Ambassador Henry Endicott Stebbins (1905-1973)
Henry Endicott Stebbins (1905-1973), son of Rev. Roderick Stebbins and Edith Endicott (Marean) Stebbins, was born in Milton, Massachusetts, educated at Milton Academy, and a member of Harvard Class of 1927.
Stebbins entered the Department of State as Foreign Service Officer of Class 8 on July 1, 1939. After serving in various posts in Europe and Turkey, Stebbins was named Vice Consul in London under Joseph P. Kennedy in 1939. He became First Secretary of the London Embassy in 1945 during which time he met his wife Barbara Jennifer Worthington, a native of Dorset, England. In 1951 he was named Consul at Melbourne, Australia. Four years later President Eisenhower promoted him to Foreign Service Inspector, naming him Senior Inspector a year later. In 1959 Eisenhower named Stebbins the first Ambassador to Nepal where he served until 1966.
Ambassador & Mrs. Stebbins greet Queen Elizabeth – Nepal 1961
The United States Educational Foundation in Nepal was established by Ambassador Stebbins and Education Minister Vishwa Bandhu Thapa in 1961 to promote a “mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States of America and Nepal by a wider exchange of knowledge and professional talents through educational activities.”
Mrs. Stebbins, who was active in social welfare and various women’s organizations in both Nepal and Uganda, said “To make the most of a life like mine you must also enjoy your husband’s job and enjoy people.” She believed that an understanding of the life and problems of women in other countries could help strengthen international goodwill and friendship. Mrs. Stebbins became conversant in the Nepalese language, spending time encouraging school children.
When named as Ambassador to Uganda by President Johnson in 1966 Stebbins’ 89 year old mother on hearing of his appointment was “thrilled” at the news. “But I’d rather he was a street sweeper in
Milton” she added. “He’d at least be home, then.” Three years later, retiring from the Foreign Service, Henry finally came ‘home’ to Milton.
Tragically on March 28, 1973 Ambassador Stebbins was lost at sea after an apparent fall from the deck of the S. S. Leonardo da Vinci.
A chautaro or ‘resting place’ memorial was constructed in his memory at a cost of 25 hundred rupees, donated by the first group of Peace Corps volunteers working in Nepal.