Mary Evelyn White Gorman, 93, medical secretary at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda

January 27, 2003|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Mary Evelyn White Gorman, a Washington, D.C., native and the medical secretary who, according to her family, typed the autopsy report on President John F. Kennedy in 1963, died Tuesday in her sleep at the Charlestown Retirement Center in Catonsville. She was 93 and suffered from dementia.

A talkative woman who "wasn't great" at keeping secrets, according to her granddaughter Tara Gorman of Washington, D.C., she never spoke about what the Kennedy autopsy said or the circumstances of her participation in recording it.

"She let her family know she did it, but despite many probes, she never said anything," her granddaughter said.

"She was not loquacious at that point," said her son, Francis J. Gorman of Baltimore, about a topic that came up among family members who knew that "Mom touched history."

Mrs. Gorman worked as a medical secretary at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda from 1947 until 1969 under Dr. James J. Humes, senior pathologist and director of laboratories. Dr. Humes acted as chief autopsy surgeon, according to the Warren Commission report on the assassination.

"I think quite frankly at the time [the Kennedy autopsy] was important, but probably didn't have the national significance it did in the 1970s and '80s" as speculation about conspiracies gained credence, her son said.

"I don't think she thought it was a big deal in the '60s. By the time it did become one, she didn't have it with her anymore. To my knowledge, she was never contacted" by investigators about her work on the report, he said.

Mrs. Gorman was born and raised in Washington and took a commercial course at Eastern High School there to prepare for a secretarial career.

She worked for an Ohio congressman and then at the National Geographic Society before becoming a legal secretary for patent attorneys.

In 1934, she married Clarence Reginald Gorman, a patent attorney. After Mr. Gorman died in 1942, she continued living in Bethesda.

She moved to Charlestown in 1986, joining a sister and two other relatives who lived there, and to be nearer her son's family.

She was an avid bridge player and a volunteer for the American Cancer Society.

Mrs. Gorman was also a "boisterous" Redskins fan, according to her family.

"She would be so loud, she would wake up the house," Tara Gorman said.

"It was like she was in the stadium. She loved to watch them," her son said.

Services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday in the chapel at Charlestown Retirement Center, 711 Maiden Choice Lane, Catonsville.

In addition to her son and granddaughter, survivors include a daughter, Mary Catherine Winter of Kenmore, Wash.; a son, Timothy J. Gorman of Chevy Chase; 11 other grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Donations may be sent to the Charlestown Scholarship Fund, 711 Maiden Choice Lane, Catonsville 21228.

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