Margaretta “Happy” Rockefeller, the widow of former U.S. Vice President and New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, died May 19 in her sleep at her home in Tarrytown . She was 88.
Born June 9, 1926, she graduated in 1944 from the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and married Dr. James Slater Murphy in 1948. The couple had four children, three of whom survive. She divorced Murphy about a month before marrying Rockefeller in May 1963.
Nicknamed “Happy” as a child because of her pleasant demeanor, she was a well-known socialite for many causes, including serving as chairman of the board for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. She also supported the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park in New York City, the Central Park Conservancy and Historic Hudson Valley.
In 1974, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent two mastectomies. She and Betty Ford, wife of President Gerald Ford, were among the first women to speak publicly about the disease.