https://www.glwd.org/blog/in-memoriam-remembering-our-volunteer-the-indomitable-ann-parker/

Ann in the God's Love kitchen

2.8.22 / Donate

In Memoriam: Remembering Our Volunteer, the Indomitable Ann Parker

Our Tuesday morning volunteer, Ann Parker, recently passed away. Devoted to God’s Love as a regular weekly volunteer for more than 20 years, Ann was also a proud member of our Legacy Society. Please read our blog post filled with memories from her shift mates here at God’s Love. 

 

Ann was completely devoted to God’s Love. Although she began volunteering over 20 years ago, her enthusiasm and dedication to the work never waned. Take a moment to join us as we reflect on Ann’s incredible life and thank her for spending countless hours with us.  

Ann in the kitchen, where she volunteered for more than 20 years

 Ann grew up in the Carolinas and went to college in Boston before moving to New York City to pursue acting. Ann worked at CBS for many years and starred in television commercials, but her goal was to make it to the Broadway stage. In the early 2000s, Ann began volunteering in the God’s Love kitchen. While working at the Brooklyn location back in December 2013, her shiftmates noticed something was off. That’s when they first found out Ann was living with a brain tumor. A month later, Ann had brain surgery. Just two weeks after her surgery, Ann was back in the kitchen. When she returned, everyone wanted to know how she was doing. She would respond: 

“’Brain surgery? That was last week. What shows have you seen? Where are you going on vacation?’ Her attitude always was: ‘That happened, and now I’m moving on.’ That was her attitude throughout the following seven years. Although she was diagnosed with lung cancer and underwent another surgery, Ann kept volunteering.

Ann with fellow volunteer and friend, Christina Nelson, at one of their regular picnic lunches

At God’s Love, Ann was known for her strength of character and fierce independence. No matter the weather, Ann was at God’s Love. “She didn’t let a little snow, rain, or freezing temperatures stop her.” On a typical day, you could find her packing out rice or veggies across from Mark Heflin. The two shared a passion for the performing arts and enjoyed connecting on all themes theater.  

Despite her health complications, Ann never lost her sense of adventure. She loved traveling and continued to find ways to visit the places she had always dreamed of. During one of her last trips, Ann went so far as to purchase a special oxygen tank that would fit on an airplane so she could visit the Amazon River with her sister-in-law, Connie. Ann applied this same tenacity to her volunteer shifts:  

“Ann was light and full of energy. She was always smiling and never complained. In her last year, Ann would have to sit down in the middle of her shift…but she always kept showing up,” friend and fellow volunteer Christina Nelson tells us. 

In January 2020, at the age of 85, Ann appeared in the lead role of the Polaris North’s production of Driving Miss Daisy. Her volunteer family and relatives from around the country came to watch her on stage. At the time, Ann had an inoperable brain tumor, but that didn’t stop her from practicing her lines and performing. 

This past December, Ann fell and was no longer able to return home. She went down to a nursing facility in Virginia where she passed away among family. In the words of her volunteer friends:  

“Ann was inspirationally independent.”
“In her third act, after retiring from television production, she started auditioning so late in life. I was super inspired by that.”
“She was such a pleasure and a classy dame.”
“I feel blessed that I got to be her friend.” 

Thank you, Ann. 

Ann volunteering in the God's Love kitchen.