The much-missed Ann Louise Hagen passed away on Sunday, July 27 in Anacortes, Wash. after a brave battle with pneumonia. She was 86 years old.
True to her carpe diem outlook on life, she fully embraced every one of those 86 years.
Ann was born on Sept. 20, 1927 to Archangello and Carolina Antoniolli of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ann was a mischievous and precocious child who grew into a sophisticated and intelligent young woman.
In an era when it was still unusual for women to attain advanced degrees, Ann received both a B.A. in science from the Milwaukee state teachers college and later an interior decorator’s license from a Chicago-based community college.
While she was still in school, Ann became friends with a young man named John Hagen. While John initially told Ann that he could be the brother she never had, she promptly replied that she didn’t want him to be her brother. Not long after, the pair was married.
John worked for Lewis Allis and later formed his own company, Traco City Engineering. Due to John’s work, Ann lived in a variety of cities such as Menasha, WI, Kansas, MO, and Inverness, IL. During this time, Ann raised a beautiful family of four: Barbara, Thomas, James, and Steven. Later, Ann started an interior design company called La Balena, The Whale.
In 1987, Ann and her husband retired to picturesque Orcas Island in Wash., where their daughter Barbara, and grandson, Sasha, live.
Ann’s four children and 13 grandchildren loved to visit her there and to share in her myriad of interests which included music, art, literature, athletics, entertaining, and cooking.
One of her most cherished traditions was to cook an elaborate new recipe every week and to test it out on the many friends and family members whom she so loved to entertain.
Ann loved fine dining as well, particularly at Roses and Sazio in Eastsound, and was a regular at the farmer’s market.
Ann was also a fitness fiend. She was an impressive tennis player, runner, and skier. Until her early 80s, she could still speed walk five miles from her remote coastal home to retrieve her mail at the town post office.
Furthermore, Ann remained a patron and enthusiast of the arts throughout her life and liked nothing so much as to attend every concert and theater event of the season, especially the Chamber Music Festival.
She was also an avid member of three different book clubs, and sang beautifully and often, particularly as a member of the St. Francis Catholic Church.
While we all deeply mourn the passing of such a remarkable woman, Ann would want us to seize the day as she did, rather than fixate on yesterday.
A memorial service for the community will be held at St. Francis Catholic Church on Friday, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m. Everyone is invited.