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Wife of U.S. attorney dies after battle with cancer

Brian Roger, Houston Chronicle
Updated 7:41 pm, Saturday, January 5, 2013
  • Anita Magidson obituary photo. Photo: Famiily Photo / family photo
    Anita Magidson obituary photo. Photo: Famiily Photo

 

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Anita Myers Magidson, a courthouse favorite who became a gatekeeper for two Harris County district attorneys and married the love of her life in a courtroom, died Saturday after a long bout with cancer. She was 64.

"She was a valiant fighter," said Ken Magidson, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas. "The smartest thing I ever did was marry Anita K. Myers."

The two met while he was making a name for himself as a prosecutor and she was a beloved executive assistant for former District Attorney Carol Vance.

Among her many responsibilities, Anita clipped articles about the District Attorney's Office from the Houston Chronicle, then an afternoon paper, and the now-defunct Houston Post.

As a newspaper lay on her desk one day in 1979, open to the movie page, Ken Magidson asked her out. The couple saw "Every Which Way But Loose," and had been inseparable since.

After a year of dating, the two married in a state district courtroom with Vance and then-district attorney Johnny Holmes speaking at the ceremony.

She was Baptist and he was Jewish, but they had the courthouse in common, Magidson said. "Our beliefs were different, but our values were the same."

When he married Anita, he said, he "married up" in the office.

"She was such a center of life and energy and attention," he said. "Everyone knew Anita Myers."

Diagnosed a decade ago

Her former boss agreed.

"I was tickled to death when they got together," Holmes said. The former district attorney said she was fun to work with and he admired her work ethic.

After being an executive assistant for two district attorneys, she was hired as a court coordinator by former prosecutor Rick Trevathan when he became a state district judge in the 182nd court.

"When I started at the DA's office in 1976, Anita was one of the first to greet me and it was like she'd known me for 20 years, she was so friendly," Trevathan said. "She was always one of everyone's favorites."

She left work in 1984 after giving birth to a daughter, Amy.

More than 10 years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and began treatment at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

"We were together every step, every day," her husband said. "I went with her to every appointment."

Services Wednesday

In 2011, his wife's smile and laugh brightened up Magidson's swearing-in as he became the top federal prosecutor in the Houston region.

"Every Saturday, we went grocery shopping together. We always ate meals together," Magidson said. "I don't know what I'm going to do without her."

Anita Magidson is survived by Ken, her daughter Amy George, her son-in-law Jeff George and her grandchildren Macy and Selah.

A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Woodlawn Cemetery, 1101 Antoine, followed by a memorial service at 11:30 a.m. at White Oak Baptist Church, 3615 Mangum.

In lieu of flowers, Anita had requested that remembrances be made to the International Mission Board in care of White Oak Baptist Church, 3615 Mangum, Houston, Texas 77092.