Ann McGovern, 11/25/1932 – 9/11/2001
Reposting on the 10th Anniversary.
This is the first year I am participating in Project 2996 which I discovered through my friend, Sarah. Dale Coe, the founder of the project, brings bloggers and the victims of September 11 together with the purpose of remembering and honoring those innocents who so tragically lost their lives that horrific day. Some bloggers choose those whom they wish to honor and others, like me, are assigned a name randomly. That is how I came to know of Ann McGovern.
Coming to this project a little late did not give me as much time as I’d have liked to learn about Ann. A few google searches in I learned of her daughter, Terry, and contemplated contacting her via email. I decided not to because, though I have the best of intentions in honoring Ann, I did not want to intrude upon her daughter’s grief. I can only imagine how much more palpable that grief must be in the days leading up to the anniversary of her mother’s death. Still, I will forward this tribute to Terry and hope that by doing so she, and others touched by Ann, will find the smallest bit of solace in my remembrance.
It is not the death of Ann McGovern that I want to focus on for how she died is not her legacy. Her legacy rests in those she left behind, in the lives she touched directly or indirectly. To paint a portrait of Ann I am relying on the voices of those who knew her best, her friends and family as well as some strangers, as documented in a handful of articles via the NY Times, CNN, and on Ann’s Legacy tribute page.
Ann McGovern, born Ann Walsh in the Bronx on November 25, 1932, was a Vice President for AON Corporation on the 93rd floor of 2 World Trade Center (the South tower.) She was wife to Larry; mother to Theresa (Terry) McGovern, Elizabeth (Liz) McGovern and Larry McGovern; grandmother to Liam, the “light of her life,” who was only 7 weeks old at the time of his grandmother’s death.
A childhood friend, Catherine (Connolly) Tighe writes: “My memories go back to 1950 at Tolentine HS in the Bronx. Your Mother, then Ann Walsh, was a fun loving basketball player, who always had a smile on her face.”
Ann was also an avid golfer. “We first met Annie at the Hamlet Windwatch Golf Club some three years ago. She randomly filled in one Saturday morning when we had a vacancy in our foursome. Both she and we had a delightful time, so much so that we invited her to play with our group whenever one of our foursome was absent. Her view of golf – have a good time and don’t be ultra serious – matched our own.” (Bob Stearns, Hal Juman, Harvey Kaplan, Mort Glick)
She was a teacher, in more ways than one.
From Stephanie Zaktzer: “I never knew Ann personally, but my mom always told my sister and I stories about her. Through college applications, to finally my entrance into medical school Ann would always correct my essays. She did not owe me anything, but by doing this it made my mom’s life easier (not hearing me complain about my grammar and spelling) and this only showed how giving she was. She helped me, a person she did not even know, just because she loved my mom so much.”
From a coworker, Eliane Ruokonen: “You [Ann] always had an excitment about you. You always pushed me to do more. Thank you.”
Another coworker, Bob Taylor, remembers Ann’s sense of humor: “I worked with Ann at A&A and AON, and had the privilege of sitting next to her for several of those years. She was crazy, and that craziness helped us through the work days. I remember at my wedding, Ann crawling under the table to take a picture of my feet, as she knew that I had taken my shoes off and put on a pair of sneakers, and she wanted to make sure that there was a picture of it so everyone else knew, too.”
There are other things- the bits of minutiae that make up all our lives- that I wonder about Ann. What kind of music did she like? What kind of books did she read? Did she like poetry? What was her favorite food, color, ice cream, movie? Did she like to dance? Sing? Did she like to travel? Mets or Yankees? Jets or Giants?
While these tidbits would help me form a more complete picture of who Ann McGovern was, these things I know are true: she was a loving mother who taught her children well; a doting grandmother; a giving coworker; a lover of life who didn’t take things too seriously. She was a strong Irishwoman with a quick wit, warm smile, generosity of spirit and an enviable vivaciousness for life.
How lucky those are to have known her, to have been blessed by her life force in ways small and large. How deeply she is loved and missed.
Today, on the 8th anniversary of 9/11 I remember Ann McGovern and her life well-lived. To her family and friends, it has been a joy and privilege to glimpse her life and honor her memory. I offer you my deepest, most heartfelt condolences.
A Reminiscence by Anne Bronte
YES, thou art gone! and never more
Thy sunny smile shall gladden me;
But I may pass the old church door,
And pace the floor that covers thee.
May stand upon the cold, damp stone,
And think that, frozen, lies below
The lightest heart that I have known,
The kindest I shall ever know.
Yet, though I cannot see thee more,
‘Tis still a comfort to have seen;
And though thy transient life is o’er,
‘Tis sweet to think that thou hast been;
To think a soul so near divine,
Within a form so angel fair,
United to a heart like thine,
Has gladdened once our humble sphere.