LBJ’s oldest surviving aide remembers

HISTORY FEATURES

Source: AP, 2-13-11

The family of the oldest living aide of former President Lyndon B. Johnson is sharing 31 pages of personal reminiscences of her years at the right hand of one of the world’s most powerful men.

Mildred Stegall penned her memories of working as an aide to Lyndon B. Johnson — senator, Senate majority leader, vice president and president — 14 years ago for her family. Now 102, she lives in a Fort Worth nursing home to be near family members, who shared her memoirs with the Austin American-Statesman.

Stegall’s husband, Glynn Stegall, joined LBJ’s congressional staff in 1942. Mildred, however, resisted LBJ’s entreaties to join his staff until the mid-1950s.

She remembers her beginnings on his staff as rocky, unused to the demands and callousness for which Johnson was already notorious. “I had murder in my heart,” she wrote.

But she stayed on for 35 years, serving Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson.

“I do not want to leave the impression that LBJ was somewhat of a saint — far from it,” she wrote. “He had his hang-ups, just like everybody else. He was only human and would get upset when things did not go his way.

“Sometimes he would just yell to show his displeasure; other times he would take his anger out on one of the most loyal employees when he knew full well that his anger had nothing to do with anything they had done. I cannot recall LBJ ever saying ‘I am sorry. I know it was not your fault.’ Instead, he would try to make amends in other ways.”…READ MORE

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