Obituary of Ann M. Hitchcock
(1930 - 2023) Ann M. Hitchcock January 29, 2023 Surry, Maine
After a long life with many creative pursuits and dedicated always to her home and family, Ann Virginia Milne Hitchcock, 92, died peacefully early the morning of January 29 in Surry, Maine, in the care of her daughter Jan.
Born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts on April 5, 1930, the youngest of four children of George M. and Helen E. (Wood) Milne, Ann graduated early from Pittsfield High School in 1947, a spirited beauty with a very quick mind. After high school employment (and many good memories) at Gold Shop Jewelry and Record and the Colonial Theater, she worked at the Berkshire Eagle, selling classified ads and learning the bookkeeping skills she used in varied ventures in the decades to come.
She met her husband-to-be, John Cleveland Hitchcock, through her sister, who had married John’s older brother. She recalled at the celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary, how, as a young teenager, lounging casually in a living room chair when John first visited in his Army uniform at her parents’ house, she decided that he was worth standing up for.
Several years later, returning to Massachusetts from a trip to Europe Spring 1948, John’s first stop was to find Ann, then 18. They were married that September, commencing life together in Williams College’s barracks for married students. Upon John’s graduation in 1950, they set off for an adventure of several years of cross-country travel to Idaho, Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Hampshire, then settling back in Berkshire County, primarily Williamstown.
Her sharp intelligence and creativity was expressed and developed in numerous ways, including twice winning a 1950s TV “helpful household hints” contest; through her complex and beautiful sewing, knitting and other needlework projects, including as costume mistress for the Williams College Cap and Bells theatre; summer employment as the Information Lady at the Field Park Williamstown tourist booth; several years service as Nutrition Site Director at the Harper Center; eclectic reading, killer-level skills at Scrabble and Words with Friends; and, starting in her late 50s, immersion in the world of antiques and collectibles. In that latter context, she had a store on Water Street in the 1980s, Ann Hitchcock Crafts and Collectibles, later selling through a series of local group antique centers and online, beginning during eBay’s early years.
Deeply affected by growing up during the Depression, she took particular satisfaction in resourcefully and aesthetically creating a home for herself and her family. During most of her 80s, her energy and problem-solving skills were invested in the care of her husband, including what she called her “mission” of keeping him at home as long as possible, which she did. She maintained her independent spirit, keen mind, and wit to the end of her life, as well as sparkling eyes, well-chosen clothing outfits, and a collection of local restaurant menus that she intently studied for lunch visits or take-out orders.
She is survived by three daughters, Jan Hitchcock and husband Ron Poitras, of Surry Maine; Sally Kimball and husband Howard, of Hinesburg Vermont; and Amy Hitchcock and husband Glen Hawkins, of Jamaica Plain Massachusetts; three grandchildren, Colin and Lindsay Kimball, and Helen May Hawkins; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband John in 2019, her parents, brother Richard, and sisters Ruth Hitchcock and Rosemary Haskins, Rosemary being her best friend throughout her life.
A gathering for family and friends will be held later this year, where we will share the food and listen to the music she long ago specified for the occasion, and, as per her and John’s wishes, scatter their ashes, together in Berkshire County.
The family is grateful for the support Ann received in Williamstown through Elder Services of Berkshire County, including long-time aide April Knapp; and from her “fourth daughter” Donna Narey, who stepped forward in so many ways, taking time from her own busy life when assistance from and friendship with a caring neighbor became critically important for Ann staying in her home as long as she did. Ann found Mainers particularly friendly and welcoming, and while here has had the invaluable support and pleasure of new friends, including Rose, Christy,and Moira; as well as the brief but critical services from staff of Northern Light Home Care and Hospice.
Donations in Ann’s memory may be made, in recognition of her long-time friendship with the Narey family, to the Berkshire County ARC Down Syndrome Family Group, www.bcarc.org, or to the Ellsworth Public Library, her source of a steady stream of large print books while in Maine, 20 State Street, Ellsworth ME 04650, www.Ellsworth.lib.me.us