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Mary Louise Francis Cannon

April 3, 1958 ~ January 15, 2022 (age 63)


Mary Louise Francis Cannon age 63 of Trumansburg, New York, formerly of Pittsburgh, PA and Baltimore, MD. Louise passed away on January 15, 2022 at Cayuga Medical Center after a two-year battle with cancer. Louise was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the daughter of the late David Cyril Cannon and the late Mary Louise Donahoe Cannon and spent her childhood in the Fox Chapel suburb of Pittsburgh. After attending Friends School of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland, Louise moved to Oneonta, New York, where she met and fell in love with Marty Murtagh, her husband of 44 years. Louise and Marty settled on Swamp College Road, just outside of Trumansburg, New York in a beautiful old farmhouse.    

An independent and inquisitive woman, Louise was a voracious reader and a talented writer, with a special interest in poetry. After graduating with a BA degree from SUNY Empire State College, she received her MA in English Literature from SUNY Cortland, where she studied Irish literature and formed friendships with her professors, particularly Professors Robert Rhodes and Alex Gonzalez. Her favorite writers were Irish women poets, and she published a masterful critical study of the poetry of Eavan Boland and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill in the South Atlantic Review. Louise also had a very successful teaching career as a professor of writing, first at SUNY Cortland, and then at Ithaca College, where she taught for 22 years, and where she excelled at English as a Second Language instruction, forming deep bonds with her international students.

Above all, Louise was devoted to her family: her husband Marty, her three sons, Seph, Troy, and Benjamin and her grandchildren, Fina, Lily, Juniper, Quinn, and Fiona. A talented cook and a master of Christmas festivities, she loved hosting her family in the 19th century farmhouse on Swamp College Road that she and Marty spent nearly four decades patiently restoring. During summers she could be found swimming in the pond on the property, dancing to Preston Frank at the Grassroots Festival, or sharing a laugh and a bottle of wine with her wide circle of friends in the Trumansburg area. She was a great dog mom to four Golden Retrievers, Seamus, Argus, Finn, and Huck. She and Marty enjoyed traveling, particularly to the west coast of Ireland, which was one of their favorite places to visit. Later in life, she became interested in genealogy, tracing her family’s roots to the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal, Ireland’s most northernly point. Her final writing project combined her love of Ireland and family and found her delving into and transcribing an extensive family history of one Irish family line authored by her ancestor the Reverend Hugh Keenan Barr.

Louise will be sorely missed by her family and her many friends. She is survived by her husband Marty of Trumansburg, New York; her sons Seph Murtagh (Anne Byrne) of Ithaca, New York, Troy Murtagh (Jessie Murtagh) of Ashley Falls, Massachusetts, and Benjamin Murtagh (Taylor Murtagh) of Boston, Massachusetts; and her grandchildren Fina Murtagh of Trumansburg, New York, Lily and Juniper Murtagh of Ashley Falls, Massachusetts, and Quinn and Fiona Murtagh of Boston, Massachusetts.

She is also survived by her sister Denise Griffith (Bart) of Gibson Island, Maryland, and brothers David (Louise) of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Michael (Susan) of Haverford, Pennsylvania. Services will be held privately. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN  38105.

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