Lynbrook's Louis Nigro, diplomat, dies

Louis John Nigro, Jr. an American diplomat and Louis John Nigro, Jr. an American diplomat and foreign service officer who grew up in Lynbrook died Jan. 1, 2013 from cancer. He was 65 and lived in Washington, DC. Photo Credit: Handout

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Louis John Nigro Jr., an American diplomat and foreign service officer who grew up in Lynbrook, died Jan. 1 from cancer. He was 65 and lived in Washington.

While serving as the ambassador to the north-central African nation of Chad in 2008, he was forced to evacuate the embassy during a time of unrest, his family said, but he stayed on the ground to ensure the embassy's work continued.

"I had to leave," said his wife, Tarja Nigro, 58, of Washington. "He stayed on a French military base for three weeks, until all the problems were done. He was not scared of anything. He did what he had to do and he did it well."

Louis Nigro was born in Brooklyn on May 19, 1947. His father, Louis J. Nigro Sr., was a customs inspector and his mother, Marie Nigro, was a homemaker. The family moved to Lynbrook when he was a young child.

Nigro graduated from Malverne High School, where he was an Eagle Scout and in the debate club. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Virginia in 1969 and earned a PhD in modern European history from Vanderbilt University in 1979. He was a Fulbright-Hays Research Fellow in Italy.

"He was always interested in history," said his brother, Robert M. Nigro, of Bayville. "He did very well in school."

Before joining the Foreign Service, he served in the California Army National Guard, taught at Stanford University and was a training and operations planner for the Department of Defense.

He began working for the Foreign Service at the State Department in 1980. His assignments included a post as the diplomat-in-residence at the University of Houston and deputy chief of mission in Havana, Conakry, Guinea and The Vatican.

He met his wife in 1988 in Chad while working as a political officer before he served as ambassador there from 2007 to 2010. They married in 1994 in Haiti, where he also served as a political officer. They had no children.

After his 2010 retirement, he continued to work for the State Department's office of Political-Military Affairs.

Despite Nigro's world travels and home in the nation's capital, his brother said he remained an avid Yankees fan.

He is survived by his wife, brother and two nephews.

A funeral Mass is scheduled for Tuesday at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington at 11 a.m.

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