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April 8, 2013

Father: Slain diplomat died doing what she loved

 

CHICAGO (AP) — The family of an American diplomat who was among those killed in a terrorist attack in southern Afghanistan has taken solace in knowing she died doing what she loved.

Anne Smedinghoff, who was killed Saturday, was the first American diplomat to die on the job since last year's attack in Benghazi, Libya.

The 25-year-old suburban Chicago woman was remembered as having a quiet ambition and displayed a love of global affairs from an early age. She joined the U.S. Foreign Service straight out of college and volunteered for missions in perilous locations worldwide.

"It was a great adventure for her ... She loved it," her father, Tom Smedinghoff, told The Associated Press on Sunday. "She was tailor-made for this job."

Anne Smedinghoff grew up in River Forest, Ill. — an upscale suburb about 10 miles west of Chicago — the daughter of an attorney and the second of four children. She attended the highly selective Fenwick High School, followed by Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in international studies and became a key organizer of the university's annual Foreign Affairs Symposium in 2008. The event draws high-profile speakers from around the world.

Those who knew Smedinghoff described her as a positive, hard-working and dependable young woman.

While a student in Baltimore, she worked part time for Sam Hopkins, an attorney near campus. He described her as ambitious "but in a wonderfully quiet, modest way."

Her first assignment for the foreign service was in Caracas, Venezuela, and she volunteered for the Afghanistan assignment after that. Her father said family members would tease her about signing up for a less dangerous location, maybe London or Paris.

"She said, 'What would I do in London or Paris? It would be so boring,'" her father recalled. In her free time, she would travel as much as possible, her father said.

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