Mary Ann Levis Lyons, 92, of 48 Sherman St., Bradford, passed away Wednesday (Feb. 27, 2013) at the Pavilion at Bradford Regional Medical Center.
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Born on Nov. 16, 1920, in Erie, she was the daughter of the late Ernest Lewis and Ann Rich Levis. She was a 1938 graduate of St. Bernard High School.
Free spirited, Mary Ann left Bradford to join USO and served for a time in St. Marys. Later she began a successful career with Kaiser Frazer Automobile distributorship in New York City and worked her way up to become the first female general director for the distributorship. She was greatly admired in the industry.
Mary Ann enjoyed a spirited life in New York City where she met and married Gerry Lyons and they resided for 25 years. Mary Ann spoke often of her apartment life on Madison Avenue. "Everything was dazzling", she would say. "I had no time to learn how to cook." During that time, she and her husband also lived in Florida where Mary Ann became a skilled dog trainer and a lifelong supporter of the SPCA.
Together Mary Ann and Gerry also enjoyed traveling and Mexico was a favorite destination. Unfortunately, Gerry became ill on one of their trips to Mexico and Mary Ann became his care giver until he passed away. Gerry is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. After his death in 1962, Mary Ann returned to Bradford to help care for her brother Sonny and her mother until they passed away.
She worked as a receptionist at the new Bradford Holiday Inn and shortly afterwards joined The Bradford Era as the social page editor. Mary Ann was widely admired for all the stories and human interest features she wrote for The Bradford Era. Specifically, she sought out people who loved animals. She was a skilled reporter who always got to the heart of the matter. She often teamed up with the late W. Forres Stewart covering freelance and human interest photo stories. During her newspaper career Mary Ann also worked for the Olean (N.Y.) Times Herald, retiring in 1975. She was instrumental in working with former University of Pittsburgh at Bradford President Dr. Richard McDowell in setting up the W. Forres Stewart Photo Archive Collection.
Mary Ann was a great lover of animals and over a long period of time had many dogs, cats and birds. She was most recently seen accompanied by her faithful companion Richie. Mary Ann was also a supporter of many local and national causes including the St. Anthony Guild and the Capuchin Franciscan Friars. Mary Ann was known for her unique and stylish attire, and she believed strongly in maintaining an excellent diet and exercise program which kept her active and free of illness for her entire life.
In her later years, she greatly appreciated the support she received from numerous local friends who took an active interest in her well being.
Surviving is a stepson, Ronald (Susan) Stewart of Bedford, Mass.; three stepgrandchildren; and four stepgreat-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, her long-time companion W. Forres Stewart, and one brother, Sonny Levis.
Family will receive friends on Wednesday in the Hollenbeck-Cahill Funeral Home, 372 E. Main St., from 11 a.m. until noon, at which time a prayer service will be held with the Rev. Raymond Gramatta, pastor of St. Bernard Church, officiating. Burial will be in St. Bernard Cemetery.
Memorials, if desired, may be made to the McKean County SPCA, P.O. Box 113, Bradford, PA 16701.
Online condolences may be made at www.hollenbeckcahill.com
Hollenbeck-Cahill Funeral Homes Inc.
372 East Main Street
Bradford, PA 16701
Published in The Bradford Era from Mar. 4 to Mar. 11, 2013