I (husband Paul) will miss her immensely. She was born in Brooklyn to Helen and James Fanning, lived on Long Island and made life-long friends in school, graduated from Duquesne University in 1961, then went west to the University of Colorado in Boulder to get an advanced degree in anthropology.
I met her there just before moving to Los Alamos to start my new job. We courted long distance and married in August 1969, completing 52 years of marriage without too many complaints. We loved each other; this marriage was the best thing that ever happened to me. My family loved her and she them, she being particularly close to my mother, a blessing for all.
She enjoyed almost 40 years of skiing (fresh powder on Big Burn!/Daisy Mae!/Gayway!, dinner at the Golden Horn!), the same for annual river trips on the Colorado, San Juan, even into the Beaufort Sea in the arctic down the Firth in the Yukon and many other rivers. The best parts of these trips was possibly sitting around the campfires at night telling stories and jokes. I turned our raft over only once, in The Slide on the Salmon River in Idaho in 1980.
She enjoyed teaching anthropology at UNMLA for many years, leaving that job for us to study Russian in night school, then with a Berlitz instructor for six weeks preparing for an extended stay in the USSR in 1978. It was one of her favorite trips even with our primitive language skills, which occasionally caused comical results in our conversations with Russians.
We lived in England for a year in 1987 and made a few life-long friends there, saw many “Broadway” and English musical productions in London. Over the years we made many trips to all the continents, many countries, and she enjoyed them all, especially Africa. After having breast cancer in 1983, she served as a volunteer in the chemotherapy treatment unit of Los Alamos Medical Center (LAMC) for nearly 30 years and found great satisfaction in working with the staff and helping the apprehensive patients. Then there was her group of quilting friends, which met once a week. She gave many of her quilts to friends with new babies and to other acquaintances. She always treasured her friends above all, some going back 80 years.
After my 50th college reunion in 2009, where we met up with my group of former roommates, she championed the idea of us having a 50th reunion every year, since she liked not only the men but also their wives. We hosted the first one in Santa Fe and Los Alamos, meeting in other cities until the pandemic shutdown in 2020. We had no children, but six dogs, airedales Droopsie, Dickens, Bimbo, Busker, Toby, the sixth Coco the poodle, who comforted her a lot. Coco cuddled up with her on the bed every morning after I’d gotten up, photo taken just a few days before she died at home of complications of old age, physical decline, and mild dementia. Over the years she walked the dogs in White Rock in the morning with friends as long as she was able, and in turn our dogs took us to the local dog park every day for many years, where we made friends with whom we went to dinner once a week.
We both loved frequently attending the Los Alamos Concert Association (LACA) and The Lensic classical music concerts. We’re fortunate to have such excellent concerts available. We were both fond of theatre organ music and for more than 30 years attended weeklong concert extravaganzas wherever there were Wurlitzers- Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, and other cities around the USA. Then there is the huge list of books on WWII that she read until her end. I read about half of them myself but couldn’t quite keep up with her.
Thanks to our friends and caregivers Kelly and Bernadette and hospice personnel. She was a faithful lifelong Catholic and member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church (IHM) in Los Alamos and received a last communion from her priest a few days before she died. A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m., May 14, at IHM Catholic Church in Los Alamos, and a luncheon will be served afterwards. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Espanola Humane Society or charity of your choice if you wish.
The family of Maryann Allison has entrusted the care of their loved one to the DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory 505.747.7477, www.devargasfuneralhome.com.
Maryann Allison (April 21, 2022) and husband Paul Allison. Courtesy photo