Margaret Ware Kahliff, 88, a former director of the Export-Import Bank, died of complications after a heart attack Sept. 30 at a hospital in Cleveland.
Appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1976, she was reappointed by Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and served on the board of the bank until 1982. The Export-Import Bank is an independent government agency designed to promote U.S. exports by making low-interest loans to foreign buyers. At the time, more than half of its loans financed the sale of U.S. commercial aircraft.
She resigned because she didn't think the Reagan administration was doing enough about world trade, she told a reporter in 1982. "My boss William H. Draper III said, 'Good, there are a lot of good Republicans looking for your seat.' I said, 'What is a good Republican?' and he said, 'One who didn't serve under Carter,' and from that day forward I wanted to get out."
She also noted that when she was chairman of the bipartisan board for five months and had to testify at congressional oversight hearings, the Office of Management and Budget "was always trying to tell me what to say and I wouldn't do it."
She lived in Washington and returned to Elyria, Ohio, in 1996.
An accomplished businesswoman, Mrs. Kahliff started the first Dr Pepper franchise north of the Mason-Dixon line in 1947 with her first husband, Earl E. Ware. That marriage ended in divorce.
In 1950, she founded Ware Vending Co. She later was one of the founders of Servomation Inc. She retired from that firm in 1970 and became chief executive of Majestic Molding Co. in Elyria.
She was a founding member of the Council of Smaller Enterprises, a board member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, a trustee of the College of the Ozarks, the First Lady of Elyria in 1968, and the first female member of the Cleveland Sales Marketing Executives Club.
At a Women's Campaign Fund meeting of "first women" in 1979 in Washington, she declared herself to have been the first female member of the Chamber of Commerce in Cleveland.
Born in Oak Grove, Ark., she attended the College of the Ozarks in Arkansas.
She enjoyed gardening, music, swimming and Ohio State University football games.
She funded a chair in the School of Forestry at Ohio State in memory of her second husband, William T. Kahliff, whom she married in 1959 and who died in 1970.
Survivors include three children from the first marriage, Linda W. Smith of Rocky River, Ohio, William B. Ware of Elyria and David E. Ware of Chicago; two brothers, former senator Dale Bumpers of Washington and Little Rock and Carroll Bumpers of Phoenix; 10 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.