Mary Anne Lawhead

Mary Anne Lawhead

Mary Anne Lawhead, 93, of Dunkirk, passed away Monday afternoon, September 18, 2023 in her home, following a courageous battle with vascular dementia.

Born on April 6, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois, Mary Anne was the daughter of the late James and Yvonne (Tremblay) Burke.

Besides her parents, she was predeceased by her brother, James Burke Jr. her first husband, Jack O’Connell and their infant daughter, Sharon, her 2nd husband, D. Kent Lawhead, and son-in-laws, Timothy Schwertfager and Allan DeJonghe.

Mary Anne, “Grandma Red” to many, grew up in Chicago, Illinois, but resided in the Dunkirk and Fredonia area for her adult life. She was a member of the Dunkirk Senior Center and Chautauqua Health & Fitness. She enjoyed participating in classes at both. She also walked with friends in her lakeside neighborhood.

Other interests included yard sailing with her daughters, crocheting her famous washcloths, knitting afghans, and reading for enjoyment. During the summers, she was often seen riding around in her white Mustang convertible. Winters were spent in Sarasota, Florida, where she and her husband, Kent, enjoyed meeting up with a wonderful group of friends.

Mary Anne was gifted with a sincere Catholic faith. Growing up she attended St. Louis of France Church and graduated from St. Louis Academy. As an adult, she was a parishioner of St. Joseph’s Church, and also would be seen attending Holy Trinity Church. For numerous years she was a member of the adult choir at St. Joseph’s and would be the soloist at Christmas Eve Mass, singing “Silent Night”. She, along with many of her siblings, loved to sing!

In 1977, Mary Anne graduated from Jamestown School of Practical Nursing. She began her nursing career at Brooks Memorial Hospital, worked at the Chautauqua County Home, and later, St. Columban’s On the Lake Retirement Home. After retirement from St. Columban’s, Mary Anne continued to work offering private care to the elderly.

Family was important to Mary Anne. She kept in touch with her out of town siblings and always welcomed their visits. She brought up a big Irish family of 8 children. She loved and supported each of them unconditionally. Many celebrations were at her home. She shared in her children’s successes and disappointments. She was the “rock” for them throughout her life.

Survivors include two sons, Michael O”Connell, James O’Connell, both of Dunkirk; six daughters, Kathleen (William) Stelmach, Karen O’Connell, both of Fredonia, Susan (Daniel) McKinnon, of Forestville, Barbara Schwertfager of Fredonia, Jayne DeJonghe and Jill (Steven) Crane, both of Dunkirk; 15 grandchildren; 19 great grandchildren; 3 stepsons; and several nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, October 3rd at 9:30 a.m. in Holy Trinity Church. There will be no prior visitation. Arrangements are by the McGraw-Kowal Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Chautauqua Hospice & Palliative Care or St. Columban’s On the Lake Retirement Home.