Monday, December 31, 2012

Passings: Notable women who left us in 2012

With the passing of another year, we pause to remember those who are no longer with us.  Featured here are a few of them.

Even though they are gone, their words and deeds will continue to inspire us for years to come, and in that way, they will live forever.

Blessed be.

Adrienne Rich

Feminist poet and essayist.

Read her poem "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers."

Helen Gurley Brown

Former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and known as the original "Cosmo Girl."  Wrote "Sex and the Single Girl."

Helen Milliken

Michigan's former first lady and advocate for women's rights, including the Equal Rights Amendment and reproductive rights.  She skipped the opening ceremonies of the 1980 Republican National Convention, held in Detroit, after the party removed pro-ERA language from its platform and joined a protest march outside.

Florence Green

Believed to be the last surviving veteran of World War I, Green served in Britain's Royal Air Force.  She worked on the home front as a waitress in the officer's mess.  However, her service was not officially recognized until 2010.  She died Feb. 4, just short of her 111th birthday.

Nora Ephron

Journalist, blogger, essayists, screenwriter and filmmaker.

Sally Ride

One of the ultimate barrier breakers, she was the first American woman to fly in space.

Susan "Suzie" Kienscherf

Acting as a good Samaritan, Suzie was killed while trying to assist a fellow motorist after an accident.  A resident of Troy, Mich., she volunteered with Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue, fed feral cats in her neighborhood and found homes for a box of kittens someone left on her front lawn. 

You don't have to be famous to make a difference, because there's no such thing as an insignificant life.

The New York Times' list of notable deaths from 2012

Feminist icons appear on "Wall of Frame"

The "Wall of Frame" at House of Optical in Clawson, Mich.
I couldn't resist sharing this image of a delightful local landmark.

This is the "Wall of Frame" featured on the wall of House of Optical in Clawson, Mich. where I have purchased my eye glasses and contact lenses for many years. 

The company commissioned the work from a local artist when it moved to its present location at 329 14 Mile Road about 13 years ago.  According to the staff, it has been touched up several times over the years.

Three women can be readily identified in the tribute to famous spectacle wearers.

Third from the right, next to Elvis, is tennis great Billy Jean King.  According to World Team Tennis, she won "39 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles tennis titles, including a record 20 titles at Wimbleton," but she is perhaps best remembered for winning the tennis "Battle of the Sexes" in 1973 against Bobby Riggs.  She is also an outspoken advocate for social change and equality and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Slightly less prominent, but no less important, is journalist, activist and Ms. Magazine co-founder Gloria Steinem.  That's her toward the middle in back of John Belushi, next to Larry King.  In 1993, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York and was the subject of the 2011 documentary "Gloria:  In Her Own Words."

Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg is also featured just off center to the right of Larry King.

This is just another example of how feminist connections can be found all around us, we just have to open our eyes and look for them.