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by Maureen O'Donnell, Chicago Sun Times

In 23 years as a spokeswoman for American Airlines, Mary Frances Fagan handled questions about weather delays, bumpy landings, crashes, close calls, labor strikes and bankruptcy, not to mention an airport terminal with a flea infestation and the time a suitcase with a buzzing electric razor inside created a three-hour flight delay.

Reporters respected her. She called them back promptly and was always available for a quote or a “live shot” on TV.

She connected people from Champaign, where she grew up; her alma mater, the University of Illinois; the campus radio station where she worked, WPGU 107.1; and the Illinois Statehouse, where she was a radio reporter. Later, she served as an assistant press secretary for Governors Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar.

Ms. Fagan, 63, died Sunday in hospice care at Rush University Medical Center of complications from a brain tumor. Her illness, she wrote, was discovered a year ago after a seizure that left her feeling “like Dorothy waking in her bed after the twister in the Wizard of Oz.”

Read the fulll story here.

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