Sarah Ann Jennings lived a phenomenal life and passed away peacefully on March 24, 2018. With a devoted community of friends in Thermopolis, she lived independently until the last two weeks of her life. The compassionate staff of Thermopolis Rehab and Wellness helped her complete her journey in comfort, grace, and dignity.
Ann was born in 1934 in Jonesborough, Tennessee. In 1937 her family moved to Thermopolis, where she grew up and graduated from high school. Anne joined the Navy in 1953 and received an honorable discharge at the end of her enlistment in 1957. She then moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, where she spent the majority of her adult life.
Much of Ann’s life was devoted to the American Legion, where she was a respected leader, a widely loved community builder, and a tenacious advocate for veterans. She served the American Legion in many capacities, becoming the first woman to rise to Commander of the Dorman H. Baker Post #11, then Western Commander of the Alaska Department, and finally in 1991 to Department Commander. In officially nominating Ann to serve on the U.S. Veterans’ Administration Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, Senator Frank Murkowski and Jack Shields, Director of the Alaska Division of Veterans Affairs, noted her “keen insight into the problems specific to veteran women and men” in rural areas and her experience traveling “extensively throughout Alaska talking with women veterans and learning first-hand of their unique needs and concerns.”
Ann returned to Thermopolis in 2001, re-establishing her family’s connection to her hometown. She had a big heart and a quick wit; she was adventurous, curious, funny, smart, hardworking, and meticulous. She routinely contributed to a wide variety of charities, developed new friendships in Wyoming, and maintained old friendships around the country. She became a great-grandmother and supported her multigenerational family with deep, unconditional love.
In honor of Ann and in lieu of flowers, her family invites friends and well-wishers to contribute to the American Legion. A service will be held in Thermopolis June.