Mary Thom, a prominent feminist, longtime executive editor of Ms. Magazine, and an outspoken ally to the LGBT community, died Friday, reports ABC News. Thom was 68.
Thom was an avid motorcyclist, who died Friday evening after her 1996 Honda Magna 750 crashed on a highway in Yonkers, N.Y., according to ABC.
"The important thing to know about Mary is that she was a major leader of the 70s feminist movement, but never desired the limelight," Thom's nephew Thom Loubet told ABC in an email.
"Though of course my aunt could not have been a more powerful proponent for the GLBTQ community," Loubet told SheWired in an email, "alas she was not herself a lesbian or bi."
Nevertheless, as one of the first executive editors at Ms. Magazine, Thom joined the Ms. staff in 1972, and served as an editor there for roughly two decades, reports ABC.
Thom had an unyielding belief in the power of journalism to shine light on corruption and injustice, especially around women's issues in politics and culture. She was a prolific author who published numerous books, including a history of Ms. Magazine, and an oral history of congresswoman Bella Azbug which Thom co-edited. Thom was born in Akron, Ohio in 1944, but lived most of her adult life in New York, according to the Pioneer Press. Prior to her death, Thom served as the editor in chief of The Women's Media Center, which announced her death.
"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. "Mary was one of the great writers, editors, and visionaries of the women's movement, and the heart and soul of Women's Media Center's features writing. 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."
Gloria Steinem, another prominent feminist and cofounder of Ms., said that Thom had a unique capacity to help people uncover the stories they wanted to tell.
"She had a grift for helping people tell their own story," Steinem told ABC. "Not for helping them sound like others, but helping them find their own voice."