John Glenn's Widow Dies of COVID at 100

Annie Glenn was 'a hero in her own right'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 19, 2020 11:27 AM CDT
John Glenn's Widow Was 'a Hero in Her Own Right'
In this 1983 file photo, Annie Glenn speaks during an interview in Newport, NH.   (AP Photo/File)

Annie Glenn, the widow of astronaut and Sen. John Glenn and a communication disorders advocate, died Tuesday at age 100, per the AP. Glenn died of COVID-19 complications at a nursing home near St. Paul, Minn., said a rep for the Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State. At the time of John Glenn's death in 2016, the pair who met as children had been married 73 years. She'd moved out of the apartment they shared in Columbus in recent years and gone to live with her daughter. Annie Glenn was thrust into the spotlight in 1962, when her husband became the first American to orbit Earth, but she shied away from media attention because of a severe stutter. Later, she underwent an intensive program at the Communications Research Institute at Virginia's Hollins College that gave her the skills to control her stutter and to speak in public.

Her career in advocacy for those with communication disorders included service on the advisory boards of numerous child abuse and speech and hearing organizations. The Annie Glenn Award was created to honor individuals who overcome a communication disorder. Defense Secretary William Cohen honored Annie Glenn with the Department of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 1998. He called her "a hero in her own right" and praised her for being "a strong voice for children, speech and communications, and the disabled." In 2009, Glenn received an honorary doctorate of public service from Ohio State, where she served as an adjunct professor of speech pathology in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science. The department bestows an Annie Glenn Leadership Award annually. She is survived by her two children, Lyn and David. (Read more obituary stories.)

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