Ann Harden

First post: Mar 12, 2017 Latest post: Mar 2, 2022
July 25, 1941- January 14, 2022

Ann and Ginger had just finished their sophomore year. They were strolling along North Howard Street, outside of Western High School in Baltimore City one June afternoon in 1957. The girls came upon a boy from Forest Park High, who had made his way to the all-girls school. With his crew cut and senior swagger, Dick was certain Ann was not only pretty, but also smart. After chatting with her for a few minutes, Dick boldly asked to see her report card.

Ann demurred.

Cupid intervened.

Ann handed over her report card. She had straight A’s, of course. That summer marked an epic love story of nearly 65 years.
Ann and Dick married in 1961, moved to a small apartment over a garage on a 40-acre farm in Reisterstown. Ann started Western Maryland College, had a son, Dave, and finished her Bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University. A few years later, Amy was born and Ann had completed two more Masters’ degrees at Hopkins and Towson University. Ann’s parents, Tom and Dorothy Swomley, gave her the confidence to excel at home, in school, and at work. Ann became a teacher and served Carroll County Public Schools for 15 years.

At the age of 53, Ann earned a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Maryland, her thesis focused on disabled students and their families. She was inspired to help these families because of her journey with her surviving brothers Mike and Steve, who is autistic and deaf.

That same year, the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce honored Ann as the “Teacher of the Year''. The State of Maryland then tapped Ann to advise other teachers and public schools to provide modern education for disabled students until she retired in 2002.

Ann was a woman of deep Christian faith, joining mission trips around the world. From 1995-1997, Ann and Dick served at Christ House in Washington D.C. providing compassionate care for homeless men with acute medical needs. Ann also studied at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation to mentor other women traveling on their own Christian journeys.

Ann died on January 14, 2022 at home on the family farm in Westminster, after battling multiple myeloma for nine years. Ann leaves behind her husband Dick; son Dave, his wife Sharon and their three children Tyler, Ryan and Waverly; and daughter Amy, her husband Tai Mamea and their son Joshua; and many, many lifelong friends.

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