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George W. Landau
Service: October 19, 2018 (Friday) at 12:00 noon
Location: Church of the Little Flower


March 4, 1920 – October 9, 2018

George W. Landau, 98, a career diplomat who served as U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, Chile, and Paraguay in the 1970s and 80s, died on October 9, 2018, at his home in Bethesda, MD.

Born in Vienna, Austria, Landau completed his high school education in 1938, just after the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany.  He then left for Colombia, South America, from where he succeeded in extricating his parents from Austria.  After being offered a job in New York City, he fulfilled his goal of emigrating to the United States in July 1941. 

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, completed officer candidate training, and became both an American citizen and a military intelligence officer.  He arrived in Europe as the war was ending, and was assigned to interrogate German POWs.  He met his future wife Maria at the American base in Gmunden, Austria.  They married in New York in 1947.  After the war, Landau remained in the Army Reserve, ultimately retiring with the rank of Colonel in 1975 

In 1957, after several years in the import-export business in the New York area and in Colombia, Landau began his diplomatic career as a Commercial Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay.  He was part of the United States delegation that created the Alliance for Progress.  From 1962 to 1965, he was First Secretary and Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain.  In 1965, Landau was designated for senior service and spent a year at the National Defence College in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.  From 1966 to 1972, he served in the State Department as Director for Spanish and Portuguese Affairs, where he was heavily involved in negotiating agreements permitting American military bases in both Spain and Portugal. 

Landau served as U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay from 1972 to 1977, Chile from 1977 to 1982, and Venezuela from 1982 to 1985.  He retired from the Foreign Service in 1985 to become President of the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas in New York, the premier institutions devoted to strengthening business and cultural ties within the hemisphere.  After he concluded that job in 1993, he continued to serve on various boards and advisory committees. 

Ambassador Landau was predeceased in 2010 by his wife of 62 years, Maria A. Landau.  He is survived by his two sons and their families: Robert Landau and Linda Cerro of Anchorage, Alaska, and their daughters Aurora and Jillian; and Christopher and Caroline Landau of Chevy Chase, Maryland, and their children Nathaniel and Julia. 

A funeral mass will be held at Little Flower Church in Bethesda, Maryland, on Friday, October 19, 2018 at noon, followed by a reception and tribute at Fox Hill in Bethesda, Maryland.  Interment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Senior Living Foundation of the American Foreign Service, 1620 L St. NW, Washington, DC 20036,

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DeVol Funeral Home