We are indeed saddened to announce that Maryann Tracy, a founding member of TheWildGeese.irish and one of our earliest staff members, died September 6 in Syracuse at the age of 63. Maryann began her tenure with us in February 2012 as part of the small team that helped us transition from TheWildGeese.com, our then-15-year-old online magazine, to the current TheWildGeese.irish social network (WG, for short).
Right, Maryann Tracy, April 2014. Photo by Gerry Regan
Maryann was recruited by her friend and WG colleague Belinda Evangelista, both then living outside Syracuse, N.Y. With teammates Alannah Ryane, Anna Porter, Joe Gannon and Gerry Regan, Belinda and Maryann initially went to work helping us compile a comprehensive list of the thousands of online features WG had produced from its start in the fall of 1997.
That work complete, Maryann became the producer of our Folklore and ‘Irish Kitchen’ channels. A talented artist, additionally blessed with a folksy and well-crafted writing style, Maryann wrote for us, too, and also undertook some copy editing. At our urging, she tried her hand as our first editorial cartoonist, and evinced both sly humor and artistic chops. Maryann also was quick to greet new members and make them feel at home, something hugely important for us, particularly in the early days of the transition.
Maryann’s numerous posts within our pages include articles “Is Your Beer Good Enough for St. Patrick” and “The Irish Backbone of the Erie Canal” (which has drawn more than 3,000 views), cartoons “A Tip for Punters” and “Tough Times for Leprechauns," and interviews with Clare-born photographer and musician Christy McNamara and Tyrone ‘poet-ographer’ Aine MacAodha, Making Art By Ulster’s Sperrins. Maryann also applied her gentle humor in creating this limerick, which begins, "There was a young man from Kanturk ..."
In April 2014, Maryann and Belinda collaborated in bringing to a big (and decidedly opulent) Landmark Theatre in downtown Syracuse the award-winning documentary “The Irish Pub,” produced by TheWildGeese.irish Heritage Partner Atom Films. The screening became the centerpiece of a three-day cultural event that drew close to 300 individuals to Syracuse venues.
Left, "Tough Times for Leprechauns," by Maryann Tracy
Maryann was born September 8, 1953, in New York City to John Tracy and Mary Toomey. She graduated from Bishop Grimes High School in East Syracuse, N.Y., and Le Moyne College, in nearby Syracuse, with a degree in Fine Arts and Literature.
She was especially fond of watercolor paintings and studied with several local artists whose work she admired. She also wrote for several blogs that focused on the arts, including TheWildGeese.irish.
Maryann is survived by her children, Vanessa (Mark) McClowry of Brewerton and William “Bill” Koch Jr. (Ashley Bullock) of North Syracuse, along with three granddaughters, Liliana, Ailey Shea and Delaney McClowry.
She is also survived by her two sisters, Patty Beaudoin (John) and Keenie Hunter (Joe), as well as two brothers, Mike Tracy (Karen) and Tom Tracy (Kathy). Her parents, John and Mary Tracy, her stepfather, Richard Merrill, and her aunts Dorothy “Dot” Loftus and Nora Toomey all died before her. She also recently lost her brother John Tracy and uncle, John “Butch” Toomey. Leaving no doubt about Maryann’s whimsy, family members suggest, she truly believed there was no one that could outmatch her in a game of Jeopardy.
Sadly, illness diverted Maryann’s energies from TheWildGeese.irish the past few years, but she has made an indelible impact on us. She passionately embraced our mission, and stood ready to do all she could to make TheWildGeese.irish a world-class home for the irish worldwide. We think of her often, and, while we mourn her loss, we celebrate her life and her many contributions to our pages.
You can find more of Maryann Tracy's posts on TheWildGeese.irish.