Patricia Fisher, the first woman and the first Black to write editorials for The Seattle Times, the state's largest newspaper, is dead at 59.
Fisher died Sunday after a battle with multiple sclerosis that forced her to retire in 1989, the newspaper reported Monday, quoting friends and professional colleagues.
"She opened doors that many journalists were able to step through because she was there and made the difference," said Micki Flowers, a former college classmate, longtime friend and former KIRO Television reporter.
Fisher attended Clover Park High School south of Tacoma and taught English at the University of Washington for seven years before joining The Times as a reporter in 1975.
A decade later, she moved to the editorial page, focusing on education and social justice.
In 1986 Fisher was honored as journalist of the year by the Alliance of Children, Youth and Families, and the next year she joined columnist Jerry Large and others in co-founding the Black Journalists Association of Seattle, a chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.
"Pat doesn't know any strangers," former Times columnist Don Williamson wrote in 1991. "She made room in her life for (those) who needed time, attention and a willing ear."
Survivors include a daughter, Malika Klingler, sister Carolyn St. Cyr and her mother, Mamie Hoots, all of Seattle. Funeral arrangements were pending.
— The Associated Press