Rita Gilbert Macintosh, one of the first Waves
In 1942, Rita Gilbert was among the first to volunteer for the Waves, the women's branch of the Navy. A college graduate, she took her military training at Smith College and was assigned to a military publications office in Washington.
In 1942, Rita Gilbert was among the first to volunteer for the Waves, the women's branch of the Navy.
A college graduate, she took her military training at Smith College and was assigned to a military publications office in Washington.
And there, her daughter Laurie said, she helped write and edit the Waves' recruitment brochure, "The Story of You in Navy Blue."
On Monday, May 16, Rita Gilbert Macintosh, 94, a former corporate art director and Montgomery County school speech therapist, died at home at Cathedral Village, a retirement community in Andorra.
In the years before women became full members of the Navy, Waves was the acronym for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.
As a member of that organization from September 1942 to November 1944, Mrs. Macintosh was assigned to Navy headquarters in Washington, where, among other jobs, she wrote radio commercials and scripts to promote service in the Navy.
From 1940 to 1942, her daughter said in a phone interview Friday, Mrs. Macintosh had worked for Marshall Field's, the Chicago department store, as an editor of its in-house publication.
"The Navy sent out the call" to Marshall Field's for Waves volunteers, her daughter said, "and whoever her boss was said, 'I have one here that would be good.'
"They had a luncheon for her, and the next morning she was on a train to Washington."
"The Story of You in Navy Blue" is among the publications housed at the Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
But Mrs. Macintosh's wartime effort has remained in the shadows all these years.
Beth Ann Koelsch, curator of the project, said Friday the 45-page brochure "has no authorship information."
Mrs. Macintosh's daughter, a 1977 graduate of Smith College, recalled that when the Smith Class of 1975 marked the 100th anniversary of the school's opening, "the yearbook had a picture of my mother in a group photo" of wartime Waves in training at the college.
While in Washington, she married Hiram Macintosh on June 3, 1944, three days before D-Day.
But their honeymoon was interrupted when he was called back to his job as second in command of a destroyer escort hunting German submarines off the Atlantic Coast.
Born in Belvedere, Ill., Mrs. Macintosh was valedictorian of the Class of 1933 at Belvedere High School.
"Because it was the Depression, her parents didn't have any money for her to go to college," her daughter said. "So her mother impressed on her that she had to be first in her class to win a scholarship."
With that aid, she earned a bachelor's degree in speech at Rockford (Ill.) College in 1937.
And, she wrote in autobiographical notes, she wrote publicity and acted for two seasons of summer-stock productions at the Belfry Theater in Williams Bay, Wis.
After World War II, the Macintoshes moved to West Mount Airy, where they lived in the same Carpenter Lane house for decades until they moved to Cathedral Village in 1996.
From 1945 to 1955, her daughter said, Mrs. Macintosh was art director in the Manayunk office of the Container Corp. of America.
In 1962, she earned a master's degree in speech pathology at Temple University.
After working for a year in the School District of Philadelphia and until she retired in 1981, she was a speech therapist in the Upper Dublin School District, working at, among others, Sandy Run Middle School and Maple Glen Elementary School.
Her daughter said that in the 1970s, Mrs. Macintosh headed a committee that helped negotiate teachers' contracts.
In retirement, she and her husband operated Coach Light Antiques from their home, buying and selling goods at antiques shows.
After moving to Cathedral Village in 1996, she became head of its art department and movies committee.
In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Macintosh is survived by two grandchildren. Her husband died in 2000.
A memorial was set for 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 31, in the Presser Lounge at Cathedral Village, 600 E. Cathedral Rd., Andorra.