[Congressional Record Volume 142, Number 9 (Wednesday, January 24, 1996)]
[Pages S340-S341]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                     MARY BRENNAN'S PUBLIC SERVICE

  Mr. PELL. Mr. President, I rise to share with my colleagues the 
wonderful example of Mary P. Brennan, an extraordinary woman who 
combined the best qualities of politics and public service.
  Mary Brennan, who retired last month as marketing director for Green 
State Airport after an extraordinary career in politics and public 
service, lost her battle with breast cancer earlier this month.
  In a time when politicians and public servants are the targets of 
unusually harsh criticism, Mary was a sterling example of how some 
people were created to ennoble both politics and public service.
  If you knew Mary, you felt special. It did not matter if your station 
were high or low, you received the warmth of her charm, the depth of 
her compassion and the inspiration of her ``can do'' spirit.
  When she retired after 11 years as marketing director at Green State 
Airport, it was noted that often she would take 30 minutes to make her 
way across the airport terminal because she would bump into so many 
people she knew.
  All who knew her, whether in her earlier job as executive aide to 
former Gov. J. Joseph Garrahy or her most recent job as marketing 
director, knew that she would put in 150 percent effort.
  When asked why she worked so hard for so many people, Mary replied: 
``If you care about people, you want to service them to the utmost. You 
start something right, you finish it right.''
  She was loyal to public service and she valued loyalty above all 
other virtues. ``When you make a commitment to someone,'' she said, 
``you keep it.''
  Mr. President, we will miss Mary tremendously in Rhode Island. I will 
think of her when I fly into Rhode Island. It also is easy to hark back 
to an earlier decade and picture her hard at work in the Rhode Island 
State House.
  Governor Garrahy delivered a heart-felt eulogy that I would like to 
share with my colleagues. I ask unanimous consent that his remarks and 
obituaries from the Providence, RI, Journal and the Woonsocket, RI, 
Call be printed in the Record as if read.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

         Remarks by Former Rhode Island Gov. J. Joseph Garrahy

       Mary Brennan--say her name and you are guaranteed to smile. 
     That's because her warmth, her care, her enthusiastic 
     approach to life was contagious. She touched us all.
       I can think of no higher honor than to have been asked to 
     speak about my friend, our friend, Mary. My single regret is 
     that I have to do this so soon, so early.
       Like all of you, I have a special place in my heart 
     reserved for Mary. She caught my attention 30 years ago and 
     will forever hold it.
       To know Mary was to know all the Brennans an the 
     Partingtons, because special above everyone was her family. 
     She came from such solid stock--Bumpsie and Mumsie. At the 
     wonderful age of 91, it was Mumsie who cared for the daughter 
     who loved her so. And boy if there were ever two peas in a 
     pod, it was Mary and Mumsy. We admire your strength Mumsy and 
     your faith. A faith that Mary carried with her throughout her 
       And Mary had a special sisterly bond with her brothers Bill 
     and John. She would defend and care for them and they for 
       Her pride and joy were her two sons--Brian and Sean. She 
     used to say how much like John, Brian was. And boy was she 
     beaming last April at his and Sally's wedding. Sean was with 
     her every step of the way--she was so proud of his work in 
     Alaska and Hawaii and encouraged him to follow his dream. 
     Typical Mary--always selfless.
       They were blessed to have her. And, we were all blessed 
     because Mary made us part of her extended family. She adopted 
     each of us and we were better for it. A special thanks to 
     Little Lynne who adopted Mary and was a great comfort in her 
     final days.
       All of us could easily be overwhelmed by grief of our great 
     loss. Or we can proceed as Mary would have us--remembering 
     our special times together and understanding what a special 
     woman she was.
       Mary has affected more lives than any newspaper report can 
     ever catalogue. Each of us carries memories and stories of 
     how Mary affected us. Every one of my days as Governor could 
     be footnoted with a Mary Brennan story. Whether is was the 
     difficult days of the oil crisis or celebrating RI's true 
     ethnic diversity at one heritage celebration or another, or 
     planning a President's visit, welcoming the most needy 
     citizen in the State Room or working hour after hour during 
     the Blizzard to get food and heat to the stranded, Mary was 
     always there. She could even convince a group of angry voters 
     that I was good, even if I wasn't right!
       And I am convinced that were it not for Mary's wise counsel 
     to Lynne Ryan--she and Michael would not be raising a family 
     today. I can hear her words of advice, ``Lynne, be patient. 
     He's Irish!''
       Service to others was Mary's hallmark. An honorable 
     devoted, and selfless public servant. From her early days 
     running her own travel agency to the Heritage years and 
     nearly a decade in the Governor's Office to her airport, 
     travel and tourism time, Mary continuously served others. She 
     would say ``if you care about people, you want to service 
     them to the utmost.'' We all have a story of how Mary 
     extended herself to each of us.
[[Page S341]]

