Published October 2, 2014
ATLANTA—Rita McInerney, former staff writer and associate editor of The Georgia Bulletin, died Thursday, Sept. 4, at St. Joseph Villa, near Philadelphia. She was 92.
Miss McInerney, whose given name was Mary Rita, was a pioneer as a woman in newspaper work in Pennsylvania for many years before she moved to Atlanta, to be near her sister and brother-in-law, the late Bonnie and Jim O’Hara. She joined the staff of The Georgia Bulletin in April 1985 as a reporter and writer. She became the associate editor in December 1986, a post she held until 1993, when at her request she reduced her schedule. She continued to write for the newspaper until 2000, when she retired.
She was honored with several Catholic Press Association awards, including two for a profile of the noted peace and justice advocate Bill Corrigan, from Transfiguration Church, in Marietta. Among her special interests were the history of archdiocesan parishes, women religious, social justice work and leaders, and struggles of immigrants and minorities.
She was a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Atlanta. She moved to St. Joseph Villa in 2007.
The daughter of James P. and Margaret McInerney, Rita was one of eight children. Always a writer, she worked for the Norristown Times Herald in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and was women’s editor of the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She wrote the centennial history of her home parish, Our Mother of Consolation, in Chestnut Hill.
Most of her career was spent at the Globe-Times in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where she worked from 1960-82, under Pulitzer Prize-winning editor, the late John Strohmeyer. For 18 years she was wire editor of the Globe-Times, the first woman to serve in the position. She served as president of the Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association from 1964-66.
She is survived by her niece, Beth Abbott, of Roswell; and by many other nieces and nephews.
In a eulogy, her niece said her aunt “realized her vocation was writing.”
“She heaped her motherly instincts on her many nieces and nephews and we are left with wonderful memories,” she wrote.
“We saw a woman for others. She was the archivist who cared so reverently about keeping the memories alive of her family. We saw an inner strength that came from her deep faith and a gentleness that only grew more tender as she aged before us.”
Her funeral Mass was celebrated on Friday, Sept. 12, in the St. Joseph Villa chapel, followed by interment in Holy Sepulcher Cemetery.
Contributions in her memory may be made to St. Joseph Villa, 110 W. Wissahickon Ave., Flourtown, PA 19031.