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Obituary: Dana Earnshaw Townsend

Dana Townsend, a prominent international-trade consultant and a senior partner in the prominent Washington, D.C. trade-controls management consultancy MK Technology, died suddenly of a heart attack in her Alexandria home on Thursday, Oct. 25. She was two months short of 49-years-old.

Born in Palo Alto, Calif., she was educated in the local schools and at Yale University, from which she received her B.A. in philosophy with honors in 1981. She later received her Masters in Soviet studies from Harvard University’s Russian Research Center. While in graduate school she worked as a Russian translator at Radio Liberty in Munich, Germany.

Following graduate school, she served in the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Export Administration (later renamed Bureau of Industry and Security), among her responsibilities there, she evaluated the effectiveness of U.S. export controls of strategic commodities.

Dana was deeply devoted to music and an aficionado of opera. In addition to being a season ticket holder for the opera in Washington, she artfully coordinated her considerable travels with major performances in the world’s leading opera houses from Chicago to London to Frankfurt. Prior to her untimely death, she was advising Michigan Tech University in remote Northern Michigan; she was cheerfully angling for opportunities to visit MTU.

She was preceded in death by her father Wilson Earnshaw Townsend, and leaves her mother Adelaide Miller Townsend of San Jose, Calif., and her sister Margo Beecher Townsend (husband Kip Litehiser) of Stanwood, Wa. She also leaves nephew Jasper Townsend and wife Rachel of Stanwood; niece Miranda Townsend of Maui, Hawaii and her dearest friend David Hardy of Arlington.

An ecumenical service to remember and celebrate her life will be held at Grace Church Georgetown, 1041 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. at 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16. The family has requested that any donations be directed in the name of Dana Earnshaw Townsend to the Library of Congress Concert Series, the Washington Concert Opera and the Washington National Opera.