Anne Allison, a Massapequa resident and longtime Wantagh fourth-grade teacher whose dedication to the classroom inspired many of her students to seek careers in education, died Sunday. She was 63.
The cause was complications of pneumonia, which she developed following diagnoses of Myelodysplastic Syndrome, also known as pre-leukemia, and breast cancer, her family said.
“She’s that shining light, the most amazing teacher that you remember for the rest of your life,” Wantagh Elementary School Principal Randee Bonagura said.
Born Nov. 1, 1953, in Brooklyn, Anne “Annie” Hayes found her passion in teaching during high school, said her twin sister, Elizabeth Reilly of Tacoma, Washington. Allison volunteered as a special education summer camp counselor at Nazareth Regional High School in Brooklyn.
“That’s where I saw Annie make her decision of what Annie was going to do for the rest of her life,” Reilly said.
Allison graduated from St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn in 1975 and received her master’s from Fordham University in 1977.
She and Bill Allison, who were married July 28, 1979, had Friday date nights, she told their daughter Devon Giordano, of Massapequa Park. And Allison still got “butterflies in her stomach” when she saw Bill’s car in the driveway when she arrived home, her daughter said.
Allison started teaching at Wantagh Elementary School in 1997 and mostly taught fourth-grade students, including children who need special education, during her 20 years there.
“I can remember weekends with papers all over the dining room table and my dad saying, ‘it’s report card time,’” said her daughter, Courtney Allison, of Brooklyn.
“She was just so determined that no child would be left without the support they needed and the skills they needed to thrive,” said Bill Allison, 64, of Massapequa.
Former students have reached out to the family and the school, Bonagura said. One described her classroom as “his second home” and said “having her as a teacher was the year that changed his life.”
She was admitted to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside last week, where her husband works as chief operating officer, and tried to persuade him to attend her niece’s wedding in New Jersey on Saturday night.
“She wasn’t going to die on Saturday night, she was going to wait until the wedding was over,” Bill Allison said.
She died the next morning and, unable to speak because she was on a ventilator, wrote “love you more” to her husband on a notepad.
“She always got the last word,” Bill Allison said.
Allison was predeceased by her parents, John Hayes, a retired State Supreme Court justice and former interim borough president of Brooklyn, and Margaret Hayes, and her sister, Mary Hayes Conaty.
Other survivors include Allison’s children William, of Manhattan, and Morgan Allison of Washington, D.C.; siblings John of Orient Point, Margaret Baron of Brooklyn, Mark of Los Angeles, Jude of Warwick; and two grandsons.
Visitation is Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Massapequa Funeral Home. Mass will be said Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Rose of Lima R.C. Church in Massapequa, with interment to follow at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.
Donations can be made to South Nassau Communities Hospital with a notation “to benefit the oncology program.”