Marriage & Life Partners · Relationships & Dating

December Romance: The Story of Ann and Jerry

 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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  • george detsis April 19, 2020 at 11:34 am

    I met Ann 43 yrs. ago while working for her at GGNRA. She is a great lady; kind, compassionate and caring for all her employees. Having graduated from the U. of MD. and traveling across country, Ann was the first person I saw in San Francisco. She put me up for a couple of nights before I started my seasonal assignment working on Hill 88 with underprivileged youth. Many years later, we stopped off at Fort Oglethorpe and later Ellis Island for brief visits with my family. Wishing Ann and Jerry happiness and good health.

    Reply
  • hillsmom February 16, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    A wonderful story. I’ve 3 friends of quite an age who have recently remarried after being widowed. Two actually married men they had known in high school, and the third a widower she met in church. How lovely to find someone to share the rest of your days with.

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  • Bernadette Kleinman February 15, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    What a beautiful story. Quite inspirational. I suppose there is still hope to meet someone to share life adventures with.

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  • Susanna Gaertner February 15, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Zenobia, ditto on all counts!

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  • Zenobia February 14, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    i just want to say this is a beautiful love story…just in time for Valentine’s Day and there is so much hope and determination here! Thanks for sharing…I am sixty seven…so I shall not give up!

    Reply
  • Susanna Gaertner February 12, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    …I’d also like the answer to that question! Please let me know if you find it…….

    Reply
  • Nora Brossard February 12, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    I loved the story, and they are a gorgeous couple. She’s got quite a figure in that dress. I love the way they’ve figured out how to live, and that they don’t have to be in each other’s pockets all the time. How can I find someone like Jerry?

    Reply
  • Andrea February 12, 2015 at 8:28 am

    Truly a love story. Ann did it her way. Wonderful. Wishing them all the best

    Reply
  • Caryl Avery February 11, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Sweet article. And I bet Ann’s arms look as great as the rest of her! Debbie always knocks ’em out of the park–this time out of the National Park.

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  • Susanna Gaertner February 10, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    The very best possible Valentine’s Day story for all the middle- and old-oldies who do not have partners: there is hope yet!!!!
    I agree with Toni: amazing to start a new chapter at 75, though in a sense it’s “just” the continuation of all that this lovely couple has already worked out for themselves.
    And don’t they both look superb! So pretty, so handsome…….

    Reply
  • ellen sue spicer-jacobson February 10, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Mazel tov!!!

    Reply
  • SISSY February 10, 2015 at 11:38 am

    OHHH, WHAT A LOVELY STORY !
    WISH THEM BOTH WELL

    Reply
  • Toni Myers February 10, 2015 at 11:37 am

    A brilliant life. The bride makes it all seem easy. yet she has worked hard for all the luck she speaks of.
    Amazing to start a new chapter at 75, I tip my hat to Ann.

    Reply