Bertha Rita McAllister

(August 16,1924 -- October 5, 2002)


From: Grady McAllister, October 8, 2002

It is my sad duty to announce the death of my mother, Bertha Rita McAllister of Houston. I have constructed the following biography as a press release:

Funeral services were held today for Bertha Rita McAllister, a former secretary of Watergate prosecutor Leon Jaworski and a pioneer in the medical transcription business.

She was born Bertha Rita Henault in Farmington, Connecticut, August 16, 1924. During most of her adult life, she was known as by her middle name, Rita.

Her father was Edmund Henault, an American of French Canadian extraction. Her mother, the former Bertha Mary Hawley, was of Irish and English descent. The Hawley name has appeared in America since colonial times.

After growing up in Southington, Connecticut, Bertha Rita Henault married Roy Grady McAllister, Senior, of Scottsboro, Alabama, in 1944.

She attended the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa for three years, majoring in journalism. Following her divorce, she worked as a secretary for a prominent Tuscaloosa attorney. She moved to Houston, Texas, in 1957 and lived there for the remainder of her life.

During her first year in Houston, she worked as a secretary in the oil and gas industry. She went on to spend five years as the personal secretary for Leon Jaworski, the Houston attorney who later led the Watergate investigations. She played a role in editing Jaworski's first book, After Fifteen Years (1961), a memoir about his prosecution of German leaders after World War II.

In 1963, Rita McAllister began a service which typed documents for attorneys and executives. The business gradually evolved into a medical transcription service, serving such major hospitals as Methodist, St. Joseph, Memorial, and St. Luke's as well as several smaller hospitals in Houston, Galveston, and Pasadena. She was the first person to persuade hospitals to out source medical transcription on a significant scale.

From 1980 to 1994, she worked in the medical records departments of the Methodist Hospital and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the Texas Medical Center.

She died in Pasadena, Texas, on October 5, 2002, following a courageous battle with cancer which lasted three years. She was buried at the Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery in Dickinson, Galveston County, Texas.

Contact: Grady McAllister at 713-944-2636. Mailing Address: PO Box 87518, Houston, Texas 77287.

Return to the Vasthead Home Page