Dedicated UNA-USA Nashville Member Joe Byrns Sills Remembered

October 21, 2011

Joe Byrns Sills died in Nashville, Tennessee on September 25, 2011, at the age of 73.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Joe B. Sills (Sr.) and Lillian Starkey Sills and his brother, Richard L. Sills.

Joe is survived by his wife of 48 years, Dorothy (Lee) Sills, his children, Joe Byrns Sills III and Clea Morehart, and his grandchildren, Kyle and Mia Morehart.

Mr. Sills received his B.A. at Vanderbilt University, Magna Cum Laude, and his Master's Degree at the American University of Beirut.  His unwavering support of all Commodore athletics was well known, and he was proud to be a part of the Vanderbilt community.

A native Nashvillian, Joe's winning debate record during his high school and collegiate years led to his participation with the United Nations Association Model U.N. program first in Tennessee and subsequently at UNA-USA headquarters, where he served as Vice-President before joining the United Nations.  

Joe began his UN career as a Director in the Department of Public Information.  During the tenures of two Secretaries-General -- Perez de Cuellar and Boutros-Ghali -- Joe was elevated first to Deputy Spokesperson and then to Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.  During his last years with the UN, Joe moved to Washington as Director of the United Nations Information Centre.

Following retirement, Mr. Sills continued as a consultant to several United Nations programs and served as an instructor for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt University.  His last major publication was The Trauma of Terrorism:  Sharing Knowledge and Shared Care:  An International Handbook, which he edited in 2005.

Joe also remained committed to the Nashville Cordell Hull Chapter of the UNA-USA, the first in the United States, where he served on its Board of Directors and as Historian.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the Nashville UNA-USA chapter.


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