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Edwin Allan Lightner Jr., 40-Year U.S. Diplomat, Dies at 82

September 18, 1990

NORTHPORT, Maine (AP) _ Edwin Allan Lightner Jr., a 40-year U.S. diplomat who saw the Berlin Wall erected and took part in a Cold War prisoner exchange with the Soviet Union, has died at his home. He was 82.

Lightner died Saturday of congestive heart failure, said his wife, Dorothy Lightner.

The New York native joined the Foreign Service after graduating from Princeton University in 1930. He served in 18 countries before retiring in 1970. His last foreign post was ambassador to Libya from 1963-65.

Lightner served as charge d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in South Korea and was assistant chief of the U.S. Mission in Berlin when the wall was erected in 1961.

He was twice detained by East German border guards in October 1961 when he crossed into East Berlin to underscore the United States’ determination to have unrestricted access to all occupation zones in Berlin.

Lightner also participated in the Berlin exchange of Francis Gary Powers, the American U-2 pilot shot down during a reconnaissance flight over the Soviet Union in 1960.

Lightner is survived by his wife, a brother, two sons and a daughter.

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