Margaret I. Levee, 71, a registered nurse who took part in emergency rescue efforts during the 1947 Texas City disaster, died of cancer Friday at the Fairfax Nursing Center.

Mrs. Levee was teaching nursing education at a Galveston, Tex., hospital on Apr. 16, 1947, when two Liberty ships loaded with ammonium nitrate fertilizer ignited, causing a series of fires and blasts which devastated the Texas City waterfront on Galveston Bay for two days. The blasts, recorded on a Denver seismograph more than 1,000 miles away, killed more than 560 persons, injured more than 3,000 others and caused more than $50 million in property damage.

Because she was fluent in French, Mrs. Levee helped French cargo ship survivors of the disaster writer home during the chaotic aftermath by writing names and addresses in lipstick on her starched white nurse's uniform.

Mrs. Levee was born in Williamsburg, Iowa. She was an Army nurse cadet in Texas during World War II. In 1946, she graduated from the University of Texas nursing school at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston. She completed graduate studies in pediatrics at Children's Hospital here in 1949.

Before returning to this area in 1959, when her husband, John A. Levee, went to work for the Department of Labor, she worked at Texas state psychiatric hospital and Tumor Institute in Houston and at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Waco, Tex.

Mrs. Levee lived in Falls Church and was a member of Christ Episcopal Church in Alexandria. She was a member of the texas State Society, the Texas Exstudents Association and the Order of the Eastern Star.

Besides her husband, survivors include a daughter, Cynthia L. Burleson of Alexandria.