Marlies Backhous Murphy

Marlies Backhaus Murphy, 71, a project evaluator with the U.S. Agency for International Development from 1979 to 1993 who later founded an adoption service assisting Americans adopting children from Ukraine, died Aug. 16 at a hospital in Frederick, Md. The cause was pancreatic cancer, said her husband, Patrick Murphy.

Mrs. Murphy was born Marlies Backhaus in Uder, Germany, which became part of East Germany. She crossed the country’s border into West Berlin before the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, her husband said.

She later lived in France and England before coming to the United States. She worked at what was then the Washington Hospital Center and at the French Embassy before joining USAID. After adopting two children from Ukraine, she and her husband operated Adoption Consultants International from 1998 to 2008. She lived in Bethesda, Md., before moving to Frederick three years ago.

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