2001 Messages

2001 Messages

Posted by Stacey Westra Johnson December 2001:

Sweet Person

I met Ann at Wayland Academy in 1987, probably on one of her first days of school there. She was a junior and I was a senior. We met at tennis camp prior to the start of classes. Unlike a lot of other people I met during my years at Wayland, Ann was genuinely sweet, honest and unprententious. She always greeted you with a big smile.

I haven't talked to Ann since she was in high school but she obviously touched the lives of many. What a sweet person this world lost.


Posted by
Suki December 2001:

Still No Memorial Speech - I Promise it's Coming

Hello Nelsons,

I know I still need to put my speech from Ann's services up on this board but I never wrote a word of that speech down on paper and have not had the heart to transcribe what I said from the video tapes, so bear with me. I will get it up yet, I promise.

One thing I did come across recently was a journal entry I once wrote about Ann right after our summer together in Cambridge. I do remember loving Ann from our first conversation together, feeling so elated that I got to know her, knowing that I had found a friend for life. It is really too long and poorly written to put it all up here, but my opening line in the entry pretty much summed it all up. "I love Ann so much," it read, and continues on to describe what a refereshing, considerate, true friend she is.

In the end I wrote "She is a really special girl. Sometimes I feel we were cut from the same blueprint, only she came out so well and I have so many faults. I admire her so much, it is amazing. I only wish we could be transported to those pubs