Mary Thom, who was raised in Akron and went on to become the longtime editor of Ms. Magazine, died in a motorcycle accident in Yonkers, N.Y., on Friday.
A statement issued by Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan — co-founders of The Women’s Media Center in Washington, D.C. — said “the women’s movement and American journalism have suffered an enormous blow. Mary was and will always be our moral compass and steady heart. Writers from around the world have been able to share their words and ideas because of her. Wherever her friends and colleagues gather, we will always ask the guiding question: What would Mary do?”
Ms. Thom, 68, was editor-in-chief at The Women’s Media Center, working with original writing by women journalists on progressive women’s issues.
“We are shaken and reeling at the sudden passing of our irreplaceable editor-in-chief, Mary Thom,” said Julie Burton, president of The Women’s Media Center. “From her work in the early days of Ms. Magazine right up until this week, hers was a clear, strong voice for equality — and her editorial talents lifted so many other voices as well.”
Ms. Thom also authored several books including Inside Ms.: 25 Years of the Magazine and the Feminist Movement, where she described working her way up from researcher to executive editor at the magazine founded in the 1970s by Gloria Steinem.
“We are so very sad to lose our Mary,” her family said in a statement. “She charged through life with a generous and compassionate strength and wisdom, and that is how we will forever remember her.”
Ms. Thom spent her childhood in Akron, but for the last 48 years she lived in Manhattan.
Her family said she was an ardent motorcyclist who never owned a car, often leading family cycling trips to destinations like New Mexico and Glacier National Park during the summer, according to a story on LoHud.com, the website for the Journal News.
“She’s been riding motorcycles for probably 40 years,” the story quoted nephew Thom Loubet, who lived with his aunt for 10 years in Manhattan after college. At the time of Friday’s accident she had just picked up her motorcycle from storage in Yonkers, he said.
According to news reports, the accident happened during the Friday afternoon rush hour. Police say the motorcycle apparently clipped a car, throwing Ms. Thom off the bike and onto the road. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Paul and Susan Thom, and is survived by her sister Susan Thom Loubet, her nephew Thom Loubet and niece-in-law Mariko Silver, and her grand-niece Kumi Silver Loubet.