Marie H. Fanning
January 7, 1943 – May 7, 2019
"Marie Helen O’Boyle was born January 7, 1943 and died May 7, 2019. Marie, or (“Re-Re”) as she was known by the nieces, nephews, and countless cousins, grew up in Scranton Pennsylvania, the youngest of four children of Dr. James P. O’Boyle and Helen Cardiff. Dr. O’Boyle’s house was the center of a large extended Irish Catholic family in Dunmore. Weekends and summers were spent at the cabin in Moscow where Marie swam in the ice pond and hunted rabbits with her dad. Marie’s father was the head of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercy Hospital in Scranton, PA, and as a young girl she accompanied him on his rounds visiting patients, including his work at the St Joseph's orphanage where she helped him care for children. Marie learned compassion and selflessness at an early age and spent the rest of her life caring for her family, and disabled and special needs children and adults.
After ignoring his antics through grade and high school, Marie met a more mature Bill Fanning in 1967 who remained smitten with her for the rest of her life. After a brief courtship, they married in a December snowstorm and went for their honeymoon to the beach, the Jersey Shore. Decamping to Vermont and then to Elk Mountain, Bill and Marie found the life long passion of skiing and the outdoors that they passed on to their children and grandchildren. As a special education teacher with degrees from Marywood and Villanova, Marie taught children in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, Baltimore, and Alexandria. Marie’s former students appreciated her and were so devoted to her that her progress through grocery stores was often severely impeded. After the passage of the ADA, Marie worked placing adults with disabilities into the workplace; her stories about training one client to drive the elevator in the US Senate building were legendary.
Re-Re’s classroom management skills and organizational panache served her well in her other role as wife of 49 years and mother to five children spanning fifteen years. Marie created a well organized, warm, and loving home front while her husband Bill traveled for business. During that time, and in between working as a teacher, Marie made sure that all five kids made it out to school every morning with a good breakfast and a lunch. Dinner time was sacred and Marie used the opportunity of feeding her family and assorted guests to extract the day’s news and stories. Marie was a great listener, problem solver, and talker. Being Irish she loved a good story well told, had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. She always seemed happiest surrounded by her family laughing and talking. Marie had a wide circle of friends and was a great walker. Although socially deft and always proper, Maries drank her coffee black and was fond of a little Jack Daniels before dinner. Marie played a mean game of tennis, loved dogs and hated cats. She was always reading challenging books and turned her children into lifelong book nerds by example.
At heart, Marie was a people person and so it was especially painful to see how the Alzheimer’s disease caused her to lose her ability to recognize the faces of her friends and family. Through the challenges of the last year, Marie remained calm, sweet, and unfailingly cheerful. Even through the fog of the disease, her sense of humor, sometimes just a look was all it took to communicate, was sharp and never left her. Her passing leaves a great void in the Fanning Family. Re-Re played many roles and will be missed by her husband, five children, thirteen grandchildren, and countless others whose lives she touched. She is surely surrounded by her extended Irish family catching up on the stories and laughing at this very moment."
The family will receive friends at DEMAINE FUNERAL, 520 s. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314 on Thursday May 16th from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday May 17th at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 3515 N St. NW, Washington, DC 20007 at 10:30am. Interment will be private. www.demainefuneralhomes.com
- Mass of Christian Burial Friday, May 17, 2019
Marie H. Fanning
May 17, 2019
I knew Marie briefly as a teacher in Alexandria shortly before she retired. We both taught some of the same students. I was new at the school, she was not. A few minutes into a conversation with Marie, I knew this well spoken, funny, authentic lady was a rare gem. She made such a contribution to education and was beloved by her students, the parents and staff members at James K. Polk.
May 15, 2019
In mid-May of 2016 Ed Fanning and I spent a mini-vacation in Alexandria, Va. visiting Bill and Marie. It was on this visit that I had wonderful pleasure of meeting Marie. I realized durng our short visit that Marie was a truly beautiful and amazing woman. She was so easy to talk with and very eager to share her most fondest memories. While I was with Marie, I told her that I felt as though I was in the presence of an angel. That is difficult for me to explain but I knew Marie was very special and I felt special in her company. Ed and I wish to express our deepest and heartfelt sadness learning that Marie has passed. Our prayers are being said daily for Bill, her wonderful husband and her entire family. We can all say that we were touched by an Angel.
