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Obituary: Sally F. Pabst (1945-2022)

Sally F. Pabst (Age 77)
Memorial service info

Sally F. Pabst, born Sally Gorton Fisher in February 1945, was the daughter of the late William Dale Fisher and Sarah Guiou Fisher and the older sister of the late William Guiou Fisher, passed away on October 3rd, 2022 at her home in Montferrand, France at the age of 77.

She is survived by her husband David A. Pabst, two sons: Dale Avery Pabst (wife Gretchen) of Oak Beach, New York, Alec Guiou Pabst (wife Yoshiko), and granddaughter Reina Pabst of London, UK, and brother David Baldwin Fisher (wife Jan) of Maui, HI.

Sally’s passions ranged from music and dance, in her early years teaching her musician brother David to play the guitar and art history, becoming a docent at the National Gallery of Art and volunteering at art institutions overseas. She and her husband David also enjoyed collecting Asian art and antiques over multiple years living in Japan and Laos.

Sally grew up in a US Foreign Service family, spending much of her early life overseas. In her younger years while her father was American Consul in Florence Italy she was schooled at Miss Barry’s American School. When he was later reassigned to the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode island she lived in a modest but lovely house on Newport’s Cliff Walk lined with historic mansions. Then, when her father was reassigned to the American Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia she attended school in Nairobi, Kenya. Unfortunately, after several years in Ethiopia her father was killed on duty in an upcountry plane crash, forcing a hasty return of the family to Washington. There she attended the Holten-Arms School prior to enrolling at Smith College.

After graduating from Smith, Sally continued with graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins School of International Studies (SAIS), including spending a semester in Bologna, Italy. Upon graduating from SAIS, she moved back to Washington DC and started work at the World Bank. While in DC she met her future husband, David Pabst, a young Foreign Service Officer, at a party in Georgetown. Having grown up overseas, she didn’t bat an eye when David invited her to join him in Southern Laos on his first assignment. She sold her trusty VW Bug for a one-way ticket to Bangkok, Thailand where David met her. They then hopped a secret intelligence short-takeoff-and-landing aircraft flight over the border to Laos (foiling the existing strict controls on admittance to that country). Sally already spoke decent French (the second language of Laos) and loved life as she and David moved back and forth between the capital of Vientiane and his job overseeing the Laotian struggle with the Vietnam war in southern Laos. Meanwhile, Sally’s mother, a career US diplomat in Barbados, got wind of their escapades and leaned on her old friend, David’s boss, the US Ambassador to Laos, to have a discussion with him. This soon led to a wedding in the lovely garden of the Ambassador’s Residence in Vientiane. Not long thereafter her mother was reassigned to the US Embassy in Bangkok, meaning Sally could frequently visit her mom’s lovely house along the banks of a Klong (canal) in that vibrant city.

From Laos, Sally and David moved on to Tokyo, Japan where she thrived and became fluent in Japanese, eventually taking on a role as an editor for a Japanese government trade magazine. She also bore their first son, Dale, named after her father. They moved on from Tokyo to the US Consulate in Fukuoka where she worked at Suntory Whisky and bore their second son, Alec. Sally had loved Tokyo but liked Fukuoka even more, as her demanding new job, two young sons and the city’s vibrant nightlife, steps from their sprawling, picturesque historic house and garden. After four wonderful years in southern Japan they were sent back to Washington where they bought and renovated a lovely old historic house in the Dupont Circle area, but the call of more overseas adventures came, and they soon moved on to Paris, where David served in the US embassy and where Sally had spent some of her childhood. While overseeing the education of their two young sons in a French school she explored the wonders of one of the world’s great cities. After six years in Paris they returned to Washington for a few years where Sally continued restoration of their Dupont Circle house.

They then returned to Japan, where David served as US Consul General in Osaka. While managing a full calendar of entertainment around the consular corps and public relations duties, Sally took a job as a copy editor for a large consumer goods and restaurant conglomerate, helping address translation faux pas from English to Japanese along the way.

Their last official post in the Foreign Service was at NATO’s southern Headquarters in Naples, Italy. Again, Sally was in an element where she could thrive. After having been schooled as a girl in Florence and her later graduate studies in Bologna, she regained her Italian fluency. She spent her days exploring southern Italy and the Naples area with gusto. An avid student of art history, she particularly enjoyed the rich treasures and historical frescoes at Pompeii and Herculaneum, while learning to make limoncello from the lemon trees in her garden overlooking the Mediterranean.

In their golden years of retirement Sally and David purchased a summer home in southwestern France at a lock on the banks of the historic Canal du Midi, which links the Mediterranean and Atlantic. They enjoyed the spring and summer months there while spending falls and winters catching up with friends back in DC. Sally passed away while at their French home at age 77 on October 3, 2022 after many years exploring the rich culture and cuisine of Languedoc.

A funeral service for Sally will be held at 10:45 AM on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at Fort Myer Old Post Chapel with a burial to follow at Arlington National Cemetery. A celebration of her life will follow at her home in Arlington.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.murphyfuneralhomes.com for the Pabst family.

Submitted by Murphy Funeral Home

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