Remembering SEA Member Mary Fannion

Mary Fannion

Mary Fannion

As we reported earlier this week, longtime SEA member Mary Fannion died Dec. 24 at the age of 79.

Mary worked as a toll attendant in recent years and was heavily involved in the SEA. She was a member of Chapter 1 and Chapter 17, serving in chapter leadership in the latter as vice president and councilor. She was also a member of the Bargaining Senate, Road Race Committee, Convention Arrangements Committee and Social Activities Committee.

She was a familiar sight at the SEA office and SEA events, usually wearing shorts, stockings and a big, bright smile. Cheryl Towne, an SEA director and member of Chapter 9, said she’d miss that smile and Mary’s sense of style.

Mary Fannion poses for a photo at the SEA 5K in April. The annual road race, which benefits Operation Santa Claus, was just one area of Mary's involvement at the SEA.

Mary Fannion poses for a photo at the SEA 5K in April. The annual road race, which benefits Operation Santa Claus, was just one area of Mary’s involvement at the SEA.

“I’m quite saddened that we won’t be able to see Mary at the SEA building with her big smile and wonderful crazy socks,” Towne said. “My thoughts and prayers are with family and friends.”

Peg Smith, president of Chapter 17, described Mary as “a character you couldn’t help yourself hugging.”

“She brightened every chapter meeting and envelope-stuffing with both her personality and her clothing!” Smith said. “Her dedication to her job, her co-workers, and especially her union brothers and sisters was inspiring to all who knew her.”

Of course, she was always ready with some good-natured ribbing, Smith said.

“Mary would always give me a hard time if she saw me go through a toll booth that wasn’t hers,” Smith said.

Smith noted Mary’s commitment to state service, the SEA and her colleagues.

“She was vice president of Chapter 17 and showed me the ropes when I was elected president,” Smith said. “Supporting the children through Operation Santa Claus, Mary showed her compassion for others. Getting hit by mirrors and truck tires bouncing through her tollbooth never stopped her. She was a tough cookie as well as a great cookie baker. NH DOT, SEIU1984, and Chapter 17 have gained an angel who will always look over them. We will never forget such a wonderful woman.”

Ken Roos, the SEA’s first vice president, remembered when Mary’s natural charisma landed her screen time in a political ad, despite some hiccups.

“She kept blowing her lines, even mispronouncing some well-known politicians, but kept right on going like a trouper!” Roos said. “Ultimately, she made it into the clip while my piece ended up on the cutting room floor.”

If you’re interested, you can watch the clip here.

It goes without saying that we at the SEA will miss Mary dearly, but we’re thankful for the many bright moments she brought into our lives. Her funeral information, set for next weekend, follows:

A viewing is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11 at French & Rising Funeral Home, 17 S. Mast Road, Goffstown. Funeral service will follow at 4 p.m. The family requests that you wear bright colors, as was Mary’s style. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that you consider making a donation to the American Cancer Society or Operation Santa Claus.

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