Related: Trinity, Trinity Alumnae, Women

Remembering Anne Marie McGovern ’50

 
 

Friendship, loyalty, hospitality, compassion, wisdom and grace.  Across the generations of Trinity Women, Anne Marie McGovern, Class of 1950, was unparalleled for the many ways in which she exemplified the values we share in and through Trinity.  Whether remembering all of the names of all alumnae — married, maiden, nicknames and camp names — and their children and spouses and pets — or knowing the different preferences among alumnae in Naples, Cape Cod, Chicago or Napa Valley, Anne Marie had the remarkable gift of connecting immediately and personally with every single graduate of Trinity.

Anne Marie’s death last week was a great loss for her wonderful daughters Nancy ’79, Suzy and Sheila, their children and families, and also a source of sorrow for so many friends and classmates in 1950 and other classes who knew her well.  And immediately, the stories began…. Anne Marie was well known for her inimitable style, love of social engagement of all kinds, lively interest in other people and seemingly endless capacity for discussing the news of the day and who among the vast Trinity family might be the protagonists.

I first met Anne Marie when I was a student at Trinity, and by my junior year I was one of the students she kept busy during Reunion with myriad assignments, and that’s how I got to know so many alumnae of all decades.  I loved working at reunions, the friendships and endless talk well into the night proved fascinating and a real education into the lives of women —- in the 1970’s when I was a student, Trinity Women from the early 20th Century still attended reunion, and I loved getting to know the great women like Peg Blodgett ’19 whose sister was Sr. Helen Sheehan for whom the library was named.   I had the privilege to know Marcella Seymour ’24 for whom Seymour Court is named, and Mary Field Goubeau ’27 whose great bequest has cared for Notre Dame Chapel.  Anne Marie introduced me as a young alumna to all of these iconic women of Trinity, and over the years I treasured their wise advice and friendship.

Anne Marie became Trinity’s Alumnae Association Director in 1972, a position she held until 1994.  After my student days, I still worked with Anne Marie as a volunteer, member of the Alumnae Board and later president of the Alumnae Association before becoming the college president.  Along the way, Anne Marie was always gracious and eager to welcome alumnae to campus, to make sure that alma mater served their needs and interests well, and she was equally eager to share news from Trinity with all alumnae.  We sometimes traveled together to visit alumnae chapters all over the country, and I was always amazed by the large network of friends she cultivated and how much she knew about every alumna in each region.

When Anne Marie retired in 1994, our great President Emerita Sr. Margaret Claydon ’45, SND, spoke at a celebratory Mass for Anne Marie in Notre Dame Chapel.  Sr. Margaret’s words seem very fitting today as we mourn the loss of Anne Marie but also remember with gladness all that she meant to Trinity and our alumnae:

Sr. Margaret spoke of Anne Marie’s “…witty presence on the Marble Corridor where for twenty-two years she made every alumna feel at home and welcome, and from which emanated that inexhaustible creative energy that gave birth to Antiques & Uniques, Trinity at Lincoln Center, Winter Follies, Alumnae Book Sale, the Admissions Train, Faculty Follies, Trinity on the Cape and Trinity by the Sea.  I suppose we could say [quoting Frost]…

“When to the heart of many was it ever less than treason
To go with the drift of things,
To say good-bye with a grace
To the end of a love or a season?”

We say good-bye to Anne Marie with reluctance, indeed, and with gratitude for the many gifts she shared with thousands of Trinity alumnae, students and faculty who reaped so many benefits from her presence at Trinity.  She truly exemplified the values we sing about in the alma mater, paraphrasing here:

Trinity, her heart was loving you,
Trinity, her life was living you!

Our deepest condolences are with Nancy, Suzy, Sheila and their families.  We will announce an occasion to remember Anne Marie at Trinity in the days to come.

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7 Responses to Remembering Anne Marie McGovern ’50

  1. Patricia Ann Lynch says:

    Pat Lynch says–
    Ann Marie was one of my most admired humans from an early age. I met Ann Marie when I was ten years old and a camper at Our Lady of Lourdes camp in the Catskill Mountains of N.Y. Ann Marie was a camp counselor at the time and very popular with everyone. She eventually became our ‘Head Counselor’ and was loved and respected by all. Ann Marie was a fair and competent leader-always organizing and managing with love, care and gentle discipline.
    I was so impressed by Ann Marie that I asked where she attended college and when Trinity College was the answer, I determined during my early teens that TC was where I wanted to attend. If they produced women as amazingly wonderful as Ann Marie, then that was where I wanted to be.
    I have kept in touch with Ann Marie through the years and was hoping for one last lunch with her this holiday when I heard the news about her passing.
    We have all lost one of the most beloved and memorable women in our lives and we shall never forget.
    Thanks for being there for us Ann Marie. You were the best in every role you played and we are grateful.
    –Pat Lynch, Trinity ’59.

