Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Maggi Bevacqua-Geddes

Jazz fan Maggi Bevacqua-Geddes lived an offbeat, eclectic life

ST. PETERSBURG — The colorfully dressed woman emerged from the Princess Martha leaning on a walker, headed for another meeting of the Al Downing Tampa Bay Jazz Association.

Maggi Bevacqua-Geddes had retired from an international career in public relations to volunteer at the Morning Star School, which serves children with special learning needs, or to put out the jazz association's newsletter for 15 years.

Something many of her neighbors and fellow volunteers did not know: Mrs. Bevacqua-Geddes also had a colorful past, one she did not necessarily display unless asked.

For starters, take that period in her 20s when she worked in Paris at the Third General Assembly of the United Nations. Working for the U.S. delegation, Mrs. Bevacqua-Geddes handled communications for Eleanor Roosevelt, threw back cocktails with photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, and let Indira Gandhi walk Mrs. Bevacqua-Geddes' poodle, who otherwise passed the time snoozing in a file drawer.

Mrs. Bevacqua-Geddes, a feisty woman of the world who brightened the lives of others, died Wednesday. She was 90.

"She was the female Forrest Gump of the southeast Pacific and the postwar occupation," said writer Paula Stahel, who recently finished a biography of Mrs. Bevacqua-Geddes.

Mrs. Bevacqua-Geddes joined the Women's Army Corps in 1944 and worked in Japan and the Philippines. She seemed to break barriers everywhere she went, becoming one of the first cryptographers to work in Manila after the occupation, then the first woman to work on the Pacific Stars and Stripes, a newspaper for American troops.

When a pair of colleagues complained about Army interference in the newspaper and were reassigned, she was one of the remaining staffers who signed a protest letter to Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

In 1948, her tour of duty ended, Stahel said, "The Army came to her and said, 'Do you want to go home? We will send you.' She said, 'No, thank you, I am going to travel the world by myself.' "

Which is exactly what she did. After time in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, she returned to her home state of Wisconsin (she was born Margaret Rose in Madison), earning a master's degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin. She did her thesis on the "red scare."

Mrs. Bevacqua-Geddes was a public relations officer for the Corps of Engineers in New York and Chicago. She was transferred to Worms, Germany, for five years and back to Chicago. She retired in 1981 and moved to St. Petersburg.

But for a brief first marriage in the 1950s which produced a son, she remained single through most of her life. In 2002, at age 81, she married James Geddes. He died in 2009.

"I think of her as sort of the essence of jazz," said Sarah Hogan, a longtime member of the Al Downing society, "which has always been kind of varied and upbeat."

Researchers Natalie Watson and Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Andrew Meacham can be reached at or (727) 892-2248.

. Fast facts

Margaret "Maggi" Bevacqua-Geddes

Born: June 20, 1921

Died: April 25, 2012

Survivors: son, Frank; two grandchildren.

Mass: 10 a.m. May 5, St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, 515 Fourth St. S.

. Biography

Name here xxx

Born: xxxxxx

Died: xxxxxxxx

Survivors: xxx xxx xx xx xxx xx xx xx xxxxx

Jazz fan Maggi Bevacqua-Geddes lived an offbeat, eclectic life 04/28/12 [Last modified: Saturday, April 28, 2012 8:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.