Category Archives: History of Collington

Ainslie Embree, An Ultimate Collingtonian – Memorial Events Now Scheduled

ATE Portrait May 2009

On July 29 (Saturday) at 2 PM, there will be a traditional Episcopal Book of Common Prayer service in the chapel here at Collington to mark the death of Ainslie Embree.  At 3 PM there will be a reception in the Auditorium.  It is understood that some may wish to attend one of these events, and others both.

There seems indeed for me a special need to mark the death, after an astonishingly full life, of Ainslie Embree, perhaps the ultimate Collingtonian.

Ainslie brought a combination of dignity, warmth, intelligence and humility to Collington.  He and his wife Sue quickly became some of our earliest and closest friends.  As one of the internationalist generation, it turned out that we knew surprisingly many in common. His wide knowledge of the world, and of people in it, and his humane wisdom about everything, made every conversation an adventure, which also provided deep reassurance about humanity.

I can not resist sharing two stories.  Outside the dining room, there is a wall festooned with photographs of Collingtonians with heads of state.  (As our son remarked, if you are a head of state, and want to get on that wall, you have to get to know someone at Collington.)  One is of Ainslie talking to Indira Gandhi.  Ainslie pointed out the strange look that the person standing next to him is giving him, and told us that he had asked the man, a missionary, why he was looking at him that way.  According to Ainslie, the man replied, “Because you were being such a suck-up.”  (I wonder how many of that set of photos have similarly ambiguous and fascinating back-stories.)

On another occasion, we were having dinner with Sue and Ainslie and overheard someone at the next table ask, “Are you in Who’s Who?”  After appropriate quiet snickers, we all tried to come up with the perfect come-back.  Ainslie won, hands down with, “Isn’t everybody?” and an immediate return to the topic at hand.

When resident Doris Ball died, I asked Ainslie to use the occasion to draft an appreciation of Dorothy and her husband Robert.  His contribution, which because a much broader appreciation of several of other residents (including, with particular relevance to today, Elliot Richardson), appeared under the heading, Thoughts on Robert Ball, Social Security and Collington’s Unsung Heroes of American Governance.

Collington  has had the good fortune to be the home of many outstanding citizens, with many  of them entitled to belong to the category of what has been called  by  Professor Mashaw  of Yale Law School, “unsung  heroes of American governance.”  Four who come immediately to mind, without selective judgment, are Admiral Bill Crowe, Elliot Richardson, Senator Chuck Percy and Robert Ball.  Each of them, as Kipling put it, walked with kings, but did not lose the common touch, exemplified in their fondness for small parties with fellow residents in their own homes or in those of other residents.

As so often, the appreciation he wrote could have been a mirror held to Sue (a giant in her own right) and himself, although they would be the last to have realized it.  Ainslie’s Wikipedia entry, with all the details, is here. Please read it.  Here, also, is a Unniverity of California TV interview of Ainslie.

Video News on Beginning of Demolition for New Dining Space at Collington

Here is the breaking news update:

An Early Skipjack Regatta

Here is a 1995 Regatta video, with only one skipjack boat.

We’d love to hear of any memories of this event, and also wonder if anyone recognizes any of the faces,

Its also interesting to see how different the margin of the lake looked then.

Thanks to Mary Ann Pellerin for the archiving edit work.

A Few Short Scenes From the Open House For the New RA Office

The first actual move and opening from our space reorganization and rehab is now done.

Today, April 14, the Resident Association Office held an open house. Its a much larger and lighter office.

Here is a very short video.

By the way, the plate, now on the wall, is a commemorative from an early anniversary.

Washington Post obituary of Warren Unna

Below is the Washington Post Obituary for Warren Unna:

Warren Unna, journalist and Post bureau chief in India, dies at 93

Warren Unna, a Washington Post correspondent in India who later became Washington correspondent for the Statesman, an English-language newspaper based in Kolkata, died Feb. 9 at a retirement community in Mitchellville, Md. He was 93.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said a friend, Marea Hatziolos Grant.

