It is with great sadness that AFS Intercultural Programs announce the death of AFS World War II volunteer, one of the founders of our secondary school exchange programs and Life Trustee, Edwin Robert Masback, Jr., who passed away on October 18, 2017.

Ed was born on September 14, 1917, in White Plains, New York, and just celebrated his 100th birthday this past month. He is a graduate of Phillips Andover Academy and Yale University (class of 1940). At the age of 25, Ed volunteered as an ambulance driver with the AFS in Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and in Italy as a platoon sergeant during World War II (1942-1944).

Ed Masback in WWII uniform

As one of the founders of the AFS International Scholarship Program in 1946, Ed witnessed the transformative power of the AFS mission. “The big thing I learned out of my AFS experience is that fundamentally, people are people,” said Ed of his AFS experience in 2002.

Ed was involved in governing AFS continuously since 1947, serving as AFS Treasurer and Acting Director General, Chairman of the AFS Board of Directors, Chairman of the AFS International Board of Trustees, a Trustee of AFS-USA, and a Life Trustee. Additionally, together with his wife, Phyllis, he founded the AFS Scarsdale chapter in New York and where they served as AFS host parents and volunteers.

“In his devotion to the AFS, Mr. Masback exemplified that unselfish spirit and dedication on which the Service was founded and on which its future rests.”

– AFS Board of Trustees Resolution, November 1964

Ed with a reconstructed WWII AFS ambulance in 2002

Ed was part of the AFS delegation that accepted the Oscar Arias Foundation Peace Award at the AFS World Congress in San Jose in 1999, and he was personally honored at the AFS-USA Gala at the United Nations in 2005. Outside of AFS, he served as president of the Masback Hardware Company. Ed is survived by his three sons Bryan, Dennis and Kevin, and their six grandchildren. He will be deeply missed across our organization.

You can read more about the life and legacy of Edwin R. Masback, Jr. in the September 2009 issue of the AFS Janus. To hear more about Ed’s AFS experience in his own words, watch the oral history video created in 2002 for the AFS Archives as part of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project here.

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