WASHINGTON — M. Gayle Fitzgerald Cory, a 35-year Senate employee and retired Senate postmaster, died April 15 after a long struggle with cancer.
Mrs. Cory was born in the northern Maine town of St. John in 1935, the daughter of George L. and Melissa Sturgeon Fitzgerald.
She moved from Maine to Washington and worked for AT&T before becoming receptionist to newly elected Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine in 1959. She remained with Muskie’s staff, moving up to assume casework and scheduling duties and becoming his executive assistant, during the next two decades.
In April 1980, she was one of the handful of Senate staff members who moved with Muskie to the Department of State when he was named secretary of state. In her 22 years with Sen. Muskie, Mrs. Cory became his most trusted assistant and was a close friend of the family.
In February 1981, Cory returned to the Senate as executive assistant to Sen. George Mitchell, who was appointed to fill Muskie’s Senate seat. She had worked with Mitchell when he was a staff member for Sen. Muskie during the 1960s. Mrs. Cory remained Sen. Mitchell’s top personal assistant until he became Senate majority leader, and was appointed by him as Senate postmaster.
As postmaster, Cory supervised improvements in office security operations and established personnel policies and other reforms to preserve the integrity of the postal operation while the counterpart House Postal Services were involved in scandal.
Cory is survived by her husband, Donald B. Cory, of Gaithersburg, Md.; her mother, Melissa Sturgeon Fitzgerald, of Bath; daughters Laurie Lightbody Crane of Bremen, and Melissa J. Cory and Carole S. Cory, both of Gaithersburg; a brother, Duane D. Fitzgerald, and sister, Carole J. Rouillard, both of Bath; and stephchildren Marsha Cory, Thomas Cory, Michelle Shorts, Karen Garth and Karla Taylor, all of the Washington, D.C., area.