Maggie Schuss (Margarita Campo), the founding mother of the Brothers to the Rescue, passed away on Monday from cancer:
Maggie Schuss, ‘mother’ of Brothers to the Rescue, dies
As a “founding mother’’ of Brothers to the Rescue, Maggie Schuss took on nearly every role with the anti-Castro exile group except piloting the planes searching for rafters fleeing Cuba.
She flew as a spotter, dropped leaflets, acted as the group’s spokeswoman, packed supplies, kept the books, and offered encouragement to her husband, William R. “Billy’’ Schuss, who co-founded Brothers to the Rescue with Jose Basulto in 1991.
They married 50 years ago, hastily, at the Brazilian Embassy in Havana, where Billy had sought asylum following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, then reunited months later in Miami.
Born Margarita Campo in Cuba’s Camagüey province on April 28, 1939, she died of lung cancer Monday at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
In addition to her work with Brothers to the Rescue, Schuss ran the Cuban American National Foundation’s membership program in the early 1990s.
Short, with a smoker’s raspy voice, Schuss worked 16 years as a secretary in the Miami law offices of Sofia Powell-Cosio, who represents Brothers to the Rescue and other exile-community causes, as well as corporate clients.
“She never wanted to retire,’’ her husband said. “She would go crazy. She was so active, she could never sit down.’’
“For both of our missions, it was the perfect fit,’’ said Powell-Cosio. “We do a lot of pro bono work for things related to Cuba, and it was great to have an employee who understood the whole scene.’’
Schuss surrounded herself with photos of her three children and eight grandchildren, and made Cuban coffee to exacting specifications for the all-female office.
“It had to have just the right amount of sugar and just the right amount of foam,’’ said Powell-Cosio. “Coffee was sacred to her.’’
So was the struggle for a free Cuba.
“I always felt I had to work twice as hard for Cuba because I was pro-Fidel in the beginning —and Billy and I are one of the few people in exile to admit it,” Maggie Schuss said in an interview for Seagull One: The Amazing True Story of Brothers to the Rescue (University Press of Florida, 2010) by Jose Basulto and Lily Prellezo.