PD Editorial: Ted Eliot, Sonoma County’s diplomat

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Ted Eliot was no stranger to battlefields. As the U.S. ambassador in Kabul, he witnessed the revolution in Afghanistan in the late 1970s. After settling in the Sonoma Valley a decade later, he applied his diplomatic skills to local open space and environmental conflicts. Eliot, who died last week at age 91, also was a regular contributor to these pages, generously sharing his knowledge and informed analysis after 9/11 and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan that otherwise might have appeared in much larger newspapers or foreign policy journals.

Eliot had a stellar career: 30 years in the Foreign Service, an ambassadorship, dean of the Fletcher School of Diplomacy at Tufts University. He and his late wife, Pat Eliot, also made a mark on Sonoma County, helping pass and reauthorize the quarter-cent sales tax that funds the open space district; working to preserve the Sonoma Developmental Center property; and establishing a loop trail linking Jack London State Historic Park with county parkland east of Rohnert Park. He said life’s purpose is being “of service.” Ted Eliot was that, and much more.

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