       It didn't matter who you were, if you needed help, she was 
     there. Her generosity knew no bounds.
       All of us here today are a testimony to her life. Mary was 
     as at ease with Governors, Bishops and Generals as she was 
     with the regular folk. Individually, each of us represents a 
     part of her life.
       Well Mary, you have made our lives richer--serving as a 
     teacher of how to treat people and have a passion for life. 
     You made the world better because you have passed through it.
       Although most didn't have a chance to say goodbye, every 
     time you left Mary, your heart was a little warmer because 
     you left with a piece of her heart.
       As we help Mary to her rest today--close your eyes and 
     think of how good Mary always made you feel about yourself.
       Think of how Mary made you feel as if no one else in the 
     world mattered but you.
       Think of how Mary helped to make us work harder and be 
     better than we ever thought we could be.
       Close your eyes and think of how many times Mary got you to 
     do the right thing--even when you didn't want to do it--and 
     then made you believe it was your idea all along.
       How fortunate are we, each one of us, to have been a part 
     of Mary Brennan's life. We always felt safe with Mary. We 
     knew that if anything went wrong Mary was there to fix it--to 
     insure that things worked smoothly.
       Now we are on our own. Sadness fills us today. But we are 
     better because of Mary. We have smiled more because of Mary. 
     And we will carry forward because that's what Mary would 
       And we can be happy for Mary that she is reunited with her 
     Johnny. John Brennan who Mary so cherished.
       Mike Ryan and I visited with Mary last Friday and she 
     recalled the last book that John was working on before he 
     passed away. She said she had to finish it to make the 
     collection complete. Some of you may know that during my 
     years as Governor, John Brennan painstakingly cut and 
     catalogued a newspaper history of my terms of office.
       Well John's been hard at work; cutting and cataloguing 
     Mary's good deeds, her kindness, her courage and her love for 
     her family. And John will make certain that St. Peter reads 
     every single volume.
       We love you Mary and we thank God for giving you to us.

              [From the Providence Journal, Jan. 12, 1996]

   Mary P. Brennan, Former Director of Airport Marketing, Dies at 62

       Cumberland.--Mary P. Brennan, 62, who retired last month as 
     marketing director for Green State Airport, died yesterday in 
     Rhode Island Hospital.
       Mrs. Brennan, who lived at 2 Hewes St., had been suffering 
     from breast cancer.
       She was the wife of the late John P. Brennan and the 
     daughter of Mae Partington of Cumberland and the late Willard 
       Eugene Tansey, director of the state Airport Corporation, 
     recalled on the occasion of Mrs. Brennan's retirement that it 
     often would take her 30 minutes to make her way across the 
     terminal because she would bump into so many people she knew.
       ``She knows everybody,'' Tansey remarked. ``You can hear 
     people yelling across the floor, `Mary, Mary!' ''
       Linda Fischer worked with Mrs. Brennan when the two were 
     executive aides to Gov. J. Joseph Garrahy. She recalled Mrs. 
     Brennan as a stickler for detail.
       ``You'd always turn to her and you knew exactly what you 
     asked would be done,'' Fischer said in an interview last 
     month with M. Charles Bakst, Journal-Bulletin political 
     columnist. ``There was never a time limit to the hours she 
     would put in.''
       Mike Ryan, who served Garrahy as press secretary, said Mrs. 
     Brennan always put in 150 percent of effort.
       When asked why she worked so hard for so many years, she 
     said, ``If you care about people, you want to service them to 
     the utmost.'' She said also that if ``you start something 
     right, you finish it right.''
       She said she valued loyalty above all other virtues. ``When 
     you make a commitment to someone, you keep it,'' she said.
       Garrahy said her loyalty was to public service, and people 
     came to depend upon her for that. ``She was a public 
     servant,'' the former governor said.
       Mrs. Brennan was appointed to the Greater Providence-
     Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, but her tenure there 
     fell prey to politics in November when both Mayor Vincent A. 
     Cianci Jr. of Providence and Governor Almond sought her vote 
     to break a tie in a struggle over whether Cianci or Almond 
     would control the panel.
       Mrs. Brennan was a state employee, but her brother, John J. 
     Partington, was director of public safety for Cianci. She 
     resolved the matter by resigning.
       She also leaves another brother, Bill Partington, also of 
     Cumberland, and two sons, Brian Brennan of Warwick and Sean 
     Brennan of Cumberland.
       The J.J. Duffy Funeral Home, 757 Mendon Rd., Cumberland, is 
     handling funeral arrangements, which were incomplete last 

