Edith "Jackie" Ronne, 89, who became the first U.S. woman to set foot on Antarctica when she accompanied her explorer husband there in 1947, died last Sunday of cancer and Alzheimer's disease at a Bethesda, Md., nursing home.

The Baltimore native was married to Finn Ronne, who persuaded her to accompany him on the expedition.

Finn Ronne, a Norwegian-born former U.S. Navy captain who died in 1980, insisted he lacked the language skills to write dispatches for the North American Newspaper Alliance, one of the trip's sponsors. His wife wrote the dispatches for him.

Ms. Ronne later lectured on cruises to the South Pole and wrote the book Antarctica's First Lady in 2004. In it, she hailed the continent's natural beauty. - AP