Ann L Garrett was born in Ashland KY Sept 1, 1947. She was preceded by her parents, O.W. (dc 1979 while visiting us in Hawaii), and Lillian Judy (dc 2001). She would get a tough gleam in her eyes when reminding people that she was also related to Jack Dempsey, The Manassa Mauler. She was always busy, had deep friendships, prioritized her children, and adopted all of her children’s friends into her heart. She was a giver, thriving on helping and making a positive difference to others. Most of her life she wore long straight hair, no makeup, no pretenses, and brightened peoples’ days with her fresh and sincere smiles. She exuded unconditional love, was an unending source of encouragement to others, and had amazing determination when she set her mind to something. She loved growing plants and beautifying her surroundings. She exemplified “taking time to smell the roses” in so many ways, and she never lost her love of being playful. She liked singing little diddy songs, pointing out when we moaned that one day we would miss them; we do.
She was raised with and survived by her two older sisters, Sherry Fansler (Tennessee) and Diana Katherine Baisden (Indianapolis), in southern WV. Although she was proud of being a country “hillbilly,” living “up the holler,” growing much of their own food, and going barefooted all summer, she and her sisters were honor students, took ballet (we still have her toe shoes) and stayed active with extracurricular activities. She graduated from Lenore High School, then attended West Virginia University with an interest in becoming a German language translator. Her plans changed when she met Richard Garrett at university. They were married, with the service officiated by her grandfather, Julius C. Hall at Little Dove Baptist Church. They quickly had their first daughter, Dawn Garrett. Soon afterwards, her son, also Richard Garrett (she loved the name!) was born. She soon became a military wife as Richard took off (literally - he was a fighter pilot) for Vietnam as an officer in the Air Force. (Dawn used to say that Daddy was in “Beatmom.”)
Our family moved to many places from Hawaii to South Carolina. In Tennessee she was surprised to have her third child, Gretchen Garrett Casillas. Ann was the third child, born while her mother’s tubes had been previously tied. Gretchen was the third child, also born when Ann had been using birth control. It seems God had plans! While in Tennessee, mom was a Red Cross swim instructor, then decided to work full time managing the package store at the Officer’s Club, and at the same time managed the household and children while her husband was deployed for over a year and a half. Dawn remembers running across the long fields to the O-Club to show her mom the new barbie dresses she’d make. Ann formed a special relationship with her mother-in-law, Marie, who lived with the family off and on and helped out. When living in Hawaii, Ann worked at the base package store to earn “fun money,” and would do the household chores on weekdays so that the family was freed to go to the beach on weekends. She and her husband enjoyed scuba diving. (She had a yellow wet suit, and was nicknamed “chicken of the sea.” She didn’t know until later that sharks were attracted to the color yellow.) She volunteered to chaperone class trips, and chaperoned one of our His People summer choir tours at Grace United Methodist Church. At times she impressed the teenagers by doing head stands. She commented that even though she grew up Christian, and her grandfather a Baptist preacher, this was the first time she realized that God enjoyed interacting with us every day - all the time.
In the mid 1980s she began to have increasing back pain and complications. Nerve damage during one of her major back surgeries led to circulation problems in her lower extremities, which eventually led to a leg amputation and need for years of home health care for her remaining leg. She was very fortunate to have federal medical coverage all of this time. She was amazingly resilient, uncomplaining, and still interested in how others were doing. Last year, on her birthday, she was taken to the ER for a bad UTI and pain from her bed sore - which turned out to be so infected she required two surgeries. She was sent to rehab after rehab where she fought hard, worked through pain, and conquered Covid. She especially liked the teaching hospitals, encouraging the student nurses and surprising them with her medical knowledge she’d gleaned by her years of experiences being a patient. Eight months later, after getting surgery for flaps to cover stage four wounds, on the date of her discharge home, the Dr. finally decided to keep her a little longer to look into why the ulcers on her tongue wouldn’t heal, and kept her for tests. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and instead returned home on Hospice. To the end, she held onto God’s hand, believing whole-heartedly that He would make a way for things to work out.
God took her home sooner than we were ready for, but in His wisdom and timing, she was also likely spared a lot of struggle and pain from the other conditions she was fighting. When she could have died so many other times, we were given the amazing opportunity to be with her, and to say good-bye - “see you later!” It is so easy to imagine her now dancing in fields of flowers (probably doing cartwheels!), totally healed, unhindered from basking in God’s amazing love for us, ready to joyfully welcome us when our time comes.
She is survived by 6 grandchildren: Ashley Hendrix, CO; Jonathan Garrett, FL; Travis Pate, CA, (married to Taige, with stepdaughter, Harmony); Gavin Pate, Alamogordo, and Lillian Pate, Alamogordo.
The Memorial Service for Ann will be held at 3:00 pm, Monday, June 14, 2021 at Grace United Methodist Church with Reverend Kelly McCuaig officiating.
Due to the COVID Pandemic, occupancy is limited to no more than 150 people at a time. Please practice social distancing at all times and follow COVID safe practices.
The Garrett family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Alamogordo Funeral Home.
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