly created U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
In 1968, he was appointed legal attache at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam, where he served for two years under Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker. He returned to Washington, D.C., in early 1970 prior to taking up his next posting in Montevideo, Uruguay. This assignment was cancelled at the last moment due to the Tupamaro guerilla insurgency, and he was later assigned to Panama. Prior to moving to Panama, he worked on the Chile desk in Washington, D.C. At this time, Chilean President Salvador Allende was elected, and U.S. Ambassador Ed Korrey praised Mr. Rublee’s support for the embassy in Santiago during that period. In 1971, he became Deputy Director of the USAID mission in the Republic of Panama. Four years into the Panama assignment, the USAID director died, and Mr. Rublee was asked to remain a fifth year as acting director.
In 1975, he returned to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 1975/76 18th Senior Seminar in Foreign Policy, and while there wrote “Panama, Lessons From the Third World,” a case study on farming cooperatives in Panama, lessons which were used to address social issues in the United States.
Mr. Rublee’s next career focus pivoted to the Africa desk, and he was appointed Deputy Director of the Regional Economic Development Services Office in Nairobi, Kenya, from 1978 to 1981. In this capacity he supported the USAID missions from Djibouti to Lesotho. He finished his career in Washington, D.C., in various roles covering Africa until his retirement. He retired to Cornish, and later moved to Dublin.
Mr. Rublee will be buried in the family plot on Platt Road in Cornish.
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