Virginia Hart, public affairs officer

November 29, 2013

Virginia Hart, former director of public affairs for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and deputy director of public affairs for the Interior Department, died Nov. 8 at the home of her daughter in Alexandria. She was 91.

The cause was heart ailments, said her daughter Susan Hart.

Mrs. Hart was named chief of public affairs for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1964 and served in that job for about six years. She developed a series of paperback picture books describing the customs and environments of Indian populations of various states. She was deputy director of public affairs at the Interior Department until the late 1970s.

Virginia Byrnes Sheahan was a native of Worcester, Mass., where she was a 1945 graduate of Clark University. She received a master’s degree in public administration from American University in 1959.

In 1948, she married broadcast journalist Ed Hart. She assisted him in the production of nationwide radio broadcasts. From 1949 to 1953, she was a scriptwriter for Voice of America, specializing in Far East matters. She wrote and directed broadcasts of Secretary of State Dean Acheson to Korea during the Korean War.

Mrs. Hart helped American University organize a master’s degree program in public communications in the 1960s.

She was longtime Alexandria resident before moving to her daughter’s home four years ago.

Mrs. Hart’s husband died in 1988. Survivors include three children, Susan Jane Hart and Edward Wales Hart, both of Alexandria, and Cherie Hart of Bangkok; and two granddaughters.

— Bart Barnes