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Authentic – Mary Thom Will Always
Be The Gold Standard

Suzanne Braun Levine and Mary Thom Suzanne Braun Levine Post-fifty Posse Dinner

My “post-fifty posse” has lost Mary Thom, and it is hard to imagine how it will be at our next monthly dinner. We won’t need a round table for five any more.

Mary was the quintessential trusted colleague – she knew what needed to be done, how it needed to be done and what her part was – as well as the best kind of girlfriend. It seems odd to call her a “girlfriend” – she wasn’t girlish, though she was light-hearted – but she was a model of loyalty, sensitivity (she kept track of the nuances of my mother’s decline and shared the understanding she had gotten from her experience with her own mother), and down-to-earth advice. Too see her ride off on her Honda into the night after a dinner in Greenwich Village was to marvel at her competence. Once a young woman rushed out of a restaurant after us. “Awesome,” she breathed admiringly.

We worked together as part of the Ms. team for almost two decades and then had a wonderful time working as a team of two on an oral history of Bella Abzug. As we divvied up the list of people who had known Bella to interview, she took the historical figures, because she knew everything about them and the early years of the Women’s Movement, and I took the celebrity players - well, because celebrities are a weakness of mine. When everyone in the office was quitting smoking by going to Smokenders and complaining mightily, she refused to join. She would quit on her own and at a time of her own choice, she said.  And she did; one day she was smoking, the next she wasn’t.

Mary was simply the most authentic person I have ever known. She was always the same woman, no matter the circumstances. She will always be the gold standard.

The Women’s Media Center
“The Women’s Media Center Mourns the Loss of Mary Thom, Author Feminist, Editor”

Ms. Magazine blog
“Mary Thom, 1944-2013” by Michele Kort

Inside Ms.: 25 Years of the Magazine and the Feminist Movement – by Mary Thom

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 the Planet, and Shook Up Politics Along the Way – by Suzanne Braun Levine and Mary Thom

Letters to Ms. 1972-1987. With Introduction by Gloria Steinem – edited by Mary Thom

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One Comment »

  • georgia routsis savas said:

    what a beautifully-written piece about a stand-up woman. your closing lines about mary’s authenticity rang so damn true. thank you, suzanne.

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