Marianne Fannin, wife of Tom and daughter-in-law of former Arizona Governor and United States Senator Paul Fannin, passed away March 5, 2011, in Phoenix.
She was born in Providence, Ky., on May 28, 1933, to Oliver Kerney and Gwendolyn (Kemp) Benjamin.
By 1937, her family had transplanted to Phoenix, living two doors away from the boy who would one day become her husband. Tom and Marianne both attended Kenilworth Elementary; he was a junior at North High when she entered the freshman class. But it wasn't until she enrolled at Stephens College and the break between her freshman and sophomore year coincided with Tom's discharge from the Air Force that they began the relationship that eventually led to their 1953 marriage at St. Francis Xavier Church.
The couple had two daughters, Mary Todd and Tamara, and enjoyed a lifetime partnership of public service to the city and state they loved. Marianne's personality was a magnet, and she developed friendships as diverse as her interests.
She was passionate about every project and endeavor she embraced. She was one of the "Goldwater Girls" when Barry Goldwater ran for president in 1964, chaired St. Joseph's Hospital Auxiliary in 1969, served as the 1972 Heart Ball chair, co-chaired the Citizens Transportation Committee in 1979, was one of the founders of the Republic National Bank of Arizona and served as the first board chair from 1985 through 1993, served on the board of the Phoenix Industrial Development Authority from 1982 to 1989 and chaired the Maricopa Community College Foundation in 1985. She was a driving force in launching the foundation's first major campaign to raise funds for student scholarships, hitting $6.25 million.
Marianne became a student again in the late '80s when she completed a degree in chemical-dependency treatment at Rio Salado Community College and used that experience to become a full-time counselor at The Salvation Army Recovery Center.