Luta Mae (Cornelius) McGrath
1907 - 2016
{ "" }
Share Luta's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share

McGRATH LUTA MAE CORNELIUS McGRATH LTC Luta Mae (Cornelius) McGrath, U.S. Army Retired, devoted wife, friend and patriot, 108 years old, died peacefully at her home in Annandale, Virginia, on Thursday, April 14, 2016. Mrs. McGrath is survived by nephew, Eddie Gene Morgan; a step-son, Thomas McGrath, Jr.; numerous great nephews and nieces; as well as her longtime companion, Ms. Clara B. Campagna. Born in Beattyville, Kentucky on November 21, 1907, Mrs. McGrath was the daughter of Barney Cornelius and Nanny Tincher. She remained in Beattyville for most of her childhood and attended schools in Ohio. In January 1943 she enlisted in the newly organized U.S. Women''s Army Auxiliary Corps. With training and assignments at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, Fort Devens, Massachusetts, and U.S. Army Red River Ordnance Depot, Texarkana, TX. During one of her early military assignments, her peers conferred on her the nickname of "Cornie" to which she embraced for the rest of her life. Recognized for her unique leadership abilities she attended WAAC Officer Candidate School. Following course completion she was commissioned into the Women''s Army Corps in October, 1943. Serving in various stateside assignments including WAAC Company Cadre, Assistant Adjutant and Special Assignments Staff Officer; she was later transferred to post-war occupation duty at the Griesheim Ordnance Depot, West Germany. When the Berlin Airlift began, Cornie was transferred to West Berlin where she is credited with planning and organizing the storage, handling, and airlift of ammunition into West Berlin, where it was stockpiled. On return to the U.S., she served as staff Secretary, at the Army Ordnance Corps School, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, MD. While at Aberdeen she married Army Ordnance Corps officer, Thomas J. McGrath. Cornie devoted her life to service of her country and the community that she loved. She cherished and devoted her life to service to others and the ideals for which America stood for. A consummate supporter of our military and their families, she was extremely proud of the military and veteran''s service provided by her late husband, friends and members of the community. Cornie''s active retirement included working at the Women in Community Service (WICS) project, an outreach effort of developing job training and economic opportunities to assist at-risk women. In the Army Ordnance community, Cornie became known as "The First Lady of Ordnance", appreciated most for her dedicated support of the Ordnance Corps Ladies Association. She served on the Executive Board from 1967 to 1968 and again from 1978 to 1979. She and Tom maintained close relationships in the community, at Queen of Apostles Church, and military retiree circles. Cornie''s accolades include being the first woman to be inducted into the Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame in 1985. At time of her death LTC McGrath was the oldest surviving female veteran; and oldest surviving female Army Officer. In her later years, Cornie remained actively engaged and was often a featured speaker and an honored guest at veterans gatherings (Memorial Day and Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery), various times at the National World War II Memorial and at the Women in Military Service For America Memorial, recognized by both President and Mrs. Obama at veterans gatherings. Visitors may express their condolences on Thursday, April 21, between 4 and 8 p.m. at the Demaine Funeral Home, 5308 Backlick Road, Springfield, VA. There will be a recitation of the Catholic Rosary following the viewing. As a member of Queen of Apostles Roman Catholic Church in Alexandria; a funeral mass of catholic burial, will be celebrated by Father John Kelly, to be held on Friday, April 22, 2016 at 11 a.m. Queen of the Apostles Church, located at 4329 Sano Street, Alexandria, VA. Reception to follow in Hannon Hall. Gravesite and memorial services, with full military honors, will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, at a future date to be announced. LTC McGrath will be laid to rest next to her husband Colonel Thomas McGrath. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Women in Military Services for America Memorial, Dept. 560, Washington, D.C. 20042-0560, lieu of flowers, please send donations to Women in Military Services for America Memorial, Dept. 560, Washington, D.C. 20042-0560,

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Washington Post from Apr. 20 to Apr. 22, 2016.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
11 entries
November 6, 2016
At grave side, Oct. 31.
Pat Jernigan
November 6, 2016
Funeral services, Old Post Chapel, Oct. 31, 2016
Pat Jernigan
May 5, 2016
In my fondest childhood memories,you are there. You blessed me with your love and your thoughtfulness.You are very dear to me and remain a treasure in my life. I thank God for His wonderful gift to beautiful Aunt Cornie.
I love you and miss you,
Sandy Jones
April 28, 2016 were one of the sweetest ladies we knew and we loved you and Mac from the day we moved in across from you in 1967. I remember helping you take care of your sweet dogs and how loving you always were to our family. We will miss you dearly and so wish we had gotten to see you again before you passed.
Larry & Michele Abramson
April 28, 2016
Cornie, what an incredible blessing to be called your friend for over four decades, and to live as your neighbor on Ivydale Drive for over 20 years. We give thanks for the countless memories with you and Tom, and for your amazing life of service to God and Country. You are our Inspiration. Peace be with you.
Steve and Pat Wheaton
April 22, 2016
Aunt Luta, we will miss you. You were truly a blessing to our family.

I love you.
Paula Mann
April 20, 2016
What wonderful memories I have of visiting you! You always had the sweetest smile! I have been truly blessed knowing you. Thank you for being such a gift to me and to so many other people. God Bless You! May you rest in peace.
Debbie Fornaciari
April 20, 2016
Aunt Luta Mae you will be so missed. I am so thankful that my kids got to know you and love you. Thanks for all the stories of family and your service.
Pamela Strodtbeck
April 20, 2016
You were a blessing to countless Army families, especially those of us in the Ordnance Corps. Your leadership was exemplary.
John and Millie Garcia
April 18, 2016
Cornie, I can still see you sitting in your comfortable chair having a glass of wine. A life well lived and an inspiration to all. Rest in peace.
Liz DiGregorio
April 18, 2016
We will miss you. We were so blessed to have had you included in the best chapters of our life.
Love George and Ginny Cook
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences