When Jill Secory Moore’s parents watched television, whatever came across the screen never kept her mother’s interest as much as the books, sets of papers, or other materials on a table before her.
She described her mother, Lynne Secory, as a “passionate” individual “when she got fired up about something." She said Secory was innately curious and good at “peeling back the onion” in a push to read and educate herself — seeking out others who had more experience or knowledge than herself.
“That was at her core who she was,” Secory Moore said. “So, when my father passed away, she had no idea how to work the remote control to the television. … That just wasn’t who she was. She liked a good show like anyone. It just never kept her attention like the informational reading did. That was something kind of quirky that I was thinking about the other day.”
Lynne Secory, a long-time Port Huron volunteer and local historic preservation advocate, died on Jan. 21. She was 82.
Secory was widely recognized for her volunteerism, particularly with MainStreet Port Huron, the downtown organization that supported revitalization programs.
Kristi Hazard, who was MainStreet’s program manager, said Secory was a volunteer, as well as the organization’s design chairperson. She recalled how they attended conferences around the country to learn more about the MainStreet effort and how to restore downtowns.
She said Secory would also apply those ideals working with everyone in other parts of the community, whether a city official or “the common man” who “wanted to know about his house or her house.”
“A neighborhood guy could come ask her about colors and trims and how to restore a historic property, and Lynne had all the answers. She was good, and she lived it. She gave people really good advice,” Hazard said. “And nothing was too much for her. Someone could come up to her on the busiest day and she would take time. … She did it all.”
Remembering the impact of a ‘hard woman to slow down’
Secory Moore said her mother had the right kind of energy to touch people around town, pointing to a joke with friends that “Mom was however many years old and … had more energy than all of us combined.” She said she was a “hard woman to slow down.”
Secory long-chaired Port Huron’s Historic District Commission — speaking once of historic preservation in bringing up neighborhoods, according to the Times Herald archives, and comparing a proposed loft project a decade ago as a call to “do the right thing.”
That’s a position she is still listed as holding as a state preservation society member on the city's website with a current term that ends in 2023.
Secory also volunteered with the South Park Heritage Group, Olde Town Historic District, the Port Huron Museum, and Fort Gratiot Light Station, among others.
Although Secory was of a generation of women who stayed home, Secory Moore said her mother “kind of did an end-around with all of the volunteer work" with church efforts and keeping up with countless other committees.
Secory also helped her husband Lew, who died in April 2019, with their oil company early on before eventually co-running the Victorian Inn in Port Huron for roughly 15 years.
The latter was a venture with Secory’s friend and co-owner Vicki Peterson, breathing life into the historic J.A. Davidson home with restorations over six months before opening the inn’s doors in 1984.
It was the inn and the individuals behind it, including Secory, that Jeff Payton, owner of the Vintage Tavern in downtown Port Huron, credited with much of his own success.
"Lynne Secory was an affectionate, sociable, kind soul and was like a surrogate mother to me since we were kids," he said in a message. "The Vintage Tavern would not exist without Lynne and Lew Secory and Vicki and Ed Peterson, giving me an exciting opportunity to explore and nurture a wine program and learn about specialty cocktails and upscale food service at the Victorian Inn during the '80s and '90s. Our community will certainly miss her extensive knowledge and generosity."
Downtown developer Larry Jones also recalled the role Secory played in the community.
“When I came to town, she grabbed right ahold of me and helped me with historic pictures, historic information about Port Huron,” he said. “… She was just such a unique lady and such an inspiration to me.”
Lew Secory, too, was widely recognized in town, particularly for his support of recreational sports.
Secory Moore reflected on both her parent’s impact.
“They don’t have a big wing on a building or their name anywhere in particular, but they were very generous — both of them,” she said. “They quietly helped people that would come to them and where they saw need.”
According to her obituary, services for Secory will be planned for the spring.
Contact Jackie Smith at (810) 989-6270 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Jackie20Smith.
This article originally appeared on Port Huron Times Herald: Lynne Secory, longtime 'passionate' Port Huron volunteer, dies at 82