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Celebration of Life ceremony for Marge Zap

By Robin Loving Rowland
The magnificent life of Marge Zap will be celebrated in a tribute ceremony Monday, September 9, at 4pm at Hotel Posada la Aldea on the Ancha de San Antonio.
Speakers will include her family, her closest friends and representatives of the groups with which she was most active, including Audubon, Jóvenes Adelante, Mujeres en Cambio, Occupy SMA, and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Memorial Service
Celebration of Life for Marge Zap
Mon, Sep 9, 4pm
Hotel Posada la Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio

Pianist Paula Peace, guitarists Jack & Francis and Fernando González Quintero, and others will play tributes to Marge.
All of Marge’s friends are invited to come, register so that the family can be aware of Marge’s many friends, write remembrances for a forthcoming digital memory book, enjoy the camaraderie of other friends of Marge and enjoy a reception afterward.
Friends wanting to assist with the reception may contact Anna Griffith at
Friends wanting to share photos or other remembrances may email them to Jon Sievert at
For additional information, contact Robin Loving Rowland at, 152-3709 in San Miguel, or 925-476-8117 from the US/Canada.

A message from Marge’s daughter
By Erica Zap
Marjorie L. Zap, 88, formerly of Florida, NY, died on August 17 in San Miguel de Allende, her home for the past 16 years. Marge was a community activist on women’s and population growth issues, and a noted dealer in international crafts.
Born during the Depression, Marge spent her childhood in challenging economic and personal circumstances. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she used her grit, resilience, courage and intelligence to change the life of others.
A native New Yorker, Marge majored in dramatic arts and economics at New York University. During World War II, she was an economist for the US Treasury Department in Washington, DC. She subsequently transferred to the United Nations in New York City, where she worked on economic development issues in third-world countries.
Marge met her husband, Herman, at the United Nations. In the early 1950s they left the UN and moved to Orange County, New York, where they established the Craft Barn, an international handcraft shop. For the next 30 years they traveled the world seeking one-of-a-kind, well-designed, affordable items for their clients.
When her husband died in 1979, Marge carried on with the business, and began to share her love of travel through writing. Eventually, Marge became a featured travel writer for the Middletown, NY, Times Herald Record, and later for Atención San Miguel and El Independiente in San Miguel.
Marge never closed her eyes to inequities around her. Among her many other commitments, she invested nearly two decades in various volunteer leadership positions with the Hudson Valley Health Systems Agency. She was also an avid supporter of Planned Parenthood, and active in the League of Women Voters.
At the same time, Marge’s policy was never to join an organization she didn’t want to be president of, as she clearly demonstrated by becoming president of the Hudson Valley Health Systems Agency, where she promoted the growth of primary care services in many underserved communities in the region.
When she closed the Craft Barn and moved to San Miguel de Allende in 1997, it was only to launch yet another another career in community activism with the Unitarian Universalist Church, the Audubon Society, and most importantly Mujeres en Cambio, a grass-roots organization committed to enhancing the lives of women living in rural communities surrounding San Miguel by providing educational scholarships to 150 young women each year.
Marge is survived by her son, Jon Zap; daughter-in-law Maddalena; daughter Erica; sister-in-law Betsy Lichtenberg; niece and nephew Margaret and Allen Lichtenberg; cousins and dear friends in many part of the world.
Tax-deductible contributions in Marge’s memory may be made to Mujeres en Cambio, c/o San Miguel Community Foundation, PMB 5-K, 220 N. Zapata Highway, 11A, Laredo, TX 78043.

A message from Mujeres en Cambio
By Kathy Devine, President, Mujeres en Cambio
Marge embodied the indomitable spirit of San Miguel’s expatriate community. She was courageous, generous to a fault, a champion of human rights and tenacious in everything she was involved in — and this was in her 80s!
I had the privilege of knowing Marge over the past 10 years, having first met her at a Mujeres en Cambio luncheon in December 2003 where she deftly recruited me as a member for life! Marge served in several leadership roles with Mujeres en Cambio over many years, and was devoted to educating as many young women as we could manage.
In her honor, Mujeres en Cambio has established the Marge Zap Scholar Program, which will provide funding and recognition for a worthy student each year. If you wish to contribute to this fund in Marge’s honor, the check should be made out to Mujeres en Cambio, with Marge Zap Scholar on the notation line.
This donation can be left in the Mujeres en Cambio mailbox 646B at La Conexion, Aldama 3.
Our lives continued to actively intersect at the Center for Global Justice, the Audubon Society, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Democrats Abroad, and, of course, at Mujeres en Cambio. She has been an inspiration to me and a friend that I will truly miss.

