Jane M. Gannon, 90, Was Active in Community Life
Jane Mahon Gannon of Vineyard Haven died in the late afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 14 at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, surrounded by her family. She was 90 years of age.
A summer resident initially, Janie - as everyone knew her - moved permanently to the Island in 1992 and quickly began her volunteer activities at the Vineyard Haven Thrift Shop and the hospital. She joined Grace Episcopal Church and visited the library often, knowing from her experience as a wartime, then corporate wife, that was how she would find her new friends. In the more than dozen communities where she lived during her long, rich life, she worked for the Red Cross Bloodmobile and garden clubs, helped to establish a community center and participated in the annual Audubon bird count.
Janie was part of the Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway from the start, but she was best known for her self-proclaimed role as V.P. of Horticulture. The windowbox made by her grandson Antonio for her first home on Look street, Vineyard Haven, soon moved to the boatyard's sliding door where she tended it lovingly with seasonal displays. The tiny cedars planted this summer and dressed with fishing bobs remain there.
A determined individual, and no longer able to drive, Janie was often seen this summer hitchhiking on Fairfield avenue, bent on making it to G&B or the Thrift Shop. That same determination prompted her to pack up two small children, the family's Zenith radio and a few treasures to follow her beloved husband, Joe, during the months that he trained before going overseas to serve in the South Pacific during World War II. He surprised her by enlisting, but she wasn't going to stay behind. While stationed at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod, Joe brought her to "the prettiest little Island" (Martha's Vineyard) that he saw first in a landing exercise. After Joe's death in 1970, Janie continued to attend the periodic reunions of the 533rd Engineering Battalion & Shore Regiment, delighting in the camaraderie of longtime friends.
She overcame her fear of flying in order to travel as she and Joe had planned to do after his retirement. With her arm in a cast, she first embarked on a six-month trip around the world, followed by trips to Peru and the Amazon, Africa and Australia. She shopped everywhere for her family; the wares from her many trips are still to be found in family homes.
Janie was proud of her certificate in poultry raising from Michigan State College, acquired when, shortly after her marriage, her father in law persuaded her and Joe to take up farming in St. Clair, Mich., as a buttress against the economic downfall he expected would occur with a Democrat in the White House. Prouder still were she and her two surviving children when, in her sixties, she completed her college degree after the Depression cut short her university career.
Janie was born May 2, 1913 in Port Huron, Mich., the daughter of Edith Sherman and Ross LeHunt Mahon.
She is survived by and will always be remembered by her son, Ross, and daughter, Carol, both of West Tisbury; her grandchildren, Carolina Salguero of Brooklyn, N.Y., Kathleen Salguero Trepa of Mystic, Conn., and Antonio Salguero of Port Townsend, Wash.; her niece, Sarah Holt Jett of Bloomfield, Conn., and grandniece Anne Jett Owens of Warwick, R.I. She had four great-grandchildren, Miguel and Marco Salguero and Katelyn and Kelsey Trepa. Her son, Jerry, died in 1986. Her daughter in law, Kirsten Scott, and her companion, Anne Sylvester, also deeply mourn her departure.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 22 at Grace Episcopal Church, Vineyard Haven. Her ashes will be interred in St. Clair, Mich., where she will join Joe and Jerry.