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Peggy Simpson’s remarks at Kay Mills Memorial

When I think of Kay, these are some of the words that come to mind:
Gutsy, energetic, smart, driven, sharp-tongued, cantankerous, impatient, generous.

These conflict, you say. As Betty Anne would say: SO???!! Kay was a complex person. Despite her abundant skills, she could come across as self-effacing. I can’t recall her ever promoting herself even when she should have.

She was self-confident and sure-footed, however.

In Memory: Kay Mills, 1941-2011

Kay Mills, a historian of women in journalism and civil rights and an inspirational member of the Journalism and Women Symposium’s founding board of directors, died Thursday, January 13, 2011, after a sudden heart attack in Santa Monica, Calif. She was 69.

Kay’s sudden death shocked and saddened her JAWS friends, who considered themselves Kay’s extended family, often housing her on her research trips. She in turn hosted countless friends who passed through Santa Monica.

In Memory: Nancy Hicks Maynard

By Kay Mills, JAWS member

Nancy Hicks Maynard, who helped bring enormous changes for diversity within the media, died Sept. 21, 2008, in Los Angeles. She was 61. Her family said that she had been ill for several months and that her death resulted from the failure of several major organs, according to the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

In Memory: Joan Cook

By Glenda Holste

The Joan Cook Fellowship Fund honors the extraordinary life of Joan Riddell Cook with grants to bring young women, particularly women of color, into JAWS at the annual fall camp. Cook, who died of breast cancer in 1995 in New York, was a founding director of JAWS, a journalist, a union leader, a moral leader and generous friend to three generations of people engaged in the work of making the world a more just place. She was one of seven named plaintiffs — and a moving force — in a class action sex discrimination suit against the New York Times filed in 1974.

In Memoriam: Frances Lewine, 1921-2008

By Kay Mills, JAWS member

Frances Lewine, pioneering journalist and longtime Journalism and Women Symposium member, died on January 19, the day before she would have celebrated her 87th birthday by going to the races.

“So many festivities were planned” for Fran’s birthday, said her longtime friend and former Associated Press colleague Linda Deutsch. A friend from CNN, where Fran had worked since 1981, had arranged to have that day’s fifth race at Charles Town Races named for her. “Fran’s lucky number was five.”

In Memory: Nancy Woodhull

By Glenda Holste

Nancy Woodhull was at the podium introducing linguist Deborah Tannen, a long- sought-after speaker for JAWS camp. Woodhull had arranged to get Tannen on our dance card in Napa last fall. They were, after all, friends from when Woodhull was a news executive who had read “You Just Don’t Understand.” Woodhull not only got the message, she passed it on.