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Rose Mary Woods
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Personal Assistant
    (December 26, 1917-January 22, 2005)
    Personal secretary of President Richard M. Nixon responsible for the accidental (?) erasure of 18½ minutes of crucial Watergate tape
    She was the granddaughter of an Irish stowaway.
    The June 20, 1972, tape of a discussion between Nixon and his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, might have disclosed that Nixon was aware of the Watergate break-in three days earlier.
    When she demonstrated how the transgression could have occurred, some media people dubbed it the 'Rose Mary Stretch.'
    She testified to a federal grand jury that at most she caused a four or five-minute gap in the tape, calling it a 'terrible mistake (1974).'
    Investigations concluded that there were five to nine separate erasures, but exactly who erased what has never been determined.
    Nixon's daughters called her 'Aunt Rose.'
    She swapped clothes with First Lady Pat Nixon.
    According to McCall's magazine, after Nixon resigned she kept a shrine to him in his hideaway office in the Executive Office Building. 'Rose left his half-smoked cigar in the ashtray, his glasses on his desk and his wastebasket half-filled (1975).'
    She was engaged to a man from her hometown but he died before they could marry (1943).
    From the time she was hired in 1951 until his death in 1994 she was fiercely loyal to her boss.
    She had her own apartment at Watergate. During an overseas trip her place was burglarized and more than $5,000 worth of jewelry was stolen (1969).
    Nixon asked her to be the one to tell his wife and daughters he would resign as President (August 9, 1974).
    As close as she was to the Nixon family, she died alone in a nursing home (2005).

Credit: Scar Tactics

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