Mary Lou was born on September 12, 1932, the eldest of seven children of John J. and Helen M. (Crowley) Leary. She attended Immaculate Conception Grammar School and was a member of the first graduating class of Immaculate Conception High School in 1950. After graduation, she attended Salem Hospital School of Nursing and became a Registered Nurse in 1953.
Over the years Mary Lou had a variety of experiences in the nursing field. She was a head nurse at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, the school nurse at Bentley College, and a visiting nurse in Somerville and Newburyport. When her children were young, she began working at Anna Jaques Hospital until she retired in 1992 after suffering a major stroke caused by a brain aneurysm.
Mary Lou married John Russell “Russ” Gannon on July 26, 1967. The couple raised their two children, Suzanne and Michael, in Newburyport. Mary Lou loved being a mother of two very active children and made sure Sue and Mike had many adventures. Following in her footsteps, Mary Lou’s children learned to love the ocean, the Red Sox, and especially the New England Patriots.
Mary Lou is survived by her daughter Suzanne of Newmarket, NH, and her daughters, Liza and Katie; her son Michael and his wife, Amanda, of West Palm Beach, Florida, and their two children, Gavin and Grace; her siblings Eleanora Paciulan of Newburyport, Joanne Pesa and her husband, Peter, of Milton, GA, Kathleen Leary of Newburyport, John Leary and his wife, Betty, of Newburyport, Margaret O’Donnell of Melrose, and her sister-in-law, Stacey Leary, of Somersworth, NH. Mary Lou leaves many beloved nieces and nephews, including her two Godchildren, Teresa Short and Paul Pesa. In addition, Mary Lou will be greatly missed by her three dear friends, Peggy Arsenault, Patricia Cody, and Joanne Gentile. Mary Lou was predeceased by her husband, Russell, in 1999 and her brother, Arthur, in 2016.
Mary Lou’s indomitable spirit, deep faith, love of life, strength of character, great sense of humor and remarkable courage have been an inspiration to all who knew and loved her. We thank God that she is at peace after all the challenges she faced in her lifetime.
Calling hours will be held Friday evening from 4 to 7 PM at the Twomey, LeBlanc, & Conte Funeral Home at 193 High Street, Newburyport. A Mass of Christian burial will take place at 10:00 AM Saturday at the Immaculate Conception Church, 42 Green Street, Newburyport, followed by burial at St. Mary Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in memory of Mary Lou Gannon to the Newburyport Jr. Clippers at Special Olympics Massachusetts 512 Forest St. Marlborough, MA 01752.