Born in Alexandria, Louisiana, on May 16, 1918. Lathrope Keen Baker Voorspuy went from girlhood in the Deep South to follow many varied career paths: research and analytical chemist, war-plant inspector, wife and mother. But it was in the often boisterous world of reform Democratic politics in New York City, first in Greenwich Village, and later on Staten Island's North Shore that she found an outlet for a political streak that was both deeply idealistic and more than a touch combative.
In September, 1944, Lathrope walked into Jack Delaney's Bar in Greenwich Village and met a young navigation officer with the Netherlands Merchant Marine, Hendrik “Henk” Voorspuy. Two weeks after the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, Lathrope and Hank were married at 1 a.m. at the courthouse in Covington, Georgia. In August, 1995, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
With the birth of her daughter, Cindy, Mrs. Voorspuy stopped working outside the home, in a manner of speaking. She joined the Greenwich Village Chapter of the NAACP, serving as membership chairwoman. She was an active member of the Village Independent Democrats, and served in Bella Abzug's first campaign for U.S. Congress. She was involved in the anti-Vietnam War movement, the pro-choice movement, and movements for nuclear disarmament.
In 1970, Mrs. Voorspuy and her family moved to New Brighton, Staten Island. She wasted no time in immersing herself in local politics; joining the Staten Island Democratic Association (SIDA), which honored her with the Peggy Johnston Club Service Award in 1995. (Her daughter Cindy is a past president of the SIDA.) In 1973, she became captain of the 14th Election District of the 59th Assembly District, and was elected to the Democratic County Committee.
Through the ‘80s and ‘90s, Mrs. Voorspuy continued her vocal and energetic activism on both local and national issues. She was active in the opposition to the berthing of nuclear-capable ships at the Staten Island Homeport, and served with a number of groups opposed to U.S. support of dictatorial regimes in Central America.
Throughout her life, Mrs. Voorspuy retained a Southern drawl and an irrepressible enthusiasm for parties and social gatherings great and small.