William Culbert of Maple Valley passed on January 13, 2019 from complications related to Alzheimer’s at the age of 93.
He was a career U.S. Foreign Service Officer from 1951 to 1979 with service in Japan, Western Europe, and Washington, D.C. He was awarded a Superior Honor Award by the Secretary of State in 1966 for his role in persuading reluctant U.S. Government agencies to accept a major shift in American international trade policy to authorize trade preferences for developing countries. He was one of the foremost U.S. trade policy experts having participated in numerous ‘rounds’ of international trade negotiations, including serving as Deputy Chief of Mission to the U.S. Delegation to the Tokyo Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland. After leaving the State Department, he joined the corporate offices of The Boeing Company in Seattle for 8 years, where he was Deputy Director for Issues Management.
In his retirement, Mr. Culbert joined his wife Betty on many hiking, camping, and horse packing trips across the Pacific Northwest; he also traveled abroad with her in Europe, Russia, and Japan. He was especially fond of taking walks with their dogs Cooper, and then Samantha.
Mr. Culbert was a graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. Mr. Culbert was an accomplished singer, having trained as a youngster at St. Peter’s Choir School in Philadelphia, PA and later performed with numerous singing groups in Washington, D.C., including the National Cathedral Choir. In Japan, he sang with Kurusawa’s Madrigal singers. In 1985, he performed with George Shangrow’s Chamber Singers in Seattle, WA for a full year of all of J.S. Bach’s great works on the occasion of Bach’s tricentennial. He never failed to entertain friends around the campfire with his trained singing voice, giving playful renditions of classical arias.
Mr. Culbert is survived by his wife of 68 years, Elizabeth, 5 children, 11 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandsons on the way. As a veteran of World War II, he will be interred at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, WA.