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Roslyn ‘Roz’ Pulitzer, photographer and women’s rights activist, is believed to be the first Santa Fe County resident to die from COVID-19.

Roslyn K. “Roz” Pulitzer, a longtime women’s rights activist and photographer who lived in the city for more than 20 years, died of viral pneumonia April 30 at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.

She was 90.

Her partner, Kay Lockridge, said in an interview she believes COVID-19 played a role in Pulitzer’s death because she was told Pulitzer had tested positive for the novel coronavirus by personnel at a short-term nursing and rehabilitation facility in Albuquerque.

Lockridge said the Bronx, N.Y., native, who was born in 1930, fell Feb. 24 while reaching for her walker at home. She was in and out of Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center and a rehab center for the next six weeks until she was transferred to Advanced Health Care of Albuquerque.

Lockridge said an official there told her Pulitzer tested positive for the novel coronavirus in mid-April. A number of patients and staff members of that center have tested positive for the virus. Pulitzer was later taken to the intensive care unit at UNM Hospital, where she died.

Efforts to reach a representative of Advanced Health Care for comment were unsuccessful.

As of Tuesday, the state Department of Health has not listed a COVID-19 fatality from Santa Fe County.

In an email, Nora Meyers Sackett, press secretary for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, said, “COVID-19-related deaths are typically reported the same day or the next day. Only those reported by DOH [Department of Health] are official COVID-19-related deaths.” She said she could not speak to the specifics of any particular case.

Asked whether the state’s Office of the Medical Investigator reports the COVID-19 death data to the Department of Health, she said “almost the entirety” of the state’s reported COVID-19 deaths do not involve OMI.

Pulitzer played an active role in the women’s rights movement in the early 1970s, working with feminist organizer Gloria Steinem, former U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug and women’s advocate Betty Friedan, among others.

In a 2011 interview with The New Mexican, Pulitzer said as a member of the National Women’s Political Caucus, she worked with others to change the rape laws in New York State, which at the time required women to prove they tried to fight off the assault and sometimes further stigmatized the victim.

“I felt a need to get involved because women that had been raped were afraid of coming forward, since they were not treated fairly,” she said.{/div}

Pulitzer and Lockridge moved to Santa Fe in 1997, where Pulitzer continued her love of photography and animals.

“Of all the places I’ve been, none of them compare with the natural light and beauty of Santa Fe and the surrounding areas,” Pulitzer told The New Mexican.

“She felt very comfortable with the people here in Santa Fe,” Lockridge said. “Roz loved the light, the clouds and just the natural beauty.”

Her interest in photography, which became a career in Santa Fe, had begun in Greenwich Village where she earned money as a young nightclub photographer. She eventually earned her bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York/Empire College. She later obtained a master of social work degree from Fordham University, eventually working at the Masterson Institute in New York to become a social worker and psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of personality disorders.

Pulitzer had suffered from osteoarthritis from the time she was 14, Lockridge said.

“She developed arthritis in 1944, apparently as a result of the trauma of a shattered hip in a gym accident,” she said. “At that time, she spent three months in the hospital where she was fitted with a new hip that was made of cement.”

Beginning in 2015, after being an active photographer for years, she developed arthritis so badly her hands could no longer hold a camera.

“She had limited use of her thumb and first finger on both hands, which enabled her to use a walker,” Lockridge said.

Pulitizer was a distant relative of Joseph Pulitzer, the journalist for whom the coveted Pulitzer Prize is named. She often displayed amusement when people assumed she played a role in awarding the prize.

“It’s so funny. When people find out that my last name is Pulitzer, they think that my family sits around the kitchen table deciding who should get the award,” she said in the 2011 interview.

No funeral service is planned at this time, Lockridge said.

Staff reporter Robert Nott contributed to this story.

(1) comment

Michael Wilson

Please do not toss in acronyms like OMI without telling us what they stand for.

Roz Pulitzer was a gracious, accomplished person., as we learned in the bottom half of the story. However, more important than Roz herself apparently was whether her death should be counted as coronavirus-related or not. Roz deserves better.

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