Shirley Abbott Tomkievicz
Shirley Abbott Tomkievicz, 84, died of cancer Monday, April 8, 2019 in her Portland, Oregon home.
She will be remembered for her intellectual curiosity and prowess, quick wit, and literary accomplishments. Revered by family and friends for her compassion, generosity, and sense of adventure—she was our mentor, doer, and storyteller.
Born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, she graduated from Texas State College for Women in 1956. She spent a year in France as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Grenoble. In 1959, she was hired at Horizon: a Magazine of the Arts in New York, where she worked for over fifteen years, eventually becoming the editor. She published in Smithsonian, Harper's, Glamour, and others. She also wrote and edited several historical books, and for 25 years worked on the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Abbott's Southern roots captured her writer's imagination. Her memoirs Womenfolks: Growing Up Down South, The Bookmaker's Daughter: A Memory Unbound, and Love's Apprentice: The Education of a Modern Woman approach her heritage from different angles. Her novel, The Future of Love, is set in New York.
She is survived by her daughters, Katharine Rubick of Portland, Oregon, and Elizabeth Tollis of Flagstaff, Arizona; her sons-in-law, Jade Rubick and Marc Tollis; and three grandchildren, Sasha Rubick, Velma and Lorenzo Tollis, as well as a cousin, June Owen of Texarkana, Texas . Her husband, Alexander W. Tomkievicz, died in 2012.
Send memorial gifts to the organization where she volunteered, The Western Farm Workers Association 725 SE 7th Ave, Hillsboro, OR 97123.