Les and Alice Dieter

In April of 2020 we lost a long-time member of BCFR. Alice Dieter passed away on April 19th. With her husband Les, they were ardent supporters of BCFR for many years. Les passed away in May of 2017. With the passing of the Dieters, we felt it only appropriate that we honor them with a small remembrance. The BCFR has sent a small monetary gift to their beloved church camp in their memory. The candid picture below, taken of them in 2013, is a reminder of how important they were as a team.

Because of the stay-at-home situation at the time of her death, there was no memorial service. The family has scattered both Alice's and Les' ashes at their beloved church camp in McCall.

Les and Alice

In Memoriam

by Richard Slaughter

Les and Alice Dieter ran the Boise Committee on Foreign Relations* from 1975 until 1989, when they passed the torch to Richard Slaughter. Les, a former engineering manager with Mountain Bell, was Committee Secretary. Alice did not have a title, but as Les was going blind from glaucoma, bore much of the heavy workload and was a moving force behind several major innovations in Committee practice. During their tenure all communications, including meeting announcements were handled through individual letters, as neither fax nor email was available. Assistance with copying the meeting announcements was provided by John Chapman, a local attorney and long-time member.

Other parts of the workload were borne by Judy Austin, publications coordinator at the Idaho Historical Society, who sat the desk at meetings, and Col. Arthur Reinhart, Committee Board Chair, who introduced speakers with great dignity. Membership was limited to 80 (plus spousal members). Committees at that time adhered to the Council's “not for attribution" rules, as some of our speakers were current diplomatic and military personnel. The meetings then, usually in the Crystal Ballroom of the old Boise Hotel, had a feeling of great dignity and were frequently memorable. One in particular featured a Polish newspaper editor, a Party member, just after the Wall came down who warned that with the fall of the Soviet Union future conflict would be cultural rather than ideological. We in the West thought mainly of the “end of history,” but those inside the FSU knew all too well the religious/cultural fissures that lay just beneath the surface.

Les became BCFR Secretary (the title in all committees, patterned after “Secretary of State”) in 1975, following Milt Small, a former Director of the Idaho State Board of Education. Les was the fourth Secretary/Director of the Committee, followed by Richard Slaughter, from 1989 to 2008; Garry Wenske is the sixth, in 75 years.

Les and Alice introduced several major innovations, including spousal memberships (partly to pad local revenues, because at that time most of our regular dues went to the Council on Foreign Relations*, which provided speakers and travel); and women members, which were controversial at the time. Alice, together with Judy Austin, was the force behind those moves. When the Dieters retired in 1989, the members sent them to one last New York annual meeting at the Council, which they enjoyed very much. The American Committees on Foreign Relations was created six years later, after separation form the Council.

Les and Alice were wonderful people and great friends. They were also much involved in the St. Michael’s Episcopal Cathedral in Boise, and great supporters of the Paradise Point Episcopal Church Camp in McCall.

*The Committees on Foreign Relations were founded by the New York Council on Foreign Relations starting in 1938 to expand foreign policy discussion nationally at a time of great stress. The Boise Committee was founded in 1945.

A PDF of both Les' and Alice's obituaries can be downloaded at: Dieters Full Obituaries