Donna Mackie, who worked for The Washington Post for more than three decades, including 17 years as assistant to then-executive editor Benjamin C. Bradlee, died May 13 at a hospital in Oklahoma City. She was 75.
She had respiratory ailments, said her sister, Penny Ittner.
Mrs. Mackie joined The Post in 1968 and worked briefly in the office of president Katharine Graham before becoming the assistant to Bradlee, then the newly named executive editor.
She remained a gatekeeper to his office through the dramatic years of the Watergate scandal, the publication of the Pentagon Papers detailing years of U.S. involvement in Vietnam and other milestones in American journalism.
“Donna was a true original,” Bradlee said in a statement. “To work with her was a real joy.”
Mrs. Mackie later worked as an office manager for the Metro section, first in Fairfax County and then in the Alexandria-Arlington bureau.
In addition to assisting harried reporters on deadline, Mrs. Mackie prepared crime reports, community events calendars and other elements of the newspaper’s local news coverage.
“She was a wonderful woman who enjoyed the news and the people around it,” recalled Jo-Ann Armao, a Washington Post editorial writer and former Metro editor.
Donna Lee Crouch was born Oct. 23, 1937, in San Diego. She was an assistant to James S. Copley, the late San Diego newspaper publisher, before moving to Washington and joining The Post.
Mrs. Mackie was affectionately known in the newsroom for her theatrical flair, including her preference for hats. Outside the newspaper, she performed with the Mount Vernon Players, an acting troupe directed by her husband, Harvey Mackie.
After her retirement from The Post in 2001, she and her husband moved to Oklahoma City, where they continued their involvement in theater. They had been married for 30 years at the time of his death in 2011.
Mrs. Mackie’s survivors include her sister and a half-sister.
“My 33 years with the newspaper have been thrilling, challenging and immensely rewarding,” she wrote in her resignation letter. “These have been historic years for The Post and for American journalism, and I am so proud” to have been a part of them.