Margaret Loy Fanok, 101, formerly of Upper Darby, a retired administrator for the University of Pennsylvania's geology department, died Monday, April 30, of complications from an earlier stroke at Harlee Manor in Springfield, Delaware County.

Margaret Loy Fanok on her 100th birthday.
Courtesy of the family
Margaret Loy Fanok on her 100th birthday.

She had lived in Springfield for the last 16 years.

Born Margaret Loy Snyder in Herndon, a borough in Central Pennsylvania, in 1917, Mrs. Fanok was a self-described "tough country girl," her family said. She was educated in a one-room schoolhouse and enjoyed roaming the woods and fields near the banks of the Lehigh River. She was one of seven children and lived the longest.

Before her marriage to Nicholas Fanok in 1944, Mrs. Fanok was a stenographer for the FBI in Philadelphia. She and her husband had four daughters whom they raised in Upper Darby.

While her children were still young, she reentered the work force as a secretary for New Life United Methodist Church on Sellers Avenue in Upper Darby. In 1967, she moved to Penn, where she worked as an administrator for the department of geology.

Mrs. Fanok regarded the professors and students as a second family. She retired after several decades of full-time work, but continued to work part-time for the university into her early 80s.

Mrs. Fanok was a longtime member of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, where she volunteered as an assistant for the senior adults group. She was a lifelong member of the Order of the Eastern Star, serving as worthy matron. The order is a Masonic body open to men and women.

Her daughter Linda Dauberman described her mother as a person who acted as a touchstone for others.

"She provided all those around her with genuinely positive support, and demonstrated how to handle adversity with grace," Dauberman said.

Mrs. Fanok enjoyed gardening and cooking. She surrounded herself with bouquets of homegrown flowers from the backyard. Her homemade pies and pierogi were delectable, her daughter said.

"She learned that from our Ukrainian grandmother," Dauberman said. "It was very labor-intensive, but somehow she found time in her busy day to get the job done."

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by daughters Nancy Scanlon and Janice Williams; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Mrs. Fanok's husband died in 1992. Her eldest daughter, Carol Seeburger, died in 2016.

A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, May 19, in the chapel at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Ave. Burial is private.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, Tenn. 38148.