The Independent Women’s Forum mourns the loss of Elizabeth Brady Lurie, an IWF founder and a stalwart supporter without whom IWF would not exist. Elizabeth Lurie, who died last Wednesday, November 21, at her home in Sedona, Arizona, believed in the power of ideas.
“Elizabeth Lurie was a truly independent thinker,” said IWF Chairman Heather R. Higgins, “thoughtful, original, and fearless-all of which was tempered with a lively sense of humor. She was a bold grantmaker, a visionary agent of change, and consistently deployed limited resources so that they had a substantial effect. She played a critical role in IWF’s early years. She also touched many lives, and will be missed.”
Elizabeth worked tirelessly for the Brady Corporation of Milwaukee Wisconsin, the company founded by her grandfather, William H. Brady Sr., serving as a board member and later as an advisor. Through her work with the W. H. Brady Foundation, she contributed enormously to the vibrancy of many institutions that are key to the country’s cultural and policy debates.
“Elizabeth gave generously of her time and support to matters of public policy, art, literature, and to the needs of her community,” a family statement noted. “She loved all sorts of people, books, and art of every kind and at every opportunity a good healthy debate about the things that mattered to her. Perhaps most of all Elizabeth believed strongly that every person should have a passion for something worthy of service and sacrifice.”
Mrs. Lurie often proudly recalled that her father, William H Brady Jr., loved to assign his children the task of writing essays on provocative topics. “It is not government, it is not dictators or presidents or generals or popes who rule the world. It’s ideas,” he famously declared. This had an enormous impact on Elizabeth, who retained her love of matters of the mind and philosophical discussion for the rest of her life. She was a woman of great intellect.
“She knew that only ideas can move society towards a place that reflects the best values of a free and flourishing society and was willing to work and contribute to promoting the best ideas,” said Carol T. Crawford, an IWF board member.
Mrs. Lurie was preceded in death by her husband Shy Lurie. She is survived by her daughter Dr. Elizabeth Pungello, currently a director of the Brady Corporation, her son-in-law Robert Pungello, her grandchildren Daniel, Hope, and Mia. Other survivors include her stepson Scott Lurie, his wife Julie and their daughters Victoria and Jordon and her stepdaughter Cheryl Lurie. She is also survived by her brother William H Brady, III.
The family asks that remembrances be sent to the Elizabeth Brady Lurie Fund for Arts and Literature at the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina P.O. Box 1888, Asheville, NC 28802.