             [From the Woonsocket, RI, Call, Jan. 12, 1996]

           Mary P. Brennan; Leader in State, Charity Concerns

       Cumberland.--Mrs. Mary P. (Partington) Brennan, 62, of 75 
     Hewes St., an executive in state positions for 25 years, died 
     yesterday in Rhode Island Hospital, Providence. She was the 
     wife of the late John P. Brennan.
       Born Sept. 24, 1933, in Cumberland, a daughter of Mary C. 
     (Hogan) Partington of Cumberland and the late Willard F. 
     Partington, she was a lifelong town resident. She graduated 
     from St. Xavier's Academy, Providence, in 1951 and the Ward 
     Finishing School, Worcester, in 1954.
       Mrs. Brennan was the marketing director for 11 years for 
     the Rhode Island Airport Corp. at T.F. Green State Airport, 
     Warwick, retiring last month.
       Before that she was a station manager for Mohawk-Allegheny 
     (USAir)--the first woman to hold that position in the 
     country--at Logan Airport, Boston, from 1954 to 1960; owner 
     of the Tradewinds Travel Agency, Providence, from 1960 to 
     1963; state coordinator of the Bicentennial celebration from 
     1971 to 1976; and an executive aide to Gov. J. Joseph Garrahy 
     until 1984.
       Mrs. Brennan recently was chairwoman of the Rhode Island 
     Infrastructure Committee of the White House Conference on 
     Travel/Tourism. She had served as chairwoman of the 
     Governor's Advisory Council on Tourism, Discover New England 
     and the Foundation for the Promotion of State Cultural 
     Heritage; vice chairwoman of the Rhode Island Heritage 
     Commission; vice president of New England USA Travel and 
     Tourism; and a member of several other tourism organizations 
     and commissions. She received the Governor's Award on Tourism 
     in 1987.
       She also contributed her time and experience to the Rhode 
     Island 350th Celebration, Tall Ships Task Force, America's 
     Cup Task Force, National and New England Governors 
     conferences, Rhode Island Historical Society, Save the Bay 
     and the January 1995 Inaugural Committee. She was president 
     of the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.
       Active in health and charity concerns, Mrs. Brennan led the 
     Catholic Charity Fund Appeal for the state in 1988 and held 
     memberships in numerous groups, including the Muscular 
     Dystrophy Association, Leukemia Society, Rhode Island Cancer 
     Coalition, Rhode Island Lung Association and Rhode Island 
     Blood Center.
       She was a member of the parish council at St. Patrick 
     Church and past president of its Women's Club. She was a 
     member of the Cumberland Crime Stoppers, Greater Providence 
     Chamber of Commerce and the Girl Scouts of Rhode Island 
     fundraising program.
       Mrs. Brennan's wide-ranging efforts were recognized with 
     many awards. In 1983 she received the Cumberland Business 
     Association's Person of the Year award, the Italian 
     Historical Society's Citizen award and the City of Newport's 
     Civitas award.
       The Papal Medal of the Cross was conferred on her in 1989, 
     and the YWCA of Rhode Island deemed her its Outstanding Woman 
     of 1995. She also has been cited by the Muscular Dystrophy 
     Association, Leukemia Society, American Association of 
     Retired Persons and the National Federation of the Blind.
       She also is survived by two sons, Brian Brennan of Warwick 
     and Sean Brennan of Cumberland; and two brothers, Providence 
     Commissioner of Public Safety and former Cumberland Police 
     Chief John J. Partington and Willard F. ``Bill'' Partington, 
     both of Cumberland.
       A Mass will be celebrated tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the 
     Cathedral of SS, Peter and Paul, Cathedral Square, 
     Providence. Burial will be in Resurrection Cemetery. 
     Arrangements are under the direction of the J.J. Duffy 
     Funeral Home, 757 Mendon Road.