Mary Jean Pew
Head of Catholic college,
aide to Jerry Brown
Mary Jean Pew, 82, a former nun who taught history and government at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles then served as the school's acting president before it closed in 1980, died Friday at her home in Marina del Rey after battling lung cancer and other illnesses, according to her husband, City News Service President Douglas Faigin.
Pew had been an advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown during his first term, serving as an assistant campaign manager, and was one of his first appointees to the California State University Board of Trustees in 1975.
"She was an extraordinary woman of passion and insight," Brown said. "Everything she put her mind to, she made better."
Pew, who had been a Catholic nun for 19 years, held a variety of positions at Immaculate Heart College. She was a history and government professor, head of the political science department, academic vice president and then acting president. She was one of the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters who came in conflict with the male hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the 1960s, a battle that was well publicized in Los Angeles and resulted in 400 IHM sisters surrendering their vows in 1970. Pew had already left the order in 1968, continuing her academic work, assisting Brown and then marrying in 1972.
Just after Brown took office for the first time as California governor in 1975, he appointed Pew to the college board that oversees all the campuses of the California State University system. She served for seven years before she and her husband moved to Steamboat Springs, Colo., where they operated the local radio stations they purchased.
After returning to California in 1985, Pew was named foreperson of the Los Angeles County Grand Jury, a post she held for the one-year full-time term.
A Minnesota native, Pew received her undergraduate degree from Immaculate Heart and her doctorate from Fordham University in New York.
R.B. Greaves, a soul singer whose recording of "Take a Letter, Maria" was a top-10 pop hit and gold record in 1969, died of cancer Sept. 27 in Granada Hills, his family announced. He was 68.
Times staff and wire reportsCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times