2011.12.17: December 17, 2011: Obituary for Nigeria RPCV Margery (Michelmore) Heffron

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Nigeria: Peace Corps Nigeria : Peace Corps Nigeria: Newest Stories: 2011.12.17: December 17, 2011: Margery Michelmore Heffron unknowingly created an international incident as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nigeria in 1961 : 2011.12.17: December 17, 2011: Obituary for Nigeria RPCV Margery (Michelmore) Heffron

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Obituary for Nigeria RPCV Margery (Michelmore) Heffron

Obituary for Nigeria RPCV Margery (Michelmore) Heffron

During Peace Corps training at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, Michelmore (she was not yet married) wrote a postcard to a friend back home that noted the country's "squalor and absolutely primitive living conditions." Before the postcard was mailed it was found by a Nigerian student who, offended by its contents, proceeded to distribute copies of it all over campus. Crowds gathered; riots ensued. Peace Corps staff, fearing for Michelmore's safety, whisked her out of the country. But the Associated Press had already picked up the story, and it became front-page news around the world. In twenty-first-century parlance, the postcard had gone viral. "I finally went to the fortieth reunion of Nigeria I ten years ago. It was just so warm and welcoming. That healed a lot of the pain I've always felt about the whole thing."

Obituary for Nigeria RPCV Margery (Michelmore) Heffron

Margery M. Heffron

EXETER - Margery M. Heffron, 73, died of cancer Friday, Dec. 9, 2011, at her home.

She was a native of Foxboro, Mass., and graduated from Smith College. She earned her master of arts degree from Columbia University.

Mrs. Heffron was associate director for media relations at the Harvard University News Office, 1981-89, and associate vice president for university relations at Binghamton University (SUNY), 1989-95. She had lived in Exeter for the last 12 years where she continued to work as a freelance writer and editor.

Peace Corps Online

Caption: Margery Michelmore in white shirt, at Peace Corps training camp.

Until her death, she was at work on a biography of Louisa Catherine Adams, wife of the sixth U.S. president.

She is survived by her husband of 49 years, Frank H. Heffron; one daughter and her husband, Anne Heffron and Chris Sigler of Palo Alto, Calif.; two sons and one daughter-in-law, John Heffron of Providence, R.I., and Samuel and Ashley Heffron of Kittery Point, Maine; three grandchildren, Keats Iwanaga of Los Gatos and Palo Alto, Calif., and William and Phineas Heffron of Kittery Point; one sister, Mary Ackerman Hayes of Keene; and two brothers, John H. Michelmore of Foxboro and David L. Michelmore of Pittsburgh, Penn.

SERVICES: Services will be held Saturday, Dec. 17, at 11 a.m. in Christ Church Episcopal, 43 Pine St., Exeter.

Memorial donations may be made to the Exeter Public Library or to Smith College for the Class of 1960 Memorial Fund.

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