Mary Augusuta France, 90, the daughter of a former slave and a Washington caterer and chef for more than 60 years, died of pneumonia Jan. 5 at the Mar-Salle nursing home in Washington.
Mrs. France came to Washington at about the age of 20 and worked as a maid and cook before she began supervising parties for prominent Washington families.
She worked for Pearl Mesta in the 1940s, and the family of William Randolph Hearst Jr., in the early 1950s. She also had supervised events for John F. Kennedy and Katherine Graham.
Known as "Augusta" to her friends and clients, Mrs. France was an accomplished pastry chef whose specialties included Napoleons and eclairs. She retired about 10 years ago.
Mrs. France was born in Martinsville, Va. One parent had been a slave, the other an indentured servant. Mrs. France began working at an early age, and as was common in those days, did not get to finish elementary school.
Coming to this area to seek her fortune, she lived in the District of Columbia for 70 years before her death.
Her husband, Charles France, died in the late 1940s.
Survivors include a daughter, Mabel France Hundley of Cape Cod, Mass.; a grandson, and three great-grandsons.