Former astronaut John Glenn’s wife passed away early Tuesday morning, on May 19, 2020. Annie Glenn was 100 years old and she died in a nursing home near her family in St. Paul, Minnesota due to compilations of COVID-19.
John Glenn died at the age of 95 in 2016. At the time of his death, he had been married to Annie for 73 years.
Gov. Mike DeWine told The Dispatch, “This is a very sad day for all Ohioans. Annie Glenn was certainly our most beloved Ohioan. There wouldn’t have been a john Glenn without Annie Glenn. Theirs is an inspiring love story. She represented all that is good in our country.” He ordered the flags to be flown at half-staff today in honor of Annie Glenn’s death.
Glenn living in the shadow of fame until midlife. When she emerged, it was as an inspiration for people with disabilities worldwide, as she overcame her chronic stuttering that kept her limited while her husband was becoming a household name.
Glenn stuttered 85 percent of the time. Nevertheless, she was a top student who was readily accepted in her close-knit college town of New Concord.
She was born Anna Margaret Castor in Columbus, Ohio on Feb. 17, 1920. Her father was a dentist and moved the family to New Concord when Glenn was three. The Castors joined the “Twice 5 Club” card club where John’s parents also played cards. The two shared a playpen while their parents played cards.
Both John and Annie stayed in Ohio to attend Muskingum College. John was also in the Marine Corp. and his education was interrupted by WWII. He proposed to Annie before leaving for flight training.
Annie faced her stuttering and went to Dayton to find a job. “I had to write out where I wanted to go and I handed it to the bus driver. He thought I was deaf. He wrote back how much money I needed. Lots of people thought when my jaws sort of started shaking (as she started to talk) that I was cold. Lots of people would turn their backs and walk away from me. I have been laughed at many times.”
At the age of 53, after trying what she felt was everything, she heard about Dr. Ronald Webster. He was a psychologist and director of the Communications Research Institute at Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia, who developed a treatment for people who stutter.
After three weeks of treatment, Annie called John and for the first time in 53 years, she spoke a complete sentence without stuttering. John cried.
By 1984, Annie gave speeches all across the country while her husband campaigned for the presidency.
Glenn was an overcome who devoted herself to helping others who stutter or have any other disability.
By Jeanette Vietti
USA TODAY: Annie Glenn, widow of former astronaut John Glenn, dies at 100 of complications from COVID-19
Image Courtesy of NASA HQ PHOTO’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License