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Harriet Sackett Micocci

1913 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Harriet Sackett Micocci Obituary

Harriet Sackett Palmer Micocci, 101, author and translator in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, died peacefully at home in Gulfport, Florida on February 12, 2014. A longtime resident of the District of Columbia, she was born January 16, 1913 in Syracuse, NY, the daughter of Rhoda S. and Dr. Joseph C. Palmer. She was predeceased by her first husband Astley Hawkins whom she divorced in the 1940's and by her second husband, Antonio A. Micocci who died in 1966. Hal, as she was known, graduated from Smith College in 1934 after majoring in history. Prevented from studying abroad in Spain by the Spanish Civil War, she went to Italy instead and was proud to have earned her M.A. at Radcliffe College, now part of Harvard University, after studying with the famous Italian anti-Fascist professor Gaetano Salvemini. Her facility with language - at one time she coached the opera students of Madame Louise Homer in their German pronunciation - led eventually to her work in Washington D.C. During World War II she translated Italian at the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA, and traveled for the OSS to North Africa and Italy. When the OSS was disbanded she was transferred to the U.S. State Department where she worked on the Italian Desk until she left to raise her children. To her knowledge she was the first civilian American woman to enter Rome with the Allies during the war, after their march up the Italian peninsula. Later, Hal's work for the U.S. Dept of Labor's Division of Foreign Labor Conditions sent her to Israel and Hong Kong. With her best friend, the late Priscilla Mason, also a longtime D.C. resident, she traveled in retirement to Russia, China, Turkey, and Indonesia among other countries. Hal was a prolific writer of letters, poetry and diaries. She had two books published: Protocol and the Peabodies about balancing work in the State Department with raising chickens in what was then very rural Virginia; and Captain Orkle's Treasure, a book for young people she wanted to write after observing her children's fascination with the Narnia books of C.S. Lewis. The original working title, Captain Orkle and the Outward Bounder, paid homage to the magical boat that carried the adventurers, but was vetoed by the publisher. Throughout her life Hal welcomed young people into her home, including the two dozen who stayed with her for the 1969 March on Washington to stop the Viet Nam war. After her retirement she lived much of the year on the coast of Maine where she continued to welcome guests. In her seventies she helped crew a sailboat from Maine to Florida during a particularly stormy Atlantic Ocean passage. In her eighties she became a docent at the Brunswick, Maine home of her Civil War hero, the Union general, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Hal leaves her daughter Rhoda Micocci together with her husband David Jackson of West Hartford, CT, son Tony Micocci together with his wife Martha Savitzky of New Orleans, LA, son Jonathan Micocci together with his wife Christine Crosby of Gulfport, FL, granddaughter Sonja Micocci Hoskins of Ukiah CA together with her husband Christopher Hoskins and their daughter Juniper Hoskins, granddaughter Maddalena Jackson of Altadena CA together with her friend Zachary Mills, and granddaughter Alair Micocci of Brooklyn New York. The family wishes to thank Hal's kind and patient caregivers, and in particular the person in whose passionate and loving heart she found a home the last years of her life, Jacqueline Forcier. There will be a private memorial service and celebration of Hal's life at the Unitarian-Universalist Church of St. Petersburg, FL. A memorial website will be available through A Life Tribute Funeral Care of Gulfport, FL at www.alifetribute.com.

Published in The Hartford Courant on Feb. 22, 2014
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