Obituary: Ann Cecil

Pittsburgh fan Ann Cecil (b.1940) died on January 11, a couple of days after entering hospice. Cecil was active in convention-running, having co-founded PARSEC, Confluence, SouthWrites, and the Pittsburgh Filk Underwriting Initiative. She was the Listener Guest at OVFF 12 and Fan Guest of Honor at Off-Key Contraption in 1994.

  1. Douglas Muth — January 11, 2011 @ 11:17 am

    I dug up a picture of Ann Cecil from my archives:

    Feel free to crop/copy/etc. the picture as you or anyone else sees fit.

    I worked for her at Confluence the last few years, she struck me as a smart and funny woman. She’ll be missed.

  2. Eva Whitley — January 11, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this. She did a great job on Confluence, and she was always interesting to talk to at conventions. But that DOB–is that correct? She seemed much younger than that.

  3. Steven H Silver — January 11, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

    The DOB comes from Randy Hoffman.

  4. W. Randy Hoffman — January 11, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

    The DOB comes from her family and I’m sure it’s correct. Even though she could tell you about programming some of the earliest business mainframes, she never seemed as old as she was; she was young at heart.

  5. Charlie Riley — January 12, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

    I’m Ann’s daughter, and the birthdate is correct. We threw a party for her on her 53rd birthday in 1993, and a guest kept switching the 5 and 3 candles on the cake to 35 because she was sure we’d gotten it it the wrong way around.

  6. Glenn Chambers — January 12, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

    Her foster daughter was down right assertive in confirming that DOB. I was both surprised and not-surprised. She showed the wisdom and experience you expect from an intelligent person of that age.

    I will miss her greatly.

  7. Linda Deneroff — January 12, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

    I am so sorry to hear this. I knew Ann back in the ’70s and ’80s and last saw her at LA Con in 2006. May she rest in peace.

  8. Michael Sharer — January 13, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about Ann’s passing. I remember her from when we lived in Pittsburgh in the early ’90’s. I remember her most for her generosity. She was always opening her home to many who didn’t have a place to stay. The world will be a sadder place without her kindness.

  9. Adina Klass-Lamana — January 15, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

    Just got off the phone with my mother, who told me of Ann’s passing. I am so saddened to hear this! She was such a dear friend of ours for so many years! I remember her smile which just beamed like a light, I will miss her dearly. Thank you Ann for everything that you ever did for my parents–I hope my Dad (Phil) is up there talking your ear off again. My deepest condolences to Kevin, Charlie, Sasha, Greg, and the whole PARSEC family–she will be missed greatly. I am so glad that I got to see her again after many years at this past Confluence…that convention just won’t be the same without her. All my love, Adina

  10. Sielke Caparelli — January 16, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

    Ann was part of our Bible Focus class at church. She had contributed so much given her experiences and Biblical knowledge. I’ve just recently started teaching this adult class and she was so encouraging and thoughtful – witty – funny. Our entire class will miss her and are only sorry we had not met this amazing woman sooner. Our sincerest condolences to those who knew and loved her.

  11. Oksana Dragan — January 19, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

    When I met Ann Cecil on the first day of Freshman Orientation at Douglass College she was sitting on the floor of our dorm room, busily typing away on a chapter of her novel, “The Painted Woman”, on her beat-up Remington portable. I was totally impressed — to the point that I remember the scene and the title of the book-to-be all these 52 years later. Ann was impressive in many other ways. She was smart as a whip, a brilliant talker, a voracious and fast reader who could get lost in a random book in any random place — often standing in the middle of a drugstore or bookstore or somebody’s living room, oblivious to everything going on around her. She had a wonderful family — all tall, good-looking, super intelligent, super talkative and deeply engaged in whatever they did. Her mother painted and studied Russian, her father joked in his deep baritone and gave out enameled cast-iron utensils he made in the small enamel factory he had at the time. I still treasure a small square green-and-white enameled skillet I got from him, decorated with the legend For Good Eggs Only. Like her parents and brother John, Ann was intellectually curious and adventurous: she studied Russian, learned some Ukrainian, sang along in the local Ukrainian church in New Brunswick reading from the Cyrillic hymnbook. She vanquished the NYTimes Sunday crossword in record time, and to make it more interesting would think up couplets to go with the clues. She played tennis gamely, she was good at chess. Above all, you could always count on her for help and understanding and support, be it writing papers or crying over a broken heart.

    In all, an interesting, talented woman and a kind and thoughtful friend. I regret that in later years the paths of our lives diverged and we kept in touch only sporadically. The last time I saw Ann Cecil was two years ago, dancing at my daughter’s wedding. (Yes, she danced, and enthusiastically.) I am so sorry that she is no longer with us. I will miss her greatly.

  12. Louise Hanson — January 21, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

    While I had been aware of Ann’s serious illness, I was nonetheless shocked to learn of her passing. Ann and I were close friends at Barringer High School in Newark, New Jersey where she graduated as Valedicorian of our class in 1958. (Back in those days, we knew her as Roberta–the Ann came later.) We went on to Douglass College together. Over the decades we maintained a once-yearly correspondence to get caught up with news. Other writers have touched on her wit, intellectual prowess and bookishness. I’m sure all will agree that she was a one-of-a-kind personality whose passing we mark with sadness.

  13. M. Yang: The Last Cyborg « Ramey Writes — June 18, 2011 @ 2:19 am

    […] of destroying my macho image, I’ll admit it brought a tear to my eye. I’d like to think Ann would be proud. I know she would be happy. She almost always […]

  14. John Glenn — January 9, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

    Roberta (name she heartily disliked) Ann Cecil was born August 1, 1940 in Reading PA; trust me on this one.

    She was a unique person – not “very” unique or “most” unique, just unmodifiably unique. She also was versatile to the nth degree.