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James O'D. Maher, Foreign Service officer

James O'D Maher, a retired Foreign Service Officer, died.

James O'D. Maher, a retired Foreign Service officer and volunteer, died Jan. 31 at his home in Washington's Adams Morgan neighborhood of cancer. He was 93.

The son of Thomas F. Maher, a Mountain Valley Water salesman, and Florence O'Donnell Maher, a homemaker, James O'Donnell Maher was born in Middletown, R.I., and spent his early years in Washington before moving with his family to Catonsville.

He was a 1939 graduate of Loyola High School and earned a bachelor's degree in 1943 from what is now Loyola University Maryland.

During World War II, he served as a squad leader for the Army's 158th Field Artillery and at the end of the war was discharged with the rank of sergeant.

In 1947, he earned a master's degree from Thunderbird School of Global Management, and began his banking career working for Citibank in New York City and later in Rio de Janeiro.

Mr. Maher took a job in 1953 as a financial officer for Radio Free Europe in Lisbon, Portugal, and then returned to Rio de Janeiro in 1962 when he joined the Foreign Service and served with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

During his years with the agency, he served in Brazil, Senegal, Tunisia and Mozambique, among other places. He retired in 1987 and moved to Franktown, Va.

He was active with Habitat for Humanity in Franktown, on Virginia's Eastern Shore, where he also persuaded a local private school to offer scholarships to African-American students.

Mr. Maher, who had also lived in Easton, was married twice to the former Diana Harvie. He married her for the first time in 1953 and divorced her in 1973. He remarried her in 1998.

Mr. Maher was an animal lover and enjoyed traveling.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Maher is survived by two sons, James O'D. Maher II of Potomac and Kenneth Maher of Chevy Chase; three daughters, Coimbra Sirica of Northport, N.Y., Diana Deger of Palm Gardens, Fla., and Nathalie Acerra of Exmoor, Va.; three brothers, Dr. P. Kenerick Maher of Baltimore, Erney Maher of Chestertown and Raymond Maher of Cape May, N.J.; sisters Emma Gaines of Ruxton, Marydonna Anand of Mumbai and Florence Cromwell of Santa Fe, N.M.; and eight grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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