Mary Ann Moran receives Spirit of Community Award

Longtime Arlington activist Mary Ann Moran (second from left) receives the Arlington Community Foundation's 2015 Spirit of Community Award from John Shooshan, Chief Judge William T. Newman Jr. and Wanda Pierce during a Nov. 12 ceremony at the Sheraton Pentagon City hotel. (Photo by Brian Trompeter)

Mary Ann Moran, a devoted community servant in Arlington who worked to improve the lives of youth across the county, died July 16 from complications related to heart and lung issues.

She was 72 years old.

“Her life was a very accomplished and distinguished life of service, particularly on behalf of children,” County Board member Christian Dorsey said in paying tribute to her memory.

After moving to Arlington with her husband Bob and their children 43 years ago, Moran was an educator and a leader in the establishment of the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families.

She also helped bring the “developmental assets” program to the county and its school system and was involved with Teen Day, Project Peace, Northern Virginia Family Service and Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN).

In 2015, Moran was honored with the Arlington Community Foundation’s William T. Newman Jr. Spirit of Community Award for her efforts on behalf of all children, especially at-risk youth.

“Community-building is the responsibility of each one of us,” Moran said at that event. “It can’t be mandated. It has to be chosen.”

“What an amazing lady,” said Wanda Pierce, then the executive director of the foundation. Moran “is small in height, but she’s a giant in Arlington in helping kids,” Pierce said at the awards luncheon.

In 2016, Moran was honored by the General Assembly, which lauded her work as a teacher, mentor, change agent and community leader, using a “gentle and unassuming nature” to achieve results. She previously had been awarded the Arlington Community Hero Award.

Moran was born Mary Ann Donovan in Newton, Mass., in 1947, growing up in a household of 12 children. While attending Trinity University in Washington, she met her future husband; they were married in December 1969 and in the late 1980s settled in Arlington.

Beyond civic leadership, Moran was described as an active reader, walker, gardener, bird-watcher and traveler. She attended Mass at the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Missionhurst in Arlington.

In addition to her husband, Moran is survived by four children and their families, as well as nine siblings.

Moran is one of a number of veteran civic leadership who have died in recent months.

“These are the people that make Arlington Arlington,” County Board Chairman Libby Garvey said. “We’re so lucky to have had them.”

A private funeral Mass for Moran was held July 24. A celebration of life is anticipated at a later date.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families Foundation (

Brian Trompeter contributed to this article.

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