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Widow of former House speaker dies

Updated:
McALESTER, Okla. (AP) -- Mary Harmon Albert, the widow of former U.S. House Speaker Carl Albert, died in her sleep early Sunday, Dr. David Albert, her son, said Monday. Her death follows by almost three months the death of her husband.

David Albert said the months since his father's death had been extremely hard on his mother.

"She just stayed around the house and moped and looked at pictures of my dad," he said. "My mother clearly lived for my dad."

The two met in Washington, D.C., when Albert was serving in the U.S. Army and she was working in an office pool.

David Albert said his mother has been chronically ill and suffered from emphysema. "But her death was sudden and silent," he said. She had spent last week in Oklahoma City with her family and had a good day on Saturday.

Albert said his mother died "in her home in her bed kind of just exactly like my dad."

Mrs. Albert was 79.

David Albert said his father inscribed her copy of his autobiography with the words "a loving wife and life mate." He said that would be on her tombstone along with the words "beloved mother and grandmother."

Mrs. Albert was almost as well-known in McAlester and the 3rd Congressional District as Albert.

Over the past few years, when the former House speaker could no longer make public appearances, Mrs. Albert would often represent him at events. She would often tell a quick anecdote and relate how the speaker was sorry he could not be there himself.

Funeral services are scheduled at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Grand Avenue Methodist Church in McAlester.

Mrs. Albert was born in Columbia, S.C., in 1920 and attended the University of South Carolina. She moved to McAlester in 1946 and then to Washington, D.C., when Albert was elected to Congress in 1946.

The couple moved back to the McAlester area in 1977 upon Albert's retirement from Congress.

In addition to her son, she is survived by a daughter, Mary Frances Albert of Norman, and four grandchildren.
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