Guida Annamaria Stellacci Evans-Magher, 79, a retired consular affairs officer with the U.S. State Department, died Sept. 22 of vascular disease at her home in the District.
Mrs. Evans-Magher, known for her charming Italian accent and thousand-watt smile, was born in Naples, Italy, the youngest of four children. Her father, Giovanni Stellacci, was publisher and editor of La Campania, a Neapolitan newspaper shut down by the government because of its opposition to the regime of Benito Mussolini.
As a teenager in southern Italy during World War II, she experienced the terror of bombings, German reprisals for partisan activities, the loss of the family home and the capture of her brother, Franco, by the Germans. She also lived through the disruption of her education and the hunger and chaos that were the lot of many Italians during the war.
Despite the difficulties, she managed to become fluent enough in English to become a translator at the U.S. air base at Capodichino, Italy. There, she met Air Force pilot Joseph Barrett Evans and became one of the thousands of war brides who came to the United States at the end of the war.
Living in Kansas City, Mo., she helped her husband finish college on the GI Bill and became a partner in his residential design and construction business. Together, they promoted innovative architecture and design concepts in the Kansas City area.
Her husband's death from cancer in 1962 left her a widow with five children, the youngest 18 months old. She finished construction on several houses her husband had begun and then learned keypunch operation so she could work at night and be home with her children during the day.
She managed a paint store in Kansas City until she discovered she was being paid less than the previous manager simply because she was a woman, and then taught herself typing and stenography so she could qualify for federal employment. A daughter recalled reading aloud to her night after night, so she could practice typing the sample material ("A senator from Virginia . . .").
In 1964, she took a civil service examination and was offered a secretarial position with the State Department in Washington. Mastering the intricacies of immigration law and regulations, she quickly began receiving promotions and eventually became a consular affairs officer. In 1976, she served as U.S. vice consul in Milan. Although she loved being back in Italy, she returned to Washington after a year for her children's education. She retired in 1993.
Mrs. Evans-Magher founded a social club for young Foreign Service professionals -- she called it Foggy Bottom International (FBI) -- and served as a volunteer candy striper at Walter Reed Army Medical Center during the Vietnam War.
Survivors include her husband of 30 years, George Robert Magher Jr. of Washington; five children from her first marriage, Margherita Pryor of Providence, R.I., Carla O'Rourke of Newport, R.I., Donald Evans and Steven Evans, both of Washington; and Paul Evans of Austin; a sister; 14 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.