Mary Krug, a longtime Neiman Marcus merchant who was vice president and divisional merchandise manager of intimate apparel and children’s, died Sunday in a Dallas hospital following a brief illness, according to the company. She was 61.

This story first appeared in the November 26, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“Mary was a gifted merchant, a selfless mentor and a great friend to so many of us over the years,” said Karen Katz, president and chief executive officer of Neiman Marcus Group. “Her 40-year career at NMG was distinguished and filled with achievement.…Mary was named NM Best in 1990, our second merchant winner. To me, that tells any associate just how special Mary was. She personified Neiman Marcus excellence, and she truly was the best of the best. We will miss her immensely, especially her beautiful smile, gracious demeanor and great elegance.”

Josie Natori, ceo of Natori Co., said she was shocked and deeply saddened by Krug’s passing.

“I don’t know anyone else I’ve worked with that long in all the years I’ve been in the industry,” said Natori, noting she first met Krug in the Seventies. “She was a very reassuring constant — a rock — and will be sorely missed. She has seen how lingerie has changed over 30 years and I will miss those conversations. You could have an open discussion with her, and she would always do what was right for Neiman Marcus. She was an absolute pleasure to deal with. More than anything she really exemplified the culture of Neiman Marcus and understood who their customer is and was a very loyal person.”

Krug began her career in 1974 at Bergdorf Goodman and held various buying positions in ready-to-wear before moving to Neiman’s as a bridge sportswear buyer in 1983, followed by buying stints in better sportswear and separates, casual legwear and hosiery.

Krug began buying Escada in 1986, “shepherding that business to record growth and market dominance,” Katz noted.

In 1991, Krug was named merchandise manager of the NorthPark Center store, and two years later became a human resources director responsible for developing merchant teams.

The chain promoted her to vice president and dmm of couture II and evening in 1995, shifting her to gift galleries in 1998 and to intimate apparel in 2001. In 2007, she took on added responsibility for children’s.

Krug is survived by her husband, Tony, and sons Guy and Nick. Services are pending.

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