Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mary Garber, a pioneer among women sportswriters, dies at 92

Mary Garber, a pioneer among women sportswriters, died Sunday at age 92. In 1940, Garber started her career as the society editor at the Twin City Sentinel. In 1946, Garber joined the sports department. Then later Garber worked for the Winston-Salem Journal. She was the winner of the 2005 Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) Red Smith Award. In reporting her death, the Winston-Salem Journal wrote:
    For nearly 30 years, Mary was the only woman in the state on the sports beat full time. She will go down in history -- big American history, not little local history -- as a newspaper pioneer who represented the simple truth that everyone deserves a fair shot.

    She lived that way. She treated others that way, just like her mother taught her. Race didn't matter. Religion didn't matter. Money didn't matter. Gender certainly didn't matter. She would warm up to folks if they acted right, and she would chide them if they behaved badly -- although seldom to their faces and almost never without awarding a second or third chance to demonstrate a modicum of civility.
Of her pioneering ways, she said in 1986, "Jackie Robinson was breaking in with the Dodgers about then. He had to take a lot of crap when he came up. His philosophy was: ‘Do the best job you could and keep your mouth shut. People will eventually respect you.' In my case, eventually, people would say, ‘She's all right.' That's all I really wanted."

In an editorial, the Winston-Salem Journal wrote:
    Much has been written in praise of Mary Garber, in her latter years when she finally got the recognition that was her due, and now to mark her death Sunday at the age of 92. All of it -- about how she was the pioneering female sportswriter in America, about her work ethic, about her egalitarian outlook that considered everyone worthy of interest and fair treatment -- is true and well deserved.

    Every woman in journalism today, not just those who cover sports without anyone's thinking their doing so is remarkable, owes her a debt of gratitude.
Among those reporting her death was the Los Angeles Times ('Miss Mary' Garber, longtime sportswriter who paved way for women in the field, dies at 92).

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