|Birth: ||Sep. 13, 1896|
St. Lawrence County
New York, USA
|Death: ||Jul. 31, 1944|
Missy LeHand was private secretary to Franklin D. Roosevelt (32nd US President of the United States) for over two decades. FDR confidant and Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter regarded her as the "fifth most powerful person in the country" at the time. Her relationship with FDR transcended her role as his secretary. She was treated by the President, Mrs. Roosevelt, their family, friends and others as a member of the family. She had a private apartment in the White House and served as hostess when First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was traveling, which was quite often. LeHand was a constant presence in FDR's life and almost always traveled with him. He trusted her completely and appreciated her good judgment.
She spent her formative years in Somerville, Massachusetts, and returned there to live with her sister during the last few years of her life. She was born in Potsdam, New York. In 1941, she had a debilitating stroke and was paralyzed and could no longer perform her duties as FDR's secretary.
In return for LeHand's devotion to him, President Roosevelt paid all of LeHand's medical bills. In addition, he rewrote his will to leave half of his estate (worth more than $3 million at the time) to her— with the other half going to Mrs. Roosevelt. However, LeHand died in 1944 (preceding FDR in death by less than a year).
When LeHand died, the President issued a statement which read, "Memories of more than a score of years of devoted service enhance the sense of personal loss which Miss LeHand's passing brings. Faithful and painstaking, with charm of manner inspired by tact and kindness of heart, she was utterly selfless in her devotion to duty. Hers was a quiet efficiency, which made her a real genius in getting things done. Her memory will ever be held in affectionate remembrance and appreciation, not only by all the members of our family but by the wide circle of those whose duties brought them into contact with her."
FDR was not able to attend LeHand's funeral, but Mrs. Roosevelt attended— as did former US Ambassador to Great Britain, Joseph P. Kennedy, the father of future President John F. Kennedy; and Associate Justice Frankfurter. FDR also paid for Missy LeHand's funeral and her headstone. The President managed to include a personal note on her headstone, which read, " ‘She was utterly selfless in her devotion to duty.' Franklin D. Roosevelt." A large, beautiful rock with pink and gray is nearby with a bronze plaque which simply reads "LeHand." She is buried next to her sister.
FDR signed legislation passed by Congress which commissioned an 18,000 ton C3 cargo vessel as the S.S. Marguerite LeHand, which was christened in Pascagoula, Mississippi. As the ship departed on her maiden voyage, in March 1945, she ran into the U.S. Coast Guard tender Magnolia, which sank in minutes and killed a guardsman.
Note: She was buried in Mass.
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Created by: Mark Ranslem
Record added: Feb 22, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 85502386
repose en paix mon cher cœur|
Added: May. 26, 2015
Any friend of FDR's is a friend of mine! God bles you.|
Added: Nov. 10, 2014
Rest in Peace, Missy.|
Added: Jul. 31, 2014
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