|Elizabeth Crow, former CEO of Gruner & Jahr USA, died April 4.
Since March 2004, Ms. Crow had been vice president and editorial director of Consumers Union, the nonprofit organization that publishes the ad-free Consumer Reports.
"She enjoyed the freedom of being able to focus on nothing but the consumer interest and took on the challenge of editorial director with the same intense enthusiasm, joyful sense of humor and tenacious integrity as she approached everything else in her life," Jim Guest, president of Consumers Union, said in a prepared statement.
Early start at 'New Yorker'
A graduate of Mills College, where she majored in art history, Ms. Crow began in magazines as an editorial assistant at the New Yorker and then moved on to New York Magazine.
"She was incredibly quick," said Byron Dobell, an editorial director of New York at that time and a close friend of Ms. Crow. "And she really took over an area that the upper echelon there looked down on -- the service area. That turned out to be the crucial element to make [New York] successful. ... She started out as a secretary and wound up running that area as her own fief."
Success at 'Parents'
Ms. Crow eventually became New York's executive editor. In 1978 she took over the editor's position at G&J's Parents, and the magazine won a National Magazine Award for General Excellence during her tenure.
Her most recent jobs, before she came to Consumers Union, were editorial director of Primedia's consumer magazines, and vice president and editorial director of Rodale's Women's Health Group. In 1988, after a 10-year stint at Parents, she became CEO of G&J. In 1993, she went to Conde Nast Publications, which had previously offered her the top slot at Self, to be editor in chief of Mademoiselle.
"She was one of those superwomen who could do everything," said Betsy Carter, a novelist and magazine editor and a longtime friend of Ms. Crow.
Ms. Crow, whose marriage ended in divorce, is survived by three children, two sisters and one grandchild.
"When she was diagnosed in early January, she asked her friends to write her letters of encouragement," Mr. Dobell said. In his, he said, he wrote "If I had been born female, I would have wanted to be you. I would have wanted to be Elizabeth Crow."
"That's how strongly I felt about her."