COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Mourners praised Annie Glenn on Saturday as a dogged fighter for those with speech disorders, a source of support for her astronaut husband and a hero in her own right.
Glenn, wife of the late John Glenn, died May 19 at 100 of complications from COVID-19. She had been living in a nursing home near St. Paul, Minnesota, to be nearer to her daughter, Lyn.
During a virtual memorial service, son David said after his mother overcame her lifelong stutter, she struck up so many conversations it seemed she was making up for lost time.
“Through all of her life, the most prominent characteristic that my mother embodied, as far as I’m concerned, was how she loved and cared about others,” he said in a remote broadcast.
“Annie treated everyone as this amazing surprise standing in front of her,” recalled journalist Connie Schultz, who said many overlook the heroism required of her as she sent her husband into space.
The Glenns were married for 73 years at the time of John Glenn’s death in 2016. He was the first American to orbit the Earth, as well as a military hero and Democratic U.S. senator from Ohio. He often attributed his accomplishments to Annie’s strength and support.
Schultz, who contributed to the service alongside her husband, Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, said Glenn provided her tips on how to be a political spouse.
When Schultz lamented to Glenn, for example, that political consultants seemed to either see a wife as “a prop or a problem,” Glenn told Schultz: “Well, then, be a problem.”
Rev. Amy Miracle, pastor of of Broad Street Presbyterian Church, said it is difficult to imagine that such a well-lived life as Annie Glenn’s ended amid a pandemic. But she said Glenn did not really die alone.
“God was with Annie, holding her hand, whispering her name,” she said. “Where else would God be?”
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Julie Carr Smyth reports for The Associated Press.