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Former first lady, Boggs-MacGuire subsequently divorced Figueres and returned home to Montgomery, Alabama.
- Former Minister Dyalá Jiménez and Birmingham-Southern College courtesy photos -

Published Thursday, September 10, 2020

Former first lady Henrietta Boggs-
MacGuire passes away

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Henrietta Boggs-MacGuire, a U.S. citizen and First Lady of Costa Rica between 1948 and 1949, died on Wednesday at the age of 102 at her home in the U.S. state of Alabama.

“With deep regret, the Figueres family communicates the death of Mrs. Henrietta Boggs, First Lady of Costa Rica between 1948 and 1949," Dyalá Jiménez, her granddaughter and former Minister of Foreign Trade, announced on her Facebook profile. "She was 102 years old and died of natural causes accompanied by her daughter, Muni Figueres Boggs."

“Doña Henrietta was born in South Carolina, United States, in 1918 and came to Costa Rica in 1940 to spend a summer with her uncles. During that trip, she met who became her first husband from 1941 to 1954, José Figueres Ferrer, with whom she had two children, José Martí (may he rest in peace) and Muni. She was remarried to Dr. Hugh MacGuire,” Jiménez said. "Doña Henrietta used to say that: "There is the country where you born and the country you choose and I chose Costa Rica."

"Her family and friends will always remember her sense of humor, charm and optimism that was an inspiration to many,” Jiménez posted.

In September 2017, "First Lady of the Revolution," a documentary about Boggs debuted in the local movie theater, Cine Magaly.

The bio-pic details Boggs who married Figueres before he was a national political figure. She was with him as he led the 1948 revolution. The movie was directed by Andrea Kalin, who was inspired by the book, "Married to a Legend" that was published by Boggs in 1992.

In June 2017, the so-called First Lady of the Revolution received an honorary doctorate from Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama.

Boggs-MacGuire received an honorary doctor of humanities acknowledging her lifelong advocacy for social change and equality, according to a statement from the college announcing the honorary degrees.

"When the 22-year-old Boggs-MacGuire- then a junior at Birmingham-Southern - decided to visit her aunt and uncle in Costa Rica, she had no idea she would end up influencing the fate of that nation," the Birmingham-Southern College announcement read. "On that visit, she met and fell in love with Jose Figueres, a coffee farmer who would go on to lead the democratic revolution against the corrupt power structure."

Boggs-MacGuire married Figueres, commonly known as Don Pepe in Costa Rica, on Oct. 18, 1941, and spent two years with him in exile in México and El Salvador. A disputed election in 1948 led to the Costa Rican Civil War, which found Figueres leading the victorious rebel army and establishing a temporary junta. That led to the creation of the modern Costa Rican state and the establishing of a new constitution and abolishing the military.

“As president, Figueres directed the creation of a new constitution and enacted numerous popular reforms - many of them stemming from the perspective his wife brought with her from the U.S.,” the Birmingham statement said. "In her 18 months as the first lady of Costa Rica, she pushed her husband for important changes, especially giving women the right to vote."

Boggs-MacGuire subsequently divorced Figueres and returned home to Montgomery, Alabama.



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