May 14, 2019
There are no words to convey what Rere meant to us. I learned from her to take a child seriously, to listen closely, to look for laughter. It sounds cliche to say she made us feel important but this was a gift of hers. She was the first adult to sit and tirelessly discuss literature with me (over huge bowls of ice cream after all the Fanning babies were tucked into bed) As a mother myself, now I realize what a sacrifice this must have been for her, to surrender those few hours of reprieve at the end of the day, in order to listen to a little girl. She introduced me to James Herriot, CS Lewis and Watership Down. She read excerpts from Erma Bomback, taking for granted I could appreciate the silliness of the stories. I learned from her that a home full of books will yield children who love words, as witnessed by each of the beautiful, brilliant Fanning kids and their own children. But mostly, she modeled what a gentle mother looks like.
Our hearts and prayers are with all of the Fanning children and grandchildren and Uncle Bill. You will never fill the empty space she leaves behind but what a life you have to celebrate in hers and what a legacy to follow.
Uncle Bill thank you for your devotion to Rere. Thank you for “ remaining smitten” with her until she left this world. You have taught the generations below you what unconditional love, in sickness and in health, should mean.
We love you guys, Gene, Td and all the Stec kids.
May 14, 2019
Marie, you were teacher to us all in our Conscious Living Group. You taught us Gentleness with every fiber, every look, every smile. You taught us Respect with your interest and listening to everything we had to share. Perhaps the greatest lesson taught was the love that one person can have and share with another. You taught us what marriage could be like. You taught us Patience, just with the roll of an eye, when Big Bill would launch into one of his "jokes." Imagine, dealing with that for 49 years!
We will miss your bodily presence but will always have that gentle spirit reminding us all that...."All is well. all manner of things are well." Our Conscious Living Group speaks:
"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
Our Marie you'll be." (Robert Munsch)
May 13, 2019
I loved reading the obituary to know something about Marie before I met her. I've only known Marie & Bill for the past few years working together through Hands on Housing. It was always a joy to have Marie as part of the crew. I can see now that her gentleness, warmth and good humor that I knew come from way back. I've been lucky to know her and sorry I didn't meet her sooner. Rest in peace Marie.
May 13, 2019
Thank you to ReRe for being such a great role model of what a mother should be to her children - kind,loving and patient beyond belief! - and a wonderful listener - especially to children. I remember ReRe loved babies and anytime she came into a room she would find the nearest baby -a toddler would do too- and immediately pick them up, talk to them or kiss them. She had to get her daily baby fix. (I guess it’s no coincidence that Bops was an obstetrician. Love of babies runs in the family) Everyone else would be greeted after she paid homage to the babies - and of course babies loved her in return. Thank you ReRe for being the wonderful person that you were and being such a brave warrior in the last couple years . You accepted Gods plan for you with grace and courage. And thank you Uncle Bill for taking such good care of such a precious person. God Bless Tom And Margie Donahue And Cara,Chris,Meghan,Ben, Liam ,Nolan and Jeff
May 12, 2019
Uncle Bill and the Entire Fanning Family,
We are sorry for your loss. What a wife and what a mother and what a grandmother and what an aunt!
We 13 Kelley's were blessed with superstar aunts and uncles who always took seriously our jibberish and silliness but Aunt Re-Re stood out amongst these luminaries as a special star. In conversation, she could be comedic or eloquent. In demeanor, she was typically dignified and well postured but in true O'Boyle fashion, she could remember and retell an Aunt Helen and Uncle Marty story (Riggs Street, Dunmore, PA, 18512) almost as well as her Father, Doc O'Boyle. The only reason I say "almost as well" is because to this day, Doc Jim O'Boyle was the best story teller I have ever heard. He could control a dinner table or a room with stories and jokes better than anyone. And all of the stories he told were....true. Just changed a little bit. Stuff ya can't make up if ya had ta make it up.
So Aunt Re-Re, you're in good company. In good faith, we know and believe that you are are with the Lord in Heaven, but just as important, you are at a picnic table under a beautiful tree with your Mom, your Dad, Aunt Annie and generations of O'Boyles and Fannings sitting around waiting to take over the world again.
Uncle Mike and Aunt Elayna
May 11, 2019
Condolences to the Fanning. Marie was a good soul. May she rest in peace
May 11, 2019
Rere brought light and joy into every room she entered- there are no words to express the way she influenced those lucky enough to have known her. A gentle , indomitable spirit, she made everyone around her feel important and welcome. Maybe one of her gifts in Heaven will be to see the far reaching impact she had on the world. Love you so much Rere - and all the Fanning's.
May 10, 2019
For a wonderful woman beautiful both on the out side and inside. God Bless R I P
The Auburn N Y Fannings