Ervin Ross Marlin (Spike)

Born: 31 July 1909, New York, N.Y., U.S.A.
Died: 16 December 1994, Berkhamsted, Herts., U.K.
Father: Samuel Hirsch
Mother: Celia Moscowitz

Name change: Ervin Ross Marlin, 5 July 1929 (previously Irving Hirsch).

Married: Hilda Gerarda van Stockum , 27 June 1932, Dublin.


Olga Emily, b. 12 November 1934
Brigid Nella, b. 16 January 1936
Randal Robert Alexander, b. 22 January 1938
Sheila Ruth Mary, b. 25 October 1939, d. 25 September 2017.
John Anthony, b. 1 March 1942
Elisabeth Willemein, b. 23 April 1944. Married. 3 children. 6 grandchildren. Living in England.


Townsend Harris Hall, New York.
1929-1932 Trinity College, Dublin, Hons. B.A. History


1935-1936 Farm Credit Administration, Washington D.C.
1936-1939 Liaison Officer to State Governments, Social Security Administration, Washington D.C.
1939-1942 Assistant Director of Personnel, Federal Security Agency, Washington D.C.
1942-1943 Special Assistant to U.S. Minister in Dublin - cover for work for the Office of Strategic Services (a precursor of the CIA) NB: He gets a mention the the book "A U.S. spy in Ireland" by Martin T. Quigley, Marina Books, Dublin, ISBN 1 86023 095 4.
1943-1944 Office of Strategic Services, London 
1944-1946 (inter alia) Secretary to the International Civil Aviation Conference in Chicago
1946-1962 External Relations officer, then Director of U.N. International Civil Aviation Organisation, Montreal.
1962-1965 Senior Director of the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva.
1965-1971 Director of International Recruitment, State Department, Washington.
1971-1973 Director of International Federation on Ageing.

Other information:

Irving Hirsch (Ervin Ross Marlin) as a young man. Photo taken in DublinSpike as a young man (Dublin, c. 1932)

Wedding, 27 June 1932. Back row: Elizabeth Oliver-Thompson ("Olive") MacDonald (later Craig-Cooper); Dick Chalmers, who was best man; Charlotte ("Charley") Pike; Ervin Ross ("Spike") Marlin; Hilda van Stockum Marlin; Pic Gwynn; Marcia MacDonald. Front row: Brigid O'Brien (later Ganley - seated); Jean MacDonald (later Farquhar); Nola Macdonald (later Jackson).
The following appeared in a (Hertfordshire) local paper after Spike's death:

Ervin Ross 'Spike' Marlin, of Castle Hill was a resident of Berkhamsted for 20 years. He died on December 16, aged 85, of a stroke at Hemel Hempstead Hospital. He will be remembered not only by his large and loving family, and many friends in the area, but by the many people who grew to respect and admire him for his work in the international community.

His success and rapid rise to responsibility in many fields in his civil service career was aided by a character that combined charm, tact, wit, a good sense of humour and modesty. He was a true diplomat.

He and his wife Hilda van Stockum, a well-known artist and writer of children's books, moved to the area in 1974 to be near their three daughters Brigid Marlin, a renowned artist, of Hemel Hempstead and Dr Elisabeth Paice, a consultant rheumatologist and Sheila Marlin, successful artist and founder of local Montessori schools, who both live in Berkhamsted.

Spike was born on July 30, 1909 in Manhattan. He worked his sea passage over to Dublin where he studied history at Trinity College. In 1932 he gained a BA and a wife when he married Hilda, the sister of his best friend. Hilda, who is Dutch, was studying at the Dublin School of Art.

The couple moved back to America soon after that but suffered hard times during the depression until 1934 when Spike won a civil service job in Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal administration. His talents were soon recognised and he was promoted to be liaison officer to the Social Security Administration in 1936-39, where he helped to introduce this new system.

 From 1939-42 he was assistant director of personnel in the Federal Security Agency, the precursor of the secret service.

After the United States entered World War II, Spike became Special Assistant to the American Minister in Dublin, David Gray. The title was a cover for his service as the senior representative in Dublin for the OSS, reporting to Col. David K. E. Bruce. In 1942-43, with OSS and even UK support, he defended Ireland's neutrality in the face of the Minister's campaign against Irish Prime Minister Eamon de Valera for not expelling diplomatic representatives of Germany and Japan.

It was in 1943 when he came to London to work for the US ambassador that he first became involved in work for the London International Assembly - a precursor of the United Nations.

He was also a White House representative at the UN founding in 1945.

As a founding officer of the International Aviation Organisation (ICAO) he was responsible for much pioneering work for the United Nations in the area of technical assistance on the safety of airports and air navigation.

In the 1950s he organised a UN-financed programme to train pilots and airport personnel in internationally recognised systems for air traffic control.

Between 1962-64 he became Senior Director of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. His biggest contribution to this work was the idea of zonal responsibility, whereby certain countries take responsibility for designated refugees e.g. the Arab countries taking responsibility for the Palestinians.

Having retired in 1971, he then became Associate Director for International Affairs of the National Retired Teachers Association and the American Association of Retired Persons. In that capacity he was instrumental in creating in 1973 the International Federation on Ageing, based in Washington.

Spike is survived by his wife, Hilda, six children - Olga, who founded an Opus Dei school in Nairobi, Kenya; Brigid; Randal, a philosophy professor at Carleton University in Ottowa; Sheila; John, who lives in New York and Liz; also 17 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

A funeral service was held at St. Peter's Church, Berkhamsted on Friday after which Spike's body was flown back to New York to be buried in the family vault.