One of my best friends in high school was Joe Macmanus. We stayed friends through college [even though he was a Golden Domer], but after I got married and he went into foreign service for the United States, we lost touch.
I still remember Joe calling and asking me to meet him for breakfast – he had something he wanted to tell me. We met at HoJo’s across from his parents’ apartment at The Westbrook on Delaware Ave. As usual, Joe’s nose was sweating. It was a peculiar physical quirk of his amongst many intellectual eccentricities. With most of my friends, I could have narrowed down the possibilities to a couple of scenarios, but with Joe, I had not a clue. When he told me he was joining the CIA and embarking on a life of government service, I had no idea he would end up running the State Department 30 years later.
About 4 years ago, I looked Joe up and called him at his home in Arlington, Va. The first thing he said to me was, “How did you get this number?” Yah, I missed him too. He was just preparing to leave for a diplomatic mission overseas, so I didn’t get much more than the rudimentary catch-up. Regardless, he was still Joseph Estey; and watching his swearing-in ceremony on the link below only confirms that he is still the same guy, just more-so.
When Joe got married, he sent me a very thoughtful note explaining to me that Carol and he were only inviting one guest each [and that if they were to have two, he would certainly have included me], but, as it was, I was not invited. It was the most eloquent dismissal I’ve ever received – but that’s Joe.
Joe was never political, so it comes as no surprise that he maintained his seamless rise at the State Department through the messy transition from the Bush to the Obama administration. I was Joe’s campaign manager for Student Council President in high school, and he was the most reluctant candidate ever. He thought my back-room machinations were comical and mostly ignored the campaign as he prepped for his role in the Pirates of Penzance. I told him not to worry, that since he would be in full costume and make-up during the play, we could always muster a plausible denial.
Joe had a great family. I remember taking his twin sister, Mary, to see Judy Collins. His older brother, Chris, was ahead of us at Canisius, and the three of them made quite the team. My favorite, however, was Joe’s mom. She kept little beer splits in the fridge – and a wry comment at the ready.
Looking back to over 40 years ago is more of a challenge than I expected when I started writing this. I’m not going to do a fact check, so take it all in as simply a fond remembrance of a great time with a great friend.
Today, Joe is an Ambassador for the United States in Vienna, and he will be working hard to encourage the non-proliferation of nuclear armaments that vex our very existence on planet earth; while I am working hard to encourage the proliferation of women’s fashion in WNY. We all have our calling.
Joseph E. Macmanus, United States Representative to the Vienna Office of the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador and United States Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the rank of Ambassador.
Joseph E. Macmanus is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and recently served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs. Previously, he served as the Executive Assistant to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Macmanus was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs. Previous Department of State assignments in Washington include: Office Director for Global Affairs and Office Director for Regional Affairs in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs.
Mr. Macmanus began his Foreign Service career in 1986 at the United States Information Agency, where he served as Executive Assistant to the Director and Deputy Director, and as the Russia Desk Officer. Overseas posts have included: Counselor for Public Affairs in Brussels, Belgium; Public Affairs Officer in Krakow, Poland, Press Attaché/ Information Officer in San Salvador, El Salvador; and Junior Officer in Mexico. Mr. Macmanus holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and an M.L.S. from State University at Buffalo.