Myrtle ‘Mike’ Niccolls, aide to Md. first lady

Myrtle “Mike” Niccolls, who was a top aide to Patricia D. Hughes, the wife of former Maryland governor Harry R. Hughes (D), died Nov. 19 at her home in Alexandria. She was 96.

The cause was congestive heart failure, her son John A. Ives said.

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Myrtle Danico Niccolls was born in Brookline, Mass. She received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania in 1939. She settled in the Washington area during World War II and worked for the Army Security Agency, a National Security Agency precursor, and later for the Red Cross.

She was active in Democratic Party politics and helped manage the campaigns of candidates including former Virginia state senator Clive L. DuVal II (D-Fairfax). Ms. Niccolls worked for Patricia Hughes during her tenure as Maryland first lady from 1979 to 1987, with duties including management of the governor’s residence and social calendar.

Ms. Niccolls belonged to the Woman’s National Democratic Club and was a founding member of Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in Northern Virginia, where she sang in the choir and did volunteer work, her son said.

She served on the executive board of Burgundy Farm Country Day School in Alexandria, which her children attended, and volunteered at the Mount Vernon Mental Health Center and the Women’s Center in Vienna. She also was active in Bryn Mawr alumnae activities, including fundraising campaigns and other efforts on behalf of the school.

Her marriages to Kenneth G. Ives and Alex Halperin ended in divorce. Survivors include a son from her first marriage, John A. Ives of Alexandria; two children from her second marriage, Michael D. Halperin of Santa Fe, N.M., and Susan S. Halperin of Alexandria; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

— Emily Langer