Stoltzfus was born in Beirut in 1924. His father was a Mennonite from Ohio and his mother a Presbyterian from Minneapolis. Stoltzfus' father was principal of a boys' school in Aleppo, Syria, and later president of the Beirut College for Women.
Stoltzfus was tutored in Aleppo before going to the American Community School in Beirut and learned to speak Arabic and French at an early age. At fifteen, he returned to the United States to attend Deerfield Academy and, later, Princeton University.
In 1943 Stoltzfus left Princeton to become a pilot in the United States Naval Air Corps. He returned to Princeton at the end of the war and attended the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs. After his graduation in 1949, Stoltzfus failed his first attempt at the Foreign Service exam; his childhood abroad left him without a strong knowledge of U.S. geography.
Stoltzfus' first post was in Alexandria, Egypt, where he worked as an economic officer and reported on the production of flax and other natural resources. After doing economic reporting in Benghazi, Libya, Stoltzfus was assigned to Kuwait, where he did consular work with Palestinian refugees applying for visas to the United States. He then did political reporting in Jidda, Damascus, and Aden before being assigned as Ambassador to Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain in 1972. In 1974, he would return to Kuwait, his first posting, as the new ambassador. In 1976 Stoltzfus retired from the foreign service and went into banking.
|Position||Host country or organization||Year|
|US Foreign Service||Alexandria, Egypt||1950 to 1952|
|US Foreign Service||Benghazi, Libya||1952 to 1954|
|US Foreign Service||Kuwait City, Kuwait||1954 to 1956|
|US Foreign Service||Damascus, Syria||1956 to 1957|
|US Foreign Service||Jeddah, Saudi Arabia||1957 to 1959|
|US Foreign Service||Aden, Yemen||1959 to 1961|
|US Foreign Service||Addis Ababa, Ethiopia||1966 to 1968|
|U.S. Ambassador||Muscat, Oman (concurrent accreditation to Bahrain, Qatar and United Arab Emirates)||1972 to 1974 |
|U.S. Ambassador||Kuwait City, Kuwait||1974 to 1976 |
John N. Gatch, Jr.
| United States Ambassador to Bahrain
Joseph W. Twinam
| United States Ambassador to Qatar
Robert Peter Paganelli
| United States Ambassador to United Arab Emirates
John Patrick Walsh
| United States Ambassador to Kuwait
Frank E. Maestrone