  2. I met Mrs. McGovern while I was at Trinity and adored her. Shortly after I graduated in ’88 and was moving back to New York she TOLD me I was going to be in charge of the alumni activities for TC there. It became my first position in service to Trinity and many other organizations. These roots have lasted since I left Trinity. I am still in service. An extra special gift over the years was getting to know her daughter, Sheila who’s inherited her warmth and wit. Mrs. McGovern brought humor and grace to every conversation and she made you feel special and part of something. She was a true model of everything our dear Trinity imbues.

  3. Joan A. Formato Ferrante says:

    Thank you so much Pat for the beautiful and loving tribute to Anne Marie.
    The memories are fond and deep for all of us who knew her well!!
    I certainly feel that, for many, Anne Marie was the essence of the heart and soul of Trinity for so many years. Her devotion and her love were contagious to any and all alumnae who crossed her path.

    After I graduated in 1963, I went home to Bronxville, N.Y. and began my first teaching job. Less than a month later I received a call from A.M., who was Pres.of the Westchester Alumnae Chapter, inviting me to a special event. I informed her that I probably would not fit in with all those “older” women and SHE informed me that these women needed some young blood in their group. And so began my deep and strong connection as an active Trinity alumna.
    My dear mother, Angela Formato, never attended college herself, but lovingly hosted many Trinity Westchester events in our home and worked hard with Anne Marie on numerous fundraising projects.
    I met Nancy, Suzy and Sheila as little girls when I helped their Mom with activities for their Girl Scout troops. My deepest love and many hugs go out to each of them and their families. Anne Marie was first and foremost,a wonderful and devoted Mother to her dear girls.
    For all who knew Anne Marie, she was a force, an inspiration to follow your heart, reach out to others, get the job done and share the LOVE. Indeed, she did all this and more. Trinity was blessed to have her.

  4. Boodie Christian Clark says:

    On one of my visits back to TC, I was chatting with one of the gentlemen who worked in the buildings when I was a student (1963-67). I don’t recall whether it was Mr. Hassett (probably not) or Alumnae’s Edward (good possibility) or another whom I knew, but in the course of the conversation he told me that there was never a more beautiful student or woman at Trinity than Ann Marie (Condon) McGovern. And he’d seen ’em all! Thanks for all your beauty, Ann Marie, and save a place for us!

    Boodie Christian Clark ’67

  5. Sue Watson Madigosky says:

    A pillar gone! God bless her!
    Sue Watson Madigosky ’62

  6. Michelle Paolantonio stetler says:

    It is funny how the Trinity circle unites people. As I read the news of Mrs. McGovern’s passing I went on President Maguire’s blog to see the video tribute . The first comment was from Julie Hunter Galdo. I was blessed to work in the alumnae office for Mrs. McGovern during my years at Trinity and she put me in touch with Julie for an internship. I was blessed at a young age to work with these fine ladies. I take pause on this bright sunny day and remember with much thanksgiving many of the life lessons I learned from Mrs. McGovern. Rest in peace Mrs. McGovern. I’m sure you are organizing a social event in heaven.
    Michelle Paolantonio-Stetler 1991

  7. Julie Hunter Galdo '69 says:

    Having read Pat’s tribute, I sit here flooded by memories. I met Anne Marie in 1972, when I was working at Trinity and she became director of the Alumnae Association. I was in my mid-20’s and thought of her as an older woman. Funny to think she was only in her early 40’s. That began a lifelong friendship, where I often told her throughout the decades (and to her amusement) that I wanted to be like her when I grew up. She was funny to the point of true wit. She always saw the possibilities and connections. She loved to make things happen, a conference, a memorial, a fund raiser, a celebration, a gathering of Trinity friends. She was deeply loyal to people, to her belief in the dignity of all people, and took stands when she thought something wasn’t right. She was a wonderful mother to three great daughters who called themselves the four musketeers. It always blew me away that she seemed to know everyone and everything. She’d started working life in an ad agency in NYC in the ’50’s — think Mad Men (with the requisite stories to tell) – and lived a life that spanned many eras, always informed on the issues, sharing what she thought with diplomacy, reason and often a really funny quip. We’d go to dinner and she’d recognize every public figure in the place (‘don’t turn around, but Congressman X is to behind you’) She knew who was related to whom. But more important than all that, she was a magnificent human being. She had close friends of every age and background. She never preached; she just did. And at the heart of it all was Trinity. She loved Trinity. She loved who we were and who we are today. I feel very grateful to have had her as a friend.

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: president@trinitydc.edu