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Stracener remembered for kindness, genuine connections with students

MaryAnn Stracener, a former Lyon College employee who worked in the admissions and financial aid office for 16 years, died on June 20. She was 75.

Stracener was born on Sept. 11, 1944, in Belen, N.M., to Jacobo and Maria Sallas Moya. In addition to working at Lyon, she worked for several years at the Citizens Bank in Batesville and was the former Recorder/Treasurer for the City of Pleasant Plains. She was a member of St. Albert’s Catholic Church in Heber Springs.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Norman Thomas Stracener; and a sister, Suzann Baca. She is survived by her daughter, Jacqueline Stracener, of Batesville; her granddaughter, Megan Bristov; several nieces and nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.

Alumni remember Stracener for her kind spirit and the genuine connections she made with students.

Heather (Ericson) Terrell, ’96, said Stracener was the reason she went to Lyon. Terrell had been planning on attending a larger state school but fell in love with Lyon after visiting the campus with a friend.

“My mom preferred that I go to the larger school but promised to look into Lyon,” she said. 

Terrell’s mother called the school, and Stracener picked up.

“My mom said, ‘Yes, this is Kay Ericson’ and, before she could say more, MaryAnn interrupted her with ‘Oh! You must be Heather’s mother!’”

Terrell continued, “My mom immediately changed her mind and fell in love with the idea that I could attend college and be more than just a number. She knew if someone knew who I was after just an application and a preview day that I would definitely be looked after once I was a student.”

Terrell said she will always be grateful for Stracener because Lyon College is one of the best things that has ever happened to her.

“MaryAnn Stracener was the best of the best, truly one of the kindest people I’ve ever known,” said Brad Austin, ’94. “Her welcoming presence in the Admission Office helped convince me, and surely many others, to come to Batesville.”

“MaryAnn was one of my favorite people ever,” said Amy Crouch Howard, ’99. “She gave the best hugs and had the biggest smile.” 

“She was always a joy to be around,” said Chris Treat, ’04, “and I will never forget how much she loved the students and faculty at Lyon.”