In Memory

Ann Kathleen McKay

Ann Kathleen McKay

Backpacking Point Reyes 1976
Backpacking Point Reyes - 1976

Marrying Classmate Tom Moore - 1976

Honeymoon in San Francisco - 1976

Creative Genious in the Kitchen

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03/17/09 10:28 PM #1    

Carol Lynn Wyckoff

I'm so sorry to learn that Ann is gone. I found my yearbook today and here is the note Ann wrote in it: lynn
hello and day. having wandered the way in time. wind shaking the trees. the wandering wind. blowing through time, softly across the quietened world. the world of night soft silent night. having walked this far, i find i have to walk a longer path than before, it seems so endlessly long and winding through the hills and valleys,as for i shall walk forever the days. laughter will shine the day into golden-ness, we shall all become into one, and time is forever. such is the time of today and tomorrow.
and as love is,

08/07/09 09:07 AM #2    

Thomas E. Moore

In early 1973 Ann called me out of the blue to say she was going into surgery. Months earlier, she had been headed to Europe, driving across the country with friends for an east coast flight and ended up in a car crash somewhere in remote Utah. Although evidently unhurt, she had suffered a fracture in her neck that was not diagnosed for months. Ann had been a hallway friend in high school who I noticed for her arty, joyful style, but we had never dated. I offered to visit her in the hospital after her surgery and that led to us dating even while she was still in a body cast. We traded letters back and forth as I finished college in Santa Barbara, and began to live together in Petaluma afterward. She was going to Sonoma State in the Expressive Arts program, which was kind of a wild program that could only be found at Sonoma in the 1970’s. Among other things, it included a department-wide skinny-dipping party we joined at a ranch high on Mount Sonoma. While at Sonoma State, she decided that she wanted to be called Ann Kathleen and was known by that by name by everyone afterward. I, however, was never able to make the change. When she graduated in 1975 she joined me in San Diego where I had began graduate school in late 1974. After I finished my degree in San Diego in 1976, we were married in a backyard ceremony in Napa.
While I knew her, Ann Kathleen was an artist in search of a medium. She was prolific at journaling and wrote many dreamy poems that filled the letters she sent to me. While in San Diego, I urged her to work toward publishing her poetry and helped her mimeograph a collection that she distributed to friends. She also painted a number of swirling Georgia O’Keefe-like paintings using acrylic paints. She even was commissioned to paint the fuel tank of a motorcycle. We had some great times, with backpacking and biking trips in the Sierra Nevada, backpacking trips at Point Reyes, and trips to Hawaii and Baja California. I remember her making tortillas with a young Latina girl at a rancho in Mexico. Neither spoke each other’s language but both had a fabulous time laughingly describing their misshapen tortillas as “Baja California”. Throughout our time together, she encouraged me to pursue my artistic side which, led me to do some paintings and other artistic endeavors. Although I learned that I had little talent at these things, I had some successes that later helped me to become more creative in my science career. Ann Kathleen was also a terrific cook and prepared wonderful meals for the many joyful dinner parties we had. She had a special talent at creating on the fly tasteful, attractive, elegant meals out of kitchens that had virtually nothing in the pantry. I still find myself trying to match her efficiency in the kitchen by washing dishes as I cook so that everything is clean before dinner.
I was devastated when she decided to end our marriage in 1979 after I entered Stanford University, but in hindsight I can see that she was going places I couldn’t go and at a pace I couldn’t match. She got a job cooking at one of the dining halls at Stanford and some time later called and thanked me for encouraging her to pursue her artistic passions. She had found her calling and was attending the Culinary Institute in San Francisco, and clearly was enjoying it. That was the last time I spoke to her. I understand that she worked as a pastry chef in St. Helena after completing her program at the Culinary Institute and also had a son. Later, I heard that she had contracted breast cancer, but had no idea it was as serious at it would turn out to be. She died in 1987 or 1988, I think.
In view of her rather blank web page, I decided to write this note as a way of keeping Ann Kathleen’s memory alive. It is strange reflecting back on a long-ago friend, love, and wife from a vantage point of more than 30 years, almost like remembering a deep dream—was it real?. Although I long ago moved on, I feel an obligation as her once confidant and love to bring her to life on her own webpage as much as possible. I suspect that she would have preferred and thoroughly enjoyed filling it herself! Because there is not even a high school picture of her available, I am also posting several photos of her with this message. Although the tree has grown strong and tall, one can still see the mark of its fallen companion by the bend in its trunk and sparseness of its branches on one side. Ann Kathleen, you are not forgotten.

08/08/09 04:37 PM #3    

Patricia Ackerman

Ann was my neighbor during High School. She was my first friend when I moved to Napa from Minnesota. We had a lot of fun hiking, laughing, having seances, and making memories. I'm better for having known her.

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