Dorothy was what we would have called back then very ladylike,” former Times columnist Steve Harvey said in an email. “She wore dresses. She didn’t smoke or curse…. But she was tough.” As proof, he recalled how she was sent to skid row in 1978 to write about the fears of the homeless after a series of stabbings. “She was funny and smart and she was one of the guys, and that was very hard to achieve back then,” said Patt Morrison, a Times columnist who was a newsroom intern when she met Townsend in the late 1970s. “It was a very macho environment when she came into it, and it was pretty brave for her to do.