Anne was born Nov. 10, 1939, in Indianapolis, Indiana, the older daughter of Eugene and Virginia Leedy.
At a young age, she was instilled by her family a great love of music. Anne played the piano and organ all her life and she loved to sing. After high school in Vincennes, Indiana, she attended Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Missouri, and graduated with a Bachelor of Education in 1961.
Her adventurous spirit brought her to Fort Yukon that summer to work as a volunteer for the Episcopal Church. She also met her future husband, Everett Wenrick, who also was a volunteer for the church. After a year of teaching small children in St. Charles, she and Everett were married Aug. 20, 1962, in Vincennes.
They returned to Alaska and taught in the public schools at Delta Junction and Sitka. In the summer of 1963, they toured Europe on bikes and a motor scooter.
In the fall of 1964, they moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Everett was enrolled in divinity school and Anne worked for a nonprofit organization and taught at Belmont Day School.
Though Anne was quiet and unassuming, the depth of her sense of social justice was revealed when, in 1965, she and Everett answered the call from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., to join him in the march from Selma to Montgomery to protest the lack of civil rights for blacks. They were with a small group of others from the divinity school, but the march was halted on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. After they left, the march was successful.
Two students stayed in Selma, and one of them, Jonathan Daniels, was murdered in nearby Lowndes County on Aug. 20, 1965. Anne and Everett chose to return to Selma to carry on his work. They stayed for nine months.
The couple returned to Cambridge in 1966, and in 1968, Everett graduated with a master’s degree in divinity. They returned to Alaska, where Everett was the vicar of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Seward and Anne played the organ. On Oct. 22, 1969, their first child, Jennifer, was born.
In 1974, the family moved to Fairbanks, where Everett was the director of United Campus ministry at UAF. Anne worked for the Episcopal diocese for several years and played the piano for St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in North Pole. Later, she taught at Hunter Elementary School until the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease began to confuse and disorient her. But she could still play the piano. She sang in the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival’s gospel choir with daughter Jennifer for a few years.
In the early years in Fairbanks, she enjoyed canoeing, hiking, camping and skiing with her family and friends. When her dementia became more severe, she attended Christ Lutheran Church, assisted by friends David and Karen. She was warmly received by the congregation and was able to join in the singing.
Anne was a humble person, but confident in herself before the dementia took hold. She had no need to brag or boast. She was welcoming and open to people of all stripes. They found her easy to talk with and would open up to her. Her sense of humor was shaped by a keen intellect and a deep understanding of human nature, often expressed with a wry smile. She was mostly an “in the moment” person, whether reading a story to her children, paddling a canoe, picking berries, talking to people, singing or playing the piano. She didn’t worry much about the future.
After years of caregiving by her family, she went to an assisted-living home. Her last year was at the Fairbanks Pioneers’ Home. The family wishes to thank the staff of the Homestead neighborhood for their professional and loving care of Anne. They are amazing. They were mostly responsible for resurrecting the joy of music in Anne through their sing-alongs. Though she could not read, write or speak an understandable language, they discovered that she could still sing, even harmonize and remember the words of some of the old songs.
People would gather around to listen to her fine voice. She would smile, clap her hands, hum and laugh. Those of us who knew her and loved her feel this is the way she would want to be remembered.
Anne died on Jan. 13, 2017, in the early morning, with her daughter, Jennifer, and granddaughter, Sala, at her side. She is survived by her sister, Jane; her husband, Everett; her daughters, Jennifer and Katherine; her granddaughters, Rachel, Seana and Sala; and her great-grandkids, Alani and Rio.