Polly Mann, WAMM co-founder and leader in state's antiwar movement, dies at 103

Working as a clerk on an Army base, Polly Mann watched families tearfully bid goodbye to the troop trains taking their sons to fight in World War II. "And the more I

watched those trains, the more I thought, 'There's got to be some better way than this,' " Mann recalled in a later documentary on her life. She made good on that impulse,

becoming Minnesota's leading antiwar activist and co-founding Women Against Military Madness (WAMM), a group she remained active with well into her 90s. Mann died Thursday

at age 103 after suffering a stroke in San Francisco, where she had recently moved to be closer to her daughters after living for years in Minneapolis. "She had big ideas

and she carried through with them," said Sarah Martin of Minneapolis, who was active in WAMM in its early days. "She was really kind and strong and persuasive and engaging. People

bought into the ideas." Pam Costain, another WAMM founder, said Mann's vision went beyond what was common in 1980s Minnesota. "It was something we hadn't had in this

community before," Costain said. "It was led by women and it was very bold in what it stood for." WAMM at its peak counted thousands of supporters and hundreds of

demonstrators who protested at rallies, roadsides and corporate headquarters. Many of its members were arrested more than once. Those protests were in large part due to

Mann, who grew up in Hot Springs, Ark., and brought her keen mind, sharp wit and Southern style to the cold north.