Funeral services were held Monday at the Church of St. Saviour for longtime Women’s Wear Daily photo librarian Elizabeth “Tish” Loughlin.
Loughlin died at age 92 of myeloma, according to her niece, Mary Ann Shanahan.
During her nearly 60-year tenure at Fairchild Publications, the razor-sharp Loughlin was the go-to person for archival photos. Regardless of whether the information provided for a search was abundant or lean, she was always at the ready to ferret out images from weeks, months or decades long past. Diminutive but spry, Loughlin would spring into action with what seemed to be automatic recall. Her idiosyncratic reference system consisted of a combination of handwritten blue index cards, reams of contact sheets, slides, prints and individual photo sleeves earmarked by notable portraits, the date of the shoot and publishing date. Somehow Loughlin’s approach was just as speedy as today’s computers, and she routinely suggested additional options that often were more suitable than the initial request.
World War II was still under way when she was hired on Sept. 11, 1944, and the onset of the war in Afghanistan was looming by the time she retired in 2001. Throughout her time at Fairchild, Loughlin lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
She was also born there, the sixth of seventh children. Her height peaked at 5 feet, 2 inches, but that did not deter her from becoming a star basketball player on the St. Saviour High School team. After graduation, she studied at the Traphagen School of Fashion, founded by the fashion designer Ethel Traphagen in 1923, which also groomed such talent as Geoffrey Beene and James Galanos.
Tireless in her work and devoted as she was to her family, Loughlin spent a good deal of time helping others. She and her sister Joan served as air raid wardens during World War II, making nightly rounds in their Brooklyn neighborhood to make sure no one had left their lights on. Throughout most of her life, Wednesday nights were reserved for work at the now-shuttered St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, where she was known to warmly greet patients and their families. She also devoted her time to St. Saviour Church, as well as to its grammar and high schools, both of which she attended. Last year, Loughlin was awarded the Benemerenti Medal, which was instituted by Pope Gregory XVI in 1832 to honor those who provide long and exceptional service on behalf of the Catholic Church.
Volunteerism was far from her only pastime. Loughlin was also a big traveler and welcoming hostess. Always pulled together in a well-coordinated head-to-toe ensemble, she was widely known for her New Year’s Day gatherings at her 5th Street brownstone. Self-sufficient as she was, Loughlin preferred a fifth-floor bedroom, unfazed by the flights of stairs needed to get there.
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