Annie Glenn, disability advocate and widow of former astronaut and Sen. John Glenn, dies of coronavirus at 100

In this Dec. 16, 2016 photo, Annie Glenn arrives to view the casket of her husband John Glenn as he lies in honor, in Columbus, Ohio.
In this Dec. 16, 2016 photo, Annie Glenn arrives to view the casket of her husband John Glenn as he lies in honor, in Columbus, Ohio.(John Minchillo/AP)

Annie Glenn, widow of astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn and a renowned advocate for people with speech disorders, has died of complications from COVID-19.
She was 100.
Glenn became one of the thousands of nursing home residents to fall prey to coronavirus,
Throughout her life, Glenn parlayed her intractable stuttering into advocacy as she struggled to speak. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered flags to be flown at half-staff until Glenn is memorialized in a virtual service on June 6.

“This is a very sad day for all Ohioans,” DeWine told The Columbus Dispatch. “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 about our country.”
Anna Margaret Castor was born in Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 17, 1920. She and her future husband met as toddlers, sharing the same playpen because their parents were friends, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

They were married for 73 years at the time of John Glenn’s death in 2016.

Annie Glenn died at a nursing home near St. Paul, Minn., where she had been living for the past few years in order to be near her daughter, Hank Wilson, a spokesman for the Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University, told the Associated Press.

She is survived by daughter Lyn and son David, The Columbus Dispatch said.

Friends and associates lauded her dedication to her husband, her support of his career and the country, and her courage in braving ridicule over her speech impediment in order to inspire others. She did so even after finding a program at Hollins University in the 1970s that helped quell her stuttering to a more manageable level. Until then, “she lived in fear of the simple tasks most people take for granted — using the telephone, taking public transportation and going shopping,” the John Glenn School of Public Affairs said in a statement.

"Annie Glenn was a special kind of public hero. She conquered her own personal challenge — her speech impediment — and appropriately used her position as the spouse of a prominent public person to help advocate for others who struggled as she did,” said Trevor Brown, the dean of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, in the school’s statement. “She was also just a really warm and nice person. We’ll miss her as much as we do Senator Glenn.”

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