Related topics

Early Director of Navy’s WAVES Dies.

November 25, 1989

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Retired Navy Capt. Rita Lenihan, who served as director of the women’s part of the service from 1966 to 1971, has died of cancer at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Lenihan died Thursday at the age of 75.

She joined the Navy in 1943, when WAVES, which stood for Women Appointed for Voluntary Service, was still new.

While serving as a newly commissioned ensign, Lenihan, who had majored in Latin at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, N.J., wrote the motto for the coat of arms for WAVES officers: ″Honoris Est Nobis Navare Navales,″ which means ″It is an honor for us to serve the fleet.″

Lenihan, a native of Monroe, N.Y., spent most of her career in Washington, although she also was stationed in Newport, R.I., and in London.

Her military decorations include the Legion of Merit.

Survivors include a brother, Edward J. Lenihan of Verona, N.J., and a sister, Priscilla L. Lawler of Woodbridge, Conn.

Update hourly