Marriage & Life Partners · Relationships & Dating

A First-Time Bride at 75: Ann and Jerry’s Romance

wvfc ann image kissing i8ss8hIMG_114056038602093-1(Photo: Brian Kent)

In 1990, after three years as Superintendent of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, in Louisiana, Ann got her dream job—as the Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Museum, host to 4 million visitors a year.

What does a National Park superintendent do?

“Being superintendent is like being the mayor of a city,” she says. “You’re responsible for law enforcement/police, maintenance, visitor services (interpreting the park, exhibits), budget and all other administrative needs of the park, contracts with concessionaires, overseeing the park rangers supervisory staff, defusing crises, and liaison with the government, communities, and civic organizations about problems and plans.”

A difficult and stressful job, but also glamorous: See, for example, the video of Ann’s charming speech,—sparkling with personality—describing what it was like to host an unexpected visit by Nelson Mandela. Then there was the time Ann was asked to make a 24-hour round trip to Russia in a private plane with Governor Mario Cuomo. He was going there to receive the torch for the Goodwill Games, which were coming to New York. (“He received the torch, we went to the official dinner, he gave his regards, and we got back on the plane.”) And the time she went to Ireland as the guest of that country to unveil a statue along with President Mary Robinson. Not to mention that trip to Paris as the guest of the French government, which included a tour of the Louvre, the D’Orsay Museum, and Versailles. (She admits to being particularly lonely on that trip, not having a mate to share her privileged experience.)

New York was Ann’s element; she immersed herself in the city’s cultural activities. “Marty Segal, chairman emeritus of Lincoln Center, and his wife sort of adopted me and exposed me to New York City’s sophisticated life,” she says. The first time she ever went to Carnegie Hall was to a concert celebrating Cole Porter’s 100th birthday. She had the privilege of sitting in the center box with the Segals and Avery Fisher and his wife.

“Life,” she acknowledges “got better and better—even after I retired.” She did that in 1996 after a 36-year career with the government. She had been going with a tall, dark, handsome, retired New York City attorney. She moved with him to Park City, Utah. At 56, learned to ski, and “built a house and a life with him. But he was a prince who turned out to be a toad.” So after four years she broke off the relationship and moved back to her home town, Washington D.C. Several years later, on a blind date, she met Jerry. She was 65.

“Jerry had retired and had just come back from three years working in Egypt. We met at 2 in the afternoon for a drink, and we talked until 8 o’clock that night. We’ve been together ever since. He was dating somebody else at that time, and he kept that up for maybe a month. Then he decided. He said his choice was not which one he loved the most, but which one he’d miss the most.”

They connected right away. They had both traveled extensively, and Ann was delighted with Jerry’s unusual background: running a pig farm in Venezuela (“not a traditional life for a Jewish boy from Brooklyn”), working for CARE and ACDI/VOCA and living in India, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Colombia, Belize, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Egypt and running in marathons all over the world.

“There’s a differentness in both of us,” Ann says. “We’re both not very mature, both down to earth and venturesome; we’ll try anything.” In the 10 years they’ve been together, they’ve traveled to 15 countries.

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  • Elisa Rodriguez November 20, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Wow! Thaºs really a nice story!

    Reply
  • Emrah November 18, 2015 at 11:26 am

    believe in love and trust it! So magic story can happen to everyone.

    Reply
  • Barbara Hammond October 22, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    What a fabulous story! Thanks for sharing.
    b

    Reply
  • Norma Nelson October 1, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    ……….and they lived happily ever after.
    Loved their story…………

    Reply
  • TJBattle September 29, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Ah, a great life.

    Reply
  • hillsmom September 26, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    What a truly touching story. Love it!

    Reply
  • Ana Palacio September 25, 2015 at 11:09 am

    I love and enjoy this story so much!!!

    Reply