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Annie Glenn, speech disorders advocate and widow of astronaut, dies of COVID-19 in Minnesota

She was 100 years old.

Annie Glenn, an advocate for people with communications disorders and the wife of the late astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn, died of COVID-19 complications on May 19 in the Twin Cities, according to Ohio State, where she was an adjunct professor. She was 100 years old. 

She was living in an assisted living facility near St. Paul. She had moved there to be close to her daughter, Lyn. 

Annie Glenn, who suffered from a stutter for more than five decades, was a former adjunct professor of speech-language pathology at Ohio State. An annual award named for her is awarded each year for innovative and inspirational work in the field.

She also received an honorary Doctor of Public Service from the school in recognition of her humanitarian efforts for adults and children who stutter.

“Annie Glenn was introduced to the world by Senator John Glenn after his orbit of the Earth, but we really came to know her years later when she found her voice after conquering a profound stutter,” Trevor Brown, dean of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, said in a statement.

"The world is better for it. Annie was kind at heart, determined in spirit, and generous to everyone she met. She was both a devoted partner and a singular individual, a person of great strength and love."

At the time of his death in 2016, she had been married to John Glenn for 73 years. They both grew up in New Concord, Ohio, and went to Muskingum University. They left a legacy at Ohio State and a stretch of 17th Avenue on the campus is named for the couple.

“Our Ohio State community joins the entire nation in mourning the loss of Annie Glenn, a wonderful person, courageous spirit and deeply devoted citizen, mother, grandmother and loving friend,” Ohio State President Michael V. Drake said in a statement. 

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"In just a moment spent with Annie and John Glenn, it was immediately evident that they were a team. They had known each other since childhood, and their close partnership throughout life uplifted countless Americans. Together, they helped shape the very fabric of our country. Their legacy of extraordinary public service will live on at Ohio State and across the nation."

A virtual memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. (central time) on Saturday, June 6, at the Broad Street Presbyterian Church. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, no parishioners or guests will be in attendance. The service will instead be streamed live at glenn.osu.edu.

Annie Glenn will be buried with John Glenn in Arlington National Cemetery. She is survived by her daughter Lyn and their son David.

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