Anne began coming to the conference in 1990. Her daughter, Mary Koopman, had been invited to the conference – the theme was “Family,” so it seemed natural that Anne should come along with Mary and her daughter, Abbey Pierson. From that time, on Anne came every June for 13 years. When she later met and married Tom Benenson, he joined the yearly family excursion to Northfield. Northfield was a very special place for Anne – the different opportunities provided a place where she felt held and loved and seen, the opportunities for in-depth conversations on topics she may not encounter elsewhere were greatly appreciated. She loved “Families” and engaged in the conference wholeheartedly, doing as much as she was able as she aged. The last year she attended Northfield was 2012. That was the year her great-grandson, Eli, was born in June, and new grandma Mary could not leave to visit and drive Anne up to the conference. So Anne made arrangements with her granddaughter, Allison, to come with her so she could be here. Anne died on Christmas day, 2013. In her myriad of files were found every Northfield brochure, name lists, and letters from those she corresponded with from the conference. Anne felt blessed to be a part of the Northfield family, and we were blessed by her presence.
(Anne is pictured above on the right with her daughter Mary and great-nephew Greg)
Anne provided me with my first experience of connection across generations at Northfield. I remember being struck with her speaking to me as a peer. I was really touched by her sharing with me and her agelessness.