All her life Marcia Chambers hated exclusion. For years, she reported on discrimination against women and black people at private country clubs and golf courses.
Her groundbreaking reporting contributed to an eventual lifting of those exclusionary practices, in particular at Augusta National Golf Club, the home of the Masters, in 2012.
In 1983, Marcia Chambers became the first female president of the Inner Circle (“Koch on the Rocks”).
She died on July 13 at a hospital in New Haven, CT. A close friend, Barbara Marks, told the New York Times the cause was complications from a rare form of uterine cancer. Marcia was 78.
She worked at the Times from 1973 until 1987. Before that, on one of her first days at the Associated Press, she covered the 1971 attempted assassination of Mafia boss Joe Colombo Sr. at a rally in Columbus Circle.
Earlier, Marcia worked at papers in Albuquerque, NM and Perth Amboy, NJ, and was a NYC school teacher in Brooklyn and Queens.
Marcia Ann Goldstein was born in Brooklyn in 1940 and attended City College. She legally changed her surname to Chambers after reading a book about the Elizabethan stage by E.K. Chambers.
After leaving the Times, Marcia wrote a column for The National Law Journal. She also earned a master’s degree in the study of law at Yale Law School. There she met her husband, Stanton Wheeler. He died in 2007.
In a two-part series in 1990 for Golf Digest, she reported on various country and golf clubs around the country whose rules prevented women and African-Americans from becoming full-fledged members. She also uncovered attempts by the clubs to legally redefine privacy in order to preserve those practices.
“Marcia was the voice of reason on all of golf’s really serious issues of law and discrimination during an important period of change – the late 1980s and 1990s,” Jerry Tarde, Golf Digest’s editor, told the Times.
She later expanded that reporting in 1995 into a book, “The Unplayable Lie: The Untold Story of Women and Discrimination in Golf.”
Marcia continued as a freelance writer for Golf Digest and the Times. For the past 12 years, she was the editor and reporter for The Branford Eagle, an online news outlet in Connecticut, where she lived.
Marcia is survived by a sister, two stepsons and five step-grandchildren.