George Rublee

December 30, 1925 ~ August 20, 2020 (age 94)


George Rublee II, distinguished foreign service officer, lawyer, and US Marine Corp veteran, died peacefully on 20 August 2020 at RiverMead in Peterborough, New Hampshire.  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 née Bush; and George Gordon Meade Rublee, his wife Sandra Rublee née 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 30 Dec 1925 to Horace Rublee and Thelma Rublee née Wilson in Chicago, Ill. The family moved to Larchmont, NY, shortly thereafter where he attended public schools. He later attended Philips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH, graduating in 1943.  At the age of 17, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps and began his basic training at Parris Island Recruit Depot, in Beaufort, SC, in a unit preparing for the land invasion of Japan.  Japan’s unconditional surrender on 2 December 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, DC, 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 US Supreme Court on 16 Oct 1957. The Court ruled in the affirmative on 16 Dec 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 US Agency for International Development (USAID).

In 1968 he was appointed legal attaché at the US Embassy in Saigon, where he served for 2 years under Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker. He returned to Washington, DC 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 5th year as acting director. 

In 1975 he returned to Washington, DC 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 from 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 1978-1981. 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, NH and later moved to Dublin, NH.

Mr. Rublee will be buried in the family plot on Platt Road in Cornish, NH.  Services will be private and a public celebration of his life will be announced at a later date.

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