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Doyenne Of Foreign Press In Lisbon Dies

January 23, 1985

LISBON, Portugal (AP) _ Jose Shercliff, doyenne of Lisbon’s foreign press corps for nearly four decades, has died after a long illness, hospital officials said Wednesday. She was 82.

Miss Shercliff, a British subject, died Monday at Cascais Hospital in the suburban resort of Cascais, hospital officials said. They did not disclose the cause of death.

Miss Shercliff covered events ranging from Lisbon’s notorious spy escapades in World War II to the city’s Revolution of Flowers, which toppled the late dictator Antonio de Salazar in 1974.

A part-time reporter for The Associated Press from 1947 to 1964, Miss Shercliff also worked in Portugal for the British Broadcasting Corp. and British newspapers, including the Times of London.

After covering the start of the Spanish civil war from Barcelona, she went on to Paris, only to flee a few days before the Germans occupied the French capital. Back in England, she decided to go to the United States.

But once in Lisbon, the wartime stopover for those travelling to the United States, she became fascinated with the city, which was thronged with refugees and with spies from both sides.

Over the years, Miss Shercliff became a kind of well-informed aunt to foreign reporters who moved in and out of Portugal, cheerfully dispensing advice to the dozens who made their way to her vine-covered suburban home.

Miss Shercliff was born Nov. 2, 1902 in Burton-On-Trent, England, and had declined to give her real first name for years, saying that her nickname Jose honored ″a lot of aunts who died and didn’t leave me a lot of money, anyway.″

In autobiographical notes, she said she decided to become a reporter when she was given her first subscription to a newspaper at age 6.

She received a bachelor of arts degree at Oxford University - ″not very brilliantly,″ she once wrote - and then went to Paris where she became a reporter ″by the back stairs,″ working as secretary to the correspondent of the London Daily Express.

She never married.

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