At once fierce and gracious, a smart and true-hearted light, Thom was a founding editor of Ms. Magazine and was with the publication through 1991; she also wrote the book about that revolutionary magazine, and co-authored a book about Bella Abzug. More recently, she was editor-in-chief of the Women's Media Center, which is where I had the privilege of working with her on a few stories on, for example, women in Motown and the Midwest Teen Sex Show. I was still pretty much a newbie at the time, figuring my way through the unsteady field of journalism, and didn't realize that Thom had such an amazing legacy. She honored me by making me feel that I was taken seriously. As I've learned more and more about her work, and heard from her colleagues and friends who knew her intimately, my feeling for Thom has come aglow: she was one of the good ones, and we are all better for the world she helped make -- and narrate.
More of the stories about, and by, Mary Thom:
"An Oral History of Ms. Magazine" - New York Magazine
Mary Thom (co-editor, 1972–91): It was like a political camp. It really was. People wandered in and took jobs.
Voices of Feminism Oral History Project - Smith College
Mary Thom, on readers of Ms. "But mostly they were just individual women who felt that all these issues that they had with their own family life, with their work life, were things that were problems to them individually and no one else, you know... And they were incredibly relieved that there were other people that there were other people who had similar issues and there were people who would take them seriously."
"The important thing to know about Mary is that she was a major leader of the 70's Feminist movement, but never desired the limelight," (her nephew Thom) Loubet said in an email. "She stayed behind the scenes tirelessly crafting the message and simply making it better."
Robin Morgan, author, co-founder of the Women's Media Center
“In Mary Thom’s accidental death, Ms., the Women's Media Center and U.S. journalism suffer a huge loss,” Morgan said. “And I grieve for a wry, ethical friend."
Gloria Steinem, writer, co-founder of Ms. Magazine
"She had a gift for helping people tell their own story, not for helping them sound like others, but helping them find their own voice," Steinem said.
Many, many more thoughts, feelings, celebrations, and exulting gratitudes are pouring in on the Women's Media Center's Facebook page.