Janet Ballantyne, a retired foreign service officer at the Agency for International Development (USAID), died of a respiratory condition at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland on August 30 after a months-long illness. She was 78 years old and lived for many years in Chevy Chase West.
Born in North Hempstead, New York, she spent her early years in Kettering, Ohio. She received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1961, a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University in 1962, and a PhD in international development from Cornell’s School of Business in 1976.
Dr. Ballantyne spent 33 years with USAID, serving at Washington headquarters and in six country and regional programs—Peru, Nepal, Morocco, Nicaragua, Russia, and the Central Asian Republics. She was deputy mission director in Nepal and Morocco and mission director in Nicaragua, Russia, and the Central Asian Republics. In Washington, she served first as an economist in the Bureau for Latin America, and later as deputy assistant administrator in four bureaus. Following her last overseas tour, as USAID’s principal representative in Moscow, she served two years as USAID Professor at the National War College in Washington. Her final assignment was as counselor to the agency. She was frequently asked which of these assignments she liked the most, a question she could never answer, because she loved them all.
She was predeceased by her husband Robert P. Murphy, a former Peace Corps volunteer and USAID contractor who she met in Nepal.
Dr. Ballantyne retired from USAID in 2002 with the rank of career minister and joined the firm Abt Associates at its Bethesda location where she served as group vice president of its international programs. In 2007, she returned to USAID at the request of a new administrator and served as senior deputy assistant administrator for the Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean for five years before retiring a second time in 2012.
In 2016 she was recognized by USAID’s administrator for a lifetime of service to the agency and the American people and extraordinary commitment to global development.
Since retiring, Dr. Ballantyne continued to work in development. She was a recurring consultant for Arizona State University, and did shorter consulting jobs for a number of private firms and at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She served on the board of the Institute for Sustainable Communities, a nonprofit organization based in Vermont, and in Bethesda was an active member of the congregation at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church.
Dr. Ballantyne is survived by her son John Ernesto Murphy-Ballantyne, her daughter-in-law Marisol Murphy-Ballantyne, and their daughter, Janet’s greatly loved granddaughter Stela, as well as her brother John Ballantyne, his wife Darly and nieces and nephews. She also leaves her beloved aging Lhasa Apso, Marley, who will be rehomed with a friend until he joins her.
A memorial service will be held on September 24, 2017 at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, MD. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or Pets-DC.