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Mary Ann Hogan lived a life of purpose

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For the community of Brooksville, Mary Ann Hogan was more than a community leader. She was, and is, a community institution. Mary Ann Hogan passed away on June 4, 2021. She was 90 years old.

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She was a member and chairperson of the Hernando County School Board. A member of the Junior Service League of Brooksville. A newspaper columnist for the Sun Journal, writing the popular column in the 1960’s called “Shifting Sand with Mary Ann.”  She served on the Board of Directors for the Salvation Army, the Board of Governors of Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), the Board of Directors of Brooksville’s Historical Museum and served as a member of the Hernando Chamber of Commerce.

Hogan even finds herself represented in a major sampling of Hernando-based artwork, A Fifties Drug Store. Mary Ann Hogan is featured prominently in a mural painted by artist Chad Leininger and located at Hogan’s Law Firm, 20 Broad St., Brooksville. Portrayed in the mural is Hogan’s Drug Store, a longstanding community business owned by Tom and Mary Ann Hogan. Hogan’s Drug Store was a fixture of the community until its sale in 2003.

“Artist Chad Leininger painted his family members in the mural. Sister Lisa is on the right in green with her son Harrison,” reads the mural description on the Hernando Fine Arts Council Website. “His other sister, Amy, is working behind the counter on the left side serving a drink. Tom Hogan, Sr. is the pharmacist (pictured with glasses) behind the counter on the right with his wife, Mary Ann.”

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Beyond her many accomplishments, who was Mary Ann Hogan? Well for one thing, her family represents a vital component of early Brooksville history, says a press release prepared by Charlene F. Kuhn, Public Information Officer of the City of Brooksville. Mary Ann Lanier was born on April 28, 1932, to Naomi Tracy Lanier and Thomas Jones Lanier. The Laniers first came to Brooksville in the mid-1800’s.

Mary Ann Lanier met Thomas Sheridan Hogan in 1947; they married in 1951. Hogan served as a USMC Corporal; following his active duty in the Marine Corps, they moved to Gainesville, where Sheridan graduated from the University of Florida in 1955. That same year, they moved their family to Brooksville and purchased what was to become Hogan’s Drug Store.

“Mary Ann Hogan personified the concept of the compassionate conservative,” said Blake Bell, Brooksville City Council. On June 21, 2021, during a regular Council Meeting, the Brooksville City Council honored the life of Mary Ann Hogan. “She was kind to everyone, and always did what she felt was best for the city of Brooksville.” And what was best for the children of the community, including her own. She is survived by her husband, Sheridan, and by two of their 4 children: Thomas S. “Dan” Hogan, Jr., (Debbie), Marinda “Mindy” Ann  Brandhuber (Tom). Two children preceded her in death, Jeffrey Hogan (at childbirth) and Laurie Ellen Hogan Locke who passed away in 2011.

“Family was always Mary Ann’s primary concern,” read a press release prepared by Charlene F. Kuhn. “But she also believed in the importance of community involvement and education.” A scholar herself (In 1967, Hogan returned to college and graduated in 1970 from USF magna cum laude in political science), she always believed first and foremost in the power of education. “She believed that the local school board should be the governing body of the school system,” Bell agreed.

And her service to the community, says Morris Porton, executive director of the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce, was invaluable. “She was such an asset to Hernando County,” said Porton. Porton also notes that, personally and politically, Hogan represented the epitome of fairness. She was a founding member of Strong Active Republicans (STARS), was at various times Director and Secretary of Conservative Elephant Club, and she and her husband served as Florida Republican State Committee Members for many years.

“She was above board politically,” said Porton. “She would say how she felt, but she would justify it.” And she tempered these views with infinite kindness. “I knew Mrs. Hogan personally and she was one of the kindest people,” said Lori Manuel, Administrative Coordinator of Board and Executive Services (BKV-4-EXE) at the Southwest Florida Water Management District. “She served on the Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board from June 1987 until March 1, 1991.”

Ultimately, and in all phases of life and living, Mary Ann Hogan lived a life of purpose. “An unwavering faith in Jesus Christ as her Savior, her beliefs also aligned with the ideals  of conservatism, capitalism and a deep love of country,” said Charlene F. Kuhn. “She worked hard to strengthen and improve Brooksville, but nothing was more important than her faith and her family.”

“She was a dignified lady,” summarized Morris Porton.

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