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Marjorie Hayes leaves IWP $1 million bequest

Longtime supporter and friend of IWP Marjorie Hayes (known to her friends as Margie) recently passed away, leaving IWP a bequest of $1 million.  

“Margie was almost reckless in her spirit of adventure,” remembers IWP founder and president John Lenczowski.  

Her adventures began at a young age.  Margie arrived at the scene of the Hindenburg disaster an hour after it happened; she was attending school nearby at the time. Later, towards the end of the Second World War, she attended the Sorbonne in Paris.

Mrs. Hayes spent much of her career with the U.S. Agency for International Development, and her husband Joe also worked with her for USAID.  One of the people whom she knew in those days was a longtime friend and supporter of IWP, Larry Larkin.  Larry had his own storied career, working both in Hollywood when he was a kid, and eventually went to work for the CIA.  Margie met Larry through one of the several different posts where she was stationed in Latin America, living through several revolutionary coups-d’état.  “She liked hanging out with Larry, and missed him sorely when he passed,” comments IWP alumnus Paris Michaels, who also shared a close friendship with Margie in recent years.

Having witnessed the poverty induced by statist and socialist political systems through her various deployments, Margie was a staunch advocate of freedom and of limited government.  In fact, she was very outspoken, and became quite forthright in the expression of her political views.  She especially came to treasure the freedom we enjoy in America and the prosperity it creates for everyone, rich and poor alike.  As she came to say, poor people in the United States live as well as “middle class people in the third world.”

American Flag, IWPThis appreciation of America’s freedom and opportunity strengthened her patriotism and her deep commitment to the protection of this country.  “Margie was a stickler for flag etiquette, a topic which I hardly knew existed until she drilled me on it nearly every time we poured our Saturday evening scotch,” remembers Paris.  “She interrupted opening remarks on several official occasions to rectify positioning of a flag improperly placed on a stage.  [Its proper position is to the speaker’s right.]  In fact, her dedication to protocol was exceptional.  She would be furious when people cheered after the National Anthem was performed at sporting events. It is evidently improper, but I never found it in writing anywhere.”

“On one occasion,” recalls Dr. Lenczowski, “when the Institute was hosting a panel discussion on Switzerland which was attended by the Swiss ambassador, the Swiss embassy brought over a Swiss flag on a very tall flagpole, which turned out to be taller than the Institute’s American flag.  Outraged, Margie proceeded to buy the Institute the tallest flag and flagpole she could find so that this would never happen again.  This is the flag IWP currently has.”

Mrs. Hayes witnessed the penetration by the Soviet Union and communist Cuba into the Western hemisphere – a penetration that involved the creation of revolutionary movements and the subversion of cultural institutions, including even the Catholic Church via the vehicle of “liberation theology,” a Marxist interpretation of Christian theology that was condemned by Pope John Paul II.  The realities of such subversion have regularly been  distorted by large numbers of Latin American experts in American academia.  Margie was always committed to ensuring that the truth be taught.  “She could punch holes through revisionist history for hours on end,” remembers Paris.

During the course of her career, she became close friends with Kenneth Crosby, who eventually became her neighbor in Northwest Washington.  Mr. Crosby had worked for the FBI during World War II when it was the foreign intelligence service of the United States covering the Western hemisphere.  During the war, he worked in major countries in South America to foil Nazi espionage and political influence operations.  After the war, he joined the CIA, serving, among other places, in Cuba.  He served as a trustee of the Institute for a number of years, and introduced Mrs. Hayes to John Lenczowski and IWP. Margie came to appreciate IWP’s unique mission to educate new leaders for our country who, having studied American founding principles, and the formula of America’s success as a political economy, would strengthen their commitment to the defense of our rare political inheritance.  

She was passionate about helping IWP students through scholarships.  In 2002, she set up a scholarship in the name of her late husband, Joe Hayes.  She continued her generous gifts to our school for many subsequent years.  In fact, of her bequest, $500,000 is going towards the Joe C. Hayes Endowed Scholarship Fund, and $500,000 is going towards general support of the school.  IWP plans to invest her general support gift to enhance its infrastructure and expanded classrooms in Bently Hall.

In recent years, Paris Michaels arranged for Margie to realize one of her ambitions: to fly in an open cockpit biplane.  Paris also took her for a ride on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and an IWP professor took her on a hot air balloon ride.  At this time, she was already in her eighties. One of the things that she always wanted to do, but never finally enjoyed the chance, was to ride on an ostrich.

“She knew people and things I never imagined,” Paris remembers.  “She had a memory like a steel trap, especially for names and languages… Her friends were a menagerie of life – from astronauts, politicians, movie stars, and Presidents of several nations to criminals who are still serving time for crimes I fear to mention or recall.”  

“I believe she buried 5 doctors who advised her to stop smoking in the last twenty years,” comments Paris.  “She smoked about two packs a day towards the end. She started when she was about 13.  She grew orchids which thrived better than anyone else’s she claimed, ‘because they liked cigarette smoke.'”  

Paris shares other memories: “She would swear like a sailor but would not permit others to swear in her presence… She liked to bet on horses, as she was from Kentucky and knew the breeds, etc.  We would always share a mint julep on Kentucky Derby Day.  Her two favorite liquors were ‘Ballantine Blended Whiskey’ and ‘Old Parr.’  She liked anchovies on her pizza. She imbibed a very strong black coffee only once a day.  Her parents are buried at Arlington Cemetery but she wanted her ashes spread in the Potomac, near the Old Angler’s Inn.”

“Margie loved IWP and John Lenczowski,” he recalls.

“Whenever we think of Margie, all we can do is smile,” comments Dr. Lenczowski. “She was the portrait of spunk and courage.

“Margie, we will remain always grateful for your friendship and support of IWP.  Your memory will live on through our school.”