A message from Jóvenes Adelante
By Stephanie Hough
Marge Zap (1924-2013), one of the visionary founders of Jóvenes Adelante, passed away on Saturday, August 17.
Marge was instrumental in developing Mujeres en Cambio, and was the author of Our Caring Community, a directory to help the foreign community in San Miguel de Allende.
She found time to chair organizations and grow them into vital components of the San Miguel community.
We offer our thoughts and prayers to Marge’s family and loved ones,” said Jóvenes Adelante President Sue Leonard. Stephanie Hough, immediate past president of Jóvenes Adelante, added, “We feel this loss deeply, and will always be grateful for Marge’s countless contributions and her caring for our community.”
Marge will be remembered by the many students and volunteers with whom she tirelessly shared her smiles and words of wisdom. We will also carry with us her examples of passion and generosity, as well as memories of her intellect and heart.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel will celebrate Marge’s life in a memorial service at the Hotel Posada de La Aldea in San Miguel Monday, September 9, at 4pm. Read more about Marge’s remarkable life in the on-line magazine Mexconnect.

A message from a fellow activist
By Georgeann Johnson
Marge was something else. Inimitable, indomitable, larger than life and certainly much larger than her small frame would suggest.
I have never known anyone that so deftly combined her qualities of intelligence, curiosity, perseverance and warrior-compassion into a powerhouse of simultaneous being/doing.
She has definitely touched many lives, and she will live on in those lives and hearts, including mine.

Remembering Marge Zap
By Suzanne Ludekens (Former editor-in-chief, Atención San Miguel)
I met Marge Zap about 10 years ago when she confidently entered the Atención San Miguel office and requested a red pen to copy edit content for that week’s issue. Hardly a surprise as many others did the same, however, Marge was a little woman already in her seventies. Her warm, girlish smile, bright curious eyes and measured speech were, as she shared some of her experiences with me, the result of a cultured, well-travelled and adventurous life. Very quickly Marge established that she was not to be judged by her height or age.
She was not only a dedicated ‘proofer’ but also a regular contributor of articles about the many organizations she loved and supported. My favorite writings by Marge were her travelogues about visits to New York. Days spent wandering in museums followed by tasty meals were clearly great passions. And it was easy to envision the adventurous younger woman who signed off earlier travel stories as ‘The Zapster.’
Marge will be remembered as a delightful, cultured, deeply caring woman with a twinkle in her eye as she headed off into her next adventure.

Marge Zap’s bio

I am a native of New York City through my college years at New York University where I studied in two major areas: dramatic art and economics. During World War II I worked as an economist for the US Treasury Department in Washington and at the conclusion of the war transferred to the United Nations in New York where I worked on economic development issues in third world countries. I met my husband at the UN. We both left the UN in the early 1950s and moved to Orange County, New York, where we established an international handcraft shop featuring traditional crafts. For 30 years we traveled around the world seeking one-of-a-kind well-designed items in prices affordable to customers who came to a country shop in a large barn. During our travels we kept looking for a place with a moderate climate for our retirement years.
My husband died in 1979 and I carried on with the business, the traveling and many local organizational activities. In 1996 I decided it was time to retire and move to another area. I lived in a 250-year-old house, had a large barn housing a demanding business, 25 acres of land and a swimming pool. That year the pool, septic system, the well and the pump had to be replaced. A lawn service, electricians, plumbers, biweekly house cleaner and a weekly handyman were regular visitors. And let’s not overlook the ever-increasing taxes. Finally, in my 70th year I decided to leave it all and warm my perennially cold feet in a moderate climate. It was a choice between Bali, Indonesia and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
After wintering in San Miguel for three years I bought a small house there in 1997 within easy walking distance of the city center. An addition for family and guests was designed by Gonzalo Bauer, my Mexico City artist and architect friend, and happily executed by a delightful San Miguel engineer. I obtained Mexico residency papers, selected the belongings I wanted to move to San Miguel, arranged for a New Jersey shipper to pack and deliver them to Laredo, Texas where a Mexican transport company passed them through customs, brought them to my house, unpacked and placed everything. I had heard tales of woe from residents who had had unhappy shipping experiences. My good fortune continued with the prompt delivery of custom-made curtains and a file cabinet. There was no evidence of “mañana.”
Once I had purchased and remodeled my home, it didn’t take me long to fit into the community.
Before leaving the US I was a featured travel writer for the Middletown, New York, Times Herald Record. After coming to San Miguel I wrote for Atención San Miguel (the English language weekly) and then for El Independiente (a local newspaper published in both Spanish and English), which was interested in longer travel and other feature stories about San Miguel.

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