Greatest of the Great


Some 35 years ago or thereabout, a seemingly mild woman knocked on our door in Waco and said, “I am Molly Ivins. I am new at The Texas Observer.” (I say “seemingly.”)

Audre and I invited her in. It took about a minute or two of conversation before there was no question that the three of us were family. I always joked with Molly that she wasn’t radical enough. Her father was not a communist, as mine was. We laughed about it. She stayed a while. (For Audre and me, it seemed like she was there about a minute.) Molly was terribly exciting, and as our paths crossed over the years, there was no question that each time she was more exciting.

Audre and I both loved her.

Molly worked with The New York Times and the Minneapolis Tribune, but heck, that isn’t what she wanted. She wanted the freedom to write exactly what she wanted to say. Her syndicated column influenced the thinking lives of hundreds of thousands of readers each week. It made them think about injustice. It made them angry. And it made them laugh.

When The Texas Observer she loved so much became a nonprofit and Molly called and asked me to join the board of directors, did I really have a choice? At the last board meeting I attended at her house, a very tired Molly said what she had to say and retired to her bedroom, with the door open so she could listen.

She is one who makes a difference—yes, a great big one. She stands for something, and no one has a greater sense of outrage at injustice than Molly.

I loved her sarcasm. I loved her brilliant and scintillating columns. She is the greatest of the great. I love every ounce of this great woman, and Audre and I will miss her dearly.

Bernard Rapoport is head of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation and chairman emeritus of American Income Life Insurance Co.