Annie Glenn, widow of famed astronaut John Glenn, dies at age 100 of COVID-19 complications


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH/AP) – Annie Glenn, advocate for people with disabilities and wife of 73 years to former Ohio Senator and astronaut John Glenn has died at age 100, a spokesperson with the John Glenn College of Public Affairs confirmed.

She died Tuesday at a nursing home near St. Paul, Minn., of complications from COVID-19, said Hank Wilson, a spokesman for the Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered that U.S. and Ohio flags be flown at half-staff at all public buildings and grounds throughout Muskingum County and at the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center, and Rhodes Tower on Tuesday through sunset to “honor her tremendous life of service.”

“Our Ohio State community joins the entire nation in mourning the loss of Annie Glenn, a wonderful person, courageous spirit and deeply devoted citizen, mother, grandmother and loving friend,” Ohio State President Michael V. Drake said in a statement.

Ahead of her 100th birthday earlier this year, a spokesperson for the Glenn family said she was “appreciative of the continued affection and interest toward her.”

In 2015 Ohio State renamed a stretch of avenue on campus “Annie & John Glenn Avenue” in recognition of their service and commitment to the university.

Annie Glenn was born in Ohio on Feb. 17, 1920. She was by the side of her beloved husband, John Glenn, from infancy until his death in 2016.

Their parents were best friends, and the pair met in a playpen as infants.

PHOTOS: Remembering American Hero John Glenn

John Glenn said there was never a time when he did not love Annie, and years later when World War II delayed their wedding, he told her he was just stepping out for a pack of gum.

“You know, I don’t know how that popped into my mind. When I was leaving, and it was a pretty sad time of course, I told Annie, ‘Don’t worry about it. I’m just going to run down and get a pack of gum, and I’ll be back shortly.’ Every time I had to leave to do something then after that, whether it was in the Korean War or later on or in the astronaut program, it got to be regular. It sounds rather funny and peculiar,” Glenn said.

John Glenn said he eventually brought Annie that pack of gum, and said then, “I think to this day, she carries a little gum wrapper in her wallet.”

The John Glenn College of Public Affairs says a virtual memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 6, 2020, at 11 a.m. More details will be announced once they are finalized.

She is survived by her two children, David and Lyn.

Ohioans react to Annie Glenn’s death

Fran and I were saddened to learn of the death of Annie Glenn.  She was always kind and gracious to us whenever we saw her.
This is a very sad day for all Ohioans. Annie Glenn was certainly our most most beloved Ohioan.   She represented all that is good about our country.
And, it is impossible to imagine John Glenn without Annie, and Annie without John. They grew up together and their life-long love story was inspiring to us all.   

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

Ohio lost a great treasure today in Annie Glenn. Annie stood strong for what she believed in and was a tireless advocate for those who needed a voice. She and John are Ohio-born heroes who we will never forget. Tina and I will have the entire Glenn family in our prayers today.

Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted

I am deeply saddened by the passing of my dear friend, Annie Glenn, devoted wife and mother, role model, and dedicated advocate for the disability community. She will always be known as the drive behind her beloved John and a shero in her own right who gave us more than a legacy, but 100 years of ‘live-acy.’ A woman of courage, Annie will be greatly missed by all those who had the honor of knowing her. My prayers are with her children, David and Carolyn, and the entire family.

U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03)

Annie Glenn may be best known as John’s wife —but she was enormously accomplished in her own right. A gifted musician who turned down a scholarship at Julliard to marry her childhood sweetheart, she not only overcame a severe stutter, but later became a fierce champion and eloquent spokesperson for those who suffer from speech impediments.   Annie and John met in New Concord when they were literally toddlers —and their 73 marriage was the stuff of fairy tales and one of the great love stories of all time.  For those who knew and loved them, it simply wasn’t possible to think of one without the other.   During WW II, the Korean war and two flights into outer space, Annie patiently waited for her John to come home.   Since December of 2016, John’s been patiently waiting for his Annie.  Today, they’re both where they always wanted to be: together  —for all eternity.  God speed, Annie Glenn.

Dale Butland, former Press Secretary, Chief Speechwriter and Ohio Chief of Staff to Sen. John Glenn

Ohioans are mourning the loss of Annie Glenn. Annie and John Glenn were true partners and together for every step of their historic journey. Since the first day I met them, I never once saw them apart. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Glenn family.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper

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