Mary Ann Levis Lyons, 92 of 48 Sherman Street, Bradford, passed away Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at the Pavilion at BRMC.
Born on November 16, 1920, in Erie, she was a daughter of Ernest Lewis and Ann (Rich) Levis. She was a 1938 graduate of St. Bernard High School.
Free spirited, Mary Ann left Bradford to join the 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 there for 25 years. Mary Ann spoke often of her apartment life on Madison Ave. "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 afterward 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 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 are a stepson Ronald (Susan) Stewart of Bedford, Mass.; three step-grandchildren; and four step-great 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, March 6, 2013, from 11 a.m. to noon in the Hollenbeck-Cahill Funeral Home at 372 E. Main Street followed by a prayer service at noon 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