Mr. Unna covered national news after joining The Post in 1952. His aspirations were to cover South Asia, where he had served with the Army during World War II.

In lieu of a Post bureau there, Mr. Unna made a specialty of writing about Asian affairs from Washington by cultivating sources at embassies and international organizations.

Mr. Unna was bureau chief in New Delhi from 1965 to 1967, then returned to cover national affairs in Washington. He was one of many journalists whose names appeared on President Richard M. Nixon’s enemies list in the early 1970s, presumably for his reporting on the Vietnam War for The Post and for a short-lived public television program, “Newsroom.”

He joined the Statesman in the early 1970s and remained with that publication for approximately the next two decades. He also contributed to other publications.

Warren Walter Unna was born in San Francisco on Sept. 14, 1923. He graduated in 1943 from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in international relations. He worked at the San Francisco Chronicle before coming to The Post.

In the late 1950s, he traveled widely as an Institute of Current World Affairs fellow, for which he studied the Non-Aligned Movement countries during the Cold War.

He wrote a memoir, “Letters From America” (1994), and in retirement did consulting for the Westinghouse and McClatchy media companies. He was a member of the Metropolitan Club in Washington.

His marriage to Louise Thompson was annulled. Survivors include a stepsister.

(Copyright Washington Post 2017)

This website has commissioned a more detailed appreciation, which we look forward to publishing in the future.

In the interim, readers may find interesting this article from the Collingtonian of March 2012.

Unna Relates His Experiences in Asia

The March 21 guest speaker was no guest at all, but 12-year (almost) Collingtonian Warren Unna, who spoke of his experiences with celebrities from presidents to foreign heads of state while he was a newspaper reporter.

Warren graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and rst worked for the San Francisco Chronicle. The Institute of Current World Affairs gave him the opportunity to travel- study around the world for a year. He concentrated on how countries achieved neutrality.

He then obtained employment at the Wash- ington Post because, he said, the chronicle’s management didn’t want to pay the Newspaper Guild’s required salary for a senior reporter. For the Post, he primarily covered Asia. Warren rattled off a list of famous people whom he had met, beginning with then past-president Herbert Hoover who was chairing the Hoover Commis- sion for President Dwight Eisenhower. He found Hoover quite pleasant to deal with.

Not so Ike, who did not seem to like doing press conferences and kept the press at bay when he traveled. On the other hand, a John Kennedy press conference was “just a joy.” Lyn- don Johnson, who believed that “every man had his price,” was the best politician of the presi- dents, he thought. “He got his votes,” Warren said

Warren attributed his success in conducting interviews to being friendly and listening to the person being interviewed. It is also important to sit so as to make eye contact, he said. In Indonesia, he managed to obtain a difficult interview by learning that it was the local custom to not turn away any visitor who arrived in the late afternoon. In his travels about Asia, Warren recounted many experiences and listed the many prominent people he met: Indian Prime Minister Jawaharial Nehru who answered 17 questions for him, thereby generating two major stories with Warren’s byline; the King of Bhutan who sought advice on educating his son; an Indian health minister who walked briskly back and forth in a garden while he trailed her trying to take notes; President Lee Kuan Yew of the Republic of Singapore with whom he argued about the Viet Nam War; the daughter of a Japanese Prime Minister for whom a gift of stockings got him an interview and a nice meal in a restaurant; the wife of the president of South Korea who tried to nd eligible ladies for him to marry; Madame Chiang Kai-shek whom he watched squirm as her support from the “China Lobby” in America dried- up and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who rejected his questions.

Of particular interest to residents was his accompanying G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams, then assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, on a whirlwind tour of 16 countries in 31 days for President Kennedy. In Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia, he met and lunched with Collingtonians Bill and Nancy McGhee, who were then stationed there. He apologized to them (they were in the audience) for impertinently asking if they “always ate that well.”

(Copyright Collington Residents Association 2012)