Thomas Elwood Street
Thomas Elwood Street, 90, a retired agricultural attache with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service, died April 5 of atherosclerotic cardiovascular
disease at his home in the District.
Mr. Street was born in Cleveland and grew up in Louisville, Ky., St. Louis, Mo., and the
District, where he attended Western High School before graduating from Case
Western Reserve Academy, a preparatory school in Hudson, Ohio. When he was
growing up, mandatory poetry reading at the family breakfast or dinner table nurtured his
lifelong love of poetry.
In 1938, he received an undergraduate degree from Oberlin College, where he sang in
the campus glee club and tried his hand at acting. He later received a master's degree in
public administration from the University of Cincinnati.
He began his career at USDA in 1940. Three years later he was inducted into the Army
and landed at Normandy seven weeks after D-Day. Assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 120th
Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, he was a rifleman who survived combat in
Normandy, the Netherlands and Germany. He was wounded near the city of Ubach in
Germany. He recovered in an Army hospital in Wales and was sent to the French city of
Versailles, to assist food distribution to areas ravaged by the war. Commissioned a 2nd
lieutenant, he worked in the postwar occupation government in Germany.
After the war, Mr. Street and his family settled in the Hollin Hills neighborhood of
Alexandria, and he resumed his work with the Agriculture Department. From 1959 to
1961, he was an assistant agricultural attache in New Delhi and then agricultural attache
in Berne, Switzerland. Between 1968 and 1972, he was the agricultural attache in Paris.
He retired in 1973 and volunteered with Meals on Wheels, assisted the homeless and
read for the blind. He became active in the National Democratic Party and worked on a
number of congressional campaigns.
He also began writing poetry and self-published a book of poems. At Ingleside at Rock
Creek, the retirement community where he began living in 2001, he helped found a
literature group and was a committed member of the Sunday evening choir group
(actually a poker gathering of Ingleside residents).
His wife, Judith Hodson Street, died in 1998.
Survivors include two sons, Michael Street of Santa Rosa, Calif., and Gregory Street of
Alexandria; two sisters, Catherine Chilman of Mitchellville and Sibyl Vanneman of
McLean; and four grandchildren.