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Ms. Magazine Editor Killed: Renowned Feminist Mary Thom Dies in Crash

Image: Ms. Magazine Editor Killed: Renowned Feminist Mary Thom Dies in Crash L-to-R: 1987 photo of Ms. magazine editor-at-large Letty Pogrebin, founding editors Mary Thom and Joanne Edgar, and MS staff member Marilu Lopez discussing ideas to illustrate tension for an upcoming issue of Ms.

By Michael Mullins   |   Monday, 29 Apr 2013 07:54 AM

Mary Thom, the well-known feminist movement chronicler who formerly served as Ms. magazine's executive editor, died on Friday in a motorcycle accident in Yonkers, N.Y. She was 68.

Thom's death was announced by the Women's Media Center, where she worked as editor in chief.

Having joined Ms. magazine in 1972 as an editor, Thom's "journalistic virtuoso . . . shaped the writing of many of the feminist movement’s luminaries," reported the New York Times.

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One of those "luminaries" the Times cited was feminist Gloria Steinem.

"She was a lodestone for the women’s movement nationally, and a center of trust, common sense and creativity," Steinem said on Saturday.

Operating largely behind the scenes, Thom played an integral role in the development of the feminist movement from the 1970s on.

Ms. magazine Publisher Eleanor Smeal described Thom as being consistently at the heart of the feminist movement for decades, reported The Los Angeles Times.

"She was always there as a guiding hand to make sure that the spirit of feminism came through in everything we wrote at the Women's Media Center and at Ms. magazine," Smeal said Sunday. "She will truly be missed."

According to colleagues at Ms. magazine, Thom was known for her pragmatism and often times viewed as being too serious, reported the Times.

While at Ms. magazine Thom developed a system of grading lawmakers based on their votes on various issues that affect women, particularly with regards to abortion and birth control.

The system soon became one of the magazine's most popular features, noted The Times.

Thom wrote several books over the course of her life, including "Bella Abzug: How One Tough Broad From the Bronx Fought Jim Crow and Joe McCarthy, Pissed Off Jimmy Carter, Battled for the Rights of Women and Workers, Rallied Against War and for the Planet, and Shook Up Politics Along the Way."

Accompanying the praise from supporters and from some in the literary community, others who reviewed the book were not as complimentary.

The Chicago Sun-Times described Thom's book about Abzug as "a bizarre, plodding, Friars Club roast."

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Never married, friends said the only true love Thom had in life was her motorcycle.

Thom died on New York's Saw Mill Parkway shortly after 4 p.m. when she hit a car, throwing her body onto the road, according to Westchester County police. She was pronounced dead at the scene, reported the Times.

Related stories:

Two-faced Feminism Is Dead

The Evolution of 'Feminism' Saddens Me

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