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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

STRASSMEYER, MARY A.

STRASSMEYER, MARY A.

STRASSMEYER, MARY A. (5 Aug. 1929 -20 April 1998) was a Plain Dealer reporter who wrote the widely read column, "Mary, Mary" and covered Cleveland's high society for 32 years. She was born in the Old Brooklyn section of Cleveland to Catherine A. (Mullally) and Frederick H. Strassmeyer, a furniture salesman. She attended high school at Lourdes Academy and graduated from Notre Dame College in South Euclid, majoring in English, in 1951. She did postgraduate work in History at Toledo University.

In 1956, Strassmeyer joined The Cleveland News as a reporter. She was an education writer when the News closed in 1960 and she moved to The Plain Dealer. She wrote features and travel stories and served as a beauty editor before becoming society editor in 1965. Strassmeyer worked with a promotion department artist, Jeanne Harris, on a one-panel cartoon called, "Sneakers," which featured tips on beauty, grooming, and etiquette for teenagers. The cartoon first appeared in The Plain Dealer in 1964, was syndicated internationally through King Features, and in 1966 was added to a display of American comics at the Smithsonian Institution. In 1976, she began writing a society column, called "Today," which was the forerunner of "Mary, Mary." Her society column was known for it's honesty, wit and take-no-prisoners approach. When Strassmeyer entered a party or social gathering, she was sought out by those who hoped to be mentioned in her upcoming columns. In 1979, she started a weekly radio show which ran for ten years, first on WCLV-FM and later on WERE-AM. For a short period of time, she also had a television show on WKYC Channel 3.

In 1981, Strassmeyer earned a law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University. She was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1983 and maintained a practice until her death. She was also a world traveler who belonged to numerous travel organizations and became a co-owner of Gerry's International Travel Agency in 1991.

Strassmeyer received numerous accolades for her work as a journalist. In 1969, Charlotte Curtis of The New York Times named her one of the seven best society editors in the country. In 1982, a article in Town & Country described "Mary, Mary" as the "best written of all American gossip columns." The Intown Club honored her in 1976 for her contribution to civic and cultural projects and in 1986 she became the first recipient of the WomenSpace media award for her support of women's issues and organizations. The Press Club of Cleveland inducted her into the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame in 1994. Strassmeyer died of complications from diabetes. Her cremated remains are buried at Brooklyn Heights Cemetery.

Mary Strassmeyer Papers, WRHS