A new scholarship named in memory
of one of Bradford’s most colorful women will help students who are writing
majors and need some financial assistance.
Ron Stewart gave a gift to
Pitt-Bradford to establish the Mary Ann Lyons Creative Writing Memorial
Scholarship in memory of his stepmother, who died Feb. 27. Stewart’s gift will
provide a $500 scholarship each year to a student who is majoring in writing
and also has a financial need. The first scholarship has been awarded this
current academic year to Dan Tennies, a writing major from Eldred.
wanted to establish the scholarship to benefit writing students because Mary
Ann was a skilled reporter with an insightful writing style who was widely
admired for her many stories and human-interest features,” said Stewart, who
lives in Bedford, Mass. “I also wanted to memorialize Mary Ann because she was well
known in the Bradford area for her unique and stylish attire and her warm and
outward personality that endeared her to so many people.”
the latter part of Lyons’ career, she served as the women’s editor at the
Bradford Era and as a reporter for the Olean (N.Y.) Times Herald. In her popular
“Know Your Neighbor” weekly column, she highlighted the skills and interests of
local residents. She also collaborated with former Era photographer W. Forres
Stewart, Ron Stewart’s father, for many of her feature stories, which were
addition to establishing the scholarship, Stewart donated to the Hanley Library archives Lyons’ entire collection of her newspaper work from
The Bradford Era and Olean Times Herald (1968-1981), which will be made
available for research and public viewing.
was born in Erie on Nov. 16, 1920, and
moved to Bradford at an early age. She graduated from St. Bernard High
School in 1938 and attended a competitive office management and secretarial
program, in which she excelled in shorthand and earned straight A’s. She held
several office manager and secretarial jobs in her early years but made a
significant name for herself when she moved to New York City and advanced into
management. She had a successful career with the Kaiser Frazer Automobile
distributorship and was appointed the first female general director of the
distributorship, which was unheard of in those days.
married Lt. Col. Gerry Lyons, and they lived in New York for many years. They
also spent some time in Florida where Lyons became a skilled dog trainer and a lifelong
supporter of the SPCA and other national causes.
the mid-1960s, Lyons returned to Bradford where she worked as a receptionist at
the new Bradford Howard Johnson Inn and later began her newspaper career.
to the Mary Ann Lyons Creative Writing Memorial Scholarship may be made by phoning
the Office of Institutional Advancement at (814) 362-5091; mailing a check to
the office at 300 Campus Drive, Bradford, Pa., 16701; or emailing Jill Ballard,
executive director of institutional advancement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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