By Selma Khenissi, JAWS member
Marj B. Paxson passed away at the age of 93. She is remembered for her leadership and trailblazing qualities.
Paxson had an interest in journalism from an early age. She took a journalism course in high school, whose instructor was so inspiring that she decided to attend the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., but she had to take a detour in order to fulfill her parents’ wish for her to attend Rice University in Houston, Texas, which was closer to home. At Rice University, she worked at a student newspaper. She later transferred to the University of Missouri, where she also worked for a student newspaper.
Her passion for journalism led her to work for a variety of news organizations: she worked for the United Press (Now United Press International) and the Associated Press in Nebraska, the Houston Post and Houston Chronicle in Texas, the Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times (Now Tampa Bay Times) in Florida, the Philadelphia Bulletin in Pennsylvania, the Idaho Statesman in Idaho and the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma.
Paxson also helped champion for women’s rights, whether it was introducing the pantsuit to her female colleagues or advocating for women journalists to write beyond gender-specific journalism pieces. She also was an editor for Xilonen, a publication that is affiliated with the United Nations and she was elected president for Theta Sigma Phi, also known as The Association for Women in Communications.
Marj Paxson left her mark on the journalism world, women’s place in journalism and in her interactions with people. Even the people who were her housekeepers have fond memories of her.