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Thank you for coming today and showing us all how much we love Ann. I know this is a very difficult experience for our family and our friends, and together we will work through this complicated time.

Today, I want all of us to remember Ann for the powerful life force she would bring to each of our lives. Her amazing blue eyes, her smile, her laugh. When Ann entered a room there was an aura she brought with her, and I have been so privileged to have been by her side.

We each have our stories, and I want you to hear some of mine.

I first noticed her power on November 22, 1985. It was a Friday night, after work, and I met Ann at a bar in the Marriot Hotel on International Drive in Orlando. We both worked for Martin Marietta, and that night we were at the same happy hour.

In this crowded room of co-workers, I noticed this beautiful young woman with the most amazing smile, and the most striking blue eyes, talking to a mutual friend. It didn’t take long before I walked over and introduced myself. Ann and I quickly got rid of the mutual friend and together we spoke for over an hour.

Gaining my courage, I asked her out to this new restaurant called Chrisitini’s. To my glee she said yes. For our first date, I showed up in a blue blazer, and a tie, very progressive back then for a 23 year old, and we went to dinner. Christini’s turned out to be a high-end, fine dining experience. Ann and I closed the restaurant.

At her door, I asked her out for Saturday night, but she had a date; however, as a counter she invited me to a ski party on Sunday. Little did I know, she skied competitively in college, and she easily slalomed like the professional skier she was. I barely made it up on two skis. It didn’t matter. That afternoon we had our first real kiss, and from that day forward, we were together for over 23 years. No matter where I was on the planet, or where she was, we would talk every single day.

Within six months, Ann invited me to her most favorite place on the planet…Pelican Lake in Minnesota. Ann spent nearly every summer at Pelican Lake since childhood.

As we all know, Pelican Lake is a very special place for Ann to be with her family, and her summer friends. Ann taught me and all our kids to slalom at Pelican Lake. She taught our friends to ski at Pelican Lake. She taught the boys to fish and to turtle hunt at Pelican Lake. She taught me how to relax at Pelican Lake.

But Pelican Lake was only one aspect of Ann’s life. She loved to garden, she loved being on the water, she loved the mountains, she loved great restaurants, and she so much adored horses, and animals of any type. She loved to travel. She loved the arts…theatre, museums, dance and film. We would see everything, and go nearly everywhere.

She loved to run construction projects and renovate homes. I would always take great joy when a construction worker would look at me and marvel at our professional grade DeWalt mitre saw. I would just point over to Ann and say, “It’s Her’s.”

Ann taught me how to hang a shudder, how to caulk, and how to shop for tools at Home Depot, but it was Ann who always fixed the drywall. I should have known when for a wedding present, Ann’s parents gave me a tool box. We all know the tool box is really Ann’s.

And while I have the overtaxing corporate job, it was Ann who ran our life. She paid the bills, she made sure the kids were healthy, and each year that they were each ready for school and sports. It was Ann who always encouraged the kids to play sports.

But above it all, Ann was always there for the boys. She took care of the household, she always had everyone’s special food in stock, and she spent so much time at school, she knew everyone there too and everyone knew Ann too.

It was Ann who insisted on pets in our life. Cats, Dogs, Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, Fish, and Bert the Turtle. A turtle who is 25 years old, is 10 inches long and lives in a 30 gallon tank in our basement. She really wanted a snake too, but I had to draw the line somewhere. When Ann stopped riding horses, her dream was to have a farm so she could have a few horses merely as pets.

Ann would often remark how she didn’t understand why people didn’t want animals in their life. Ann would say, “Animals bring so much unconditional love to a home. They make me happy.”

And while neither of us practiced a formal religion, we are both spiritual, and everywhere we traveled, the two of us would wander through the holiest places on the planet. She so much enjoyed the spiritual strength she gained as she took in the beauty of these wonderful shrines. From Vatican City in Rome, to the Giant Buddha’s in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, to Notre Dame in Paris, and just last year to Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s in London.

But to Ann, her world was her children: Zachary, Alex and Nathan. She was so involved with our kids’ lives. She knew all the kids who would visit our home. She knew their families. She loved watching our kids friend’s grow up, and Ann relished in telling me stories of these little kids from the days when she volunteered at Superior Elementary, at Tanque Verde Elementary, or at Eldorado.

Ann would never miss a little league game, a football game, a basketball game or a lacrosse game. She would never miss a school event.

It was Ann who was the driving force behind Zach’s rise in scouting to the ultimate achievement of Eagle Scout. Naturally, she was the Cub Scout den mother; and when Zach entered boy scouts, it was Ann who literally wore a boy scout uniform and earned the badges so she could be there with Zach.

When you’re in scouting, you have until you’re 18 to complete your Eagle project, and there were times when Zach was just burned out. Every week Ann would strategize on how to get Zach pumped back up, but somehow she did it and he did it. Zach dug deep, but it wouldn’t have happened without Ann.

Ann supported Zach every step of the way, and it was such a crowning achievement. A lovely and proud moment for all of us when Zach received his Eagle award.

It was Ann who championed all three of our boys through little league baseball while in Tucson. On some days, Ann would make 2 or 3 separate trips to the fields so the kids could play and she could attend all their games. She would even just watch Zach be an umpire.

And, it was Ann who helped develop Alex and Nathan’s wonderful success in lacrosse. When the kid’s lacrosse goal collapsed due to overuse, within days Ann asked a friend next door to weld the goal back together. Ann really wanted to do the welding herself.

When Alex became a proficient pitcher in little league, it was Ann who helped me build the batting cage we had in our back yard, and it was Ann who found pitching coaches for Alex and Nathan. Yet of course, besides being the sports Mom, Ann just played Mom.

Last year, when Alex was selecting colleges, Alex and Ann went to visit Colorado State. Now, no offense to our CSU friends, but Alex’s going to CU …Nevertheless, Ann being Ann, she wanted Alex to check out CSU anyway.

When they went on the CSU tour, Alex just wasn’t that interested. So, during the tour Alex was texting away. Go Figure? First Ann warns Alex..if you’re texting i’m taking your phone, then she starts yelling “give me your phone, give me your phone.…” it was so embarrassing for poor Alex..everyone was looking at Alex as Ann took away Alex’s phone. But that was Ann.

And of course, Nathan! Year and after year, Nathan was the little guy until that great moment when he finally grew taller than Ann. He was so happy! Ann was so proud.

But despite being taller, Nathan always flew under the radar as Ann would be so focused on Zach and Alex. Ann would constantly catch Nathan escaping chores because he would disappear upstairs to read after dinner, or he would smooth talk his way into going to a friend’s house instead of walking the dogs, or Nathan would call Ann at 9:30 at night to see if he could spend the night at someone’s house.

Recently, Monarch scrimmaged Mullen in a Lacrosse game. As expected, Monarch lost, but it was Nathan, the freshman, who magically scored a hat trick against this seasoned, senior goalie. Ann was so proud of Nathan. The goalie was so mad!

Boys, Mom’s so proud of each of you, and Mom’s so proud of our beautiful family.

Right now, Ann is once again reunited with her mother, Jackie, whose traits she emulated, and who she loved so much, and who she hasn’t seen in 17 years. She’s so happy!

I love you Annie. I miss you. We all miss you.

Michael Puldy
Boulder Theater
March 1, 2009