Ann Maier Heldenbrand ’42

HeldenbrandAnne Maier Heldenbrand gently passed away on Wednesday, Sept.30, 2015 in Ocala, Fla. She was in her apartment at The Windsor of Ocala, surrounded by her family.

Anne was born April 26, 1924 in Pottstown, Penn. to John B. and Bessie C. Maier.

She is predeceased by her husband, Dr. Ladd L. Heldenbrand of South Portland, her brothers, Dr. John Maier and Dr. Paul Maier, and her sister, Jane Dreyer. She is survived by her daughter, Nan Heldenbrand Morrissette of Dunnellon, Fla. and her son-in-law, Thomas Morrissette, her son, Keith Heldenbrand of South Freeport and her daughter-in-law, Christina Heldenbrand. She is also survived by her granddaughters, Jennifer Kastelic of Portland, and Alexis Heldenbrand of South Freeport; and by her great-grandchildren, Althea, Jonah and Sophia Kastelic.

Anne attended Northampton School For Girls before graduating from Royersford (Penn.) High School, and Pierce Business School in Philadelphia Penn.

She was a secretary for Curtis Publishing Company, specifically the Saturday Evening Post, before marrying Ladd and moving to Ohio. She helped him as he completed degrees from Kent State and Ohio State Universities. There she and Ladd started their family, Nan and Keith. At one time their home in Columbus also housed two African lions, eight aardvarks and a chimpanzee. After Ladd’s graduation from the Veterinary School at OSU, they moved to Portland.

Anne loved volunteering, she served on the Board of Directors of the YWCA, and was a pastpresident of the Lioness Club. A survivor of the polio epidemic in the 1959’s, she was a founding member of the Maine Post-Polio Syndrome Support Group, part of Pine Tree Society for the Handicapped. She was a long-time supporter of Southern Maine Technical College. She also used to bake cookies and pies, going out on the tugboats as they delivered supplies to the Portland Lightship. She was a staunch supporter of and Christmas kettle bell ringer for the Salvation Army.
Anne shared Ladd’s love for fishing, many times canoeing and portaging the Allagash River. She was the first woman to fly into the Arctic Circle of Labrador, where a lake was named after her. Anne loved cooking, entertaining Ladd’s guests at a moment’s notice, and family gatherings. Anne always said, “We have plenty of plates and we’ll make room at the table.”

Anne’s nickname was “Cannon Annie”, as she had three signal cannons which she used to salute ships coming into and out of Portland Harbor with a 3-gun salute. At their 2 Bay Road ocean-side home in South Portland, they hosted many large parties, watching Naval vessels, tall ship parades, sailboat regattas and other activity on the ship channel. She fired at the USS John F. Kennedy when it visited. As soon as they dropped anchor a helicopter took off from the deck, flew directly over the heads of Anne and her many guests, sailors leaning out of the copter waving in response. The US Navy officially recognized her as “Black Powder Annie.” She was asked to fire her cannon salute from the top of Fort Popham, as the USS John S. McCain, a brand new Aegis Destroyer, sailed down the Kennebec. She was many times invited by the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath to fire at visiting vessels. She was saluted by the QE II, the Coast Guard Eagle and a British submarine, to name a few. She was often the cannon section when the Portland Symphony played the “1812 Overture” in outdoor concerts. At the opening of the Casco Bay Bridge, Governor Angus King cut the ribbon and Anne fired her cannons. She was the starting gun and and finishing gun for the Portland Tugboat Musters.

After her husband, Ladd, passed away, Anne wrote and published a book about their lives together titled, “Chimps in the Kitchen, Lions in the Cellar.” With her granddaughter, Jennifer Kastelic and her family, Anne moved to Gainesville Fla. in 2009. In 2012 she moved into The Windsor of Ocala, an assisted living facility, where she had a beautiful apartment. There she was surrounded by her favorite things, including the huge painting of local Maine seabirds by Thomas Nadeau, a wooden life-sized tiger sculpted by Ladd, and many photos of her family and friends. She loved her life at the Windsor, where the staff and aides enjoyed her many stories and hugs. In 2014, she was “April” on the “Calendar of Heroes” produced by the Legends of Senior Living group, owner of The Windsor.

Anne is most known to her family and friends as saying, “I just want everyone to be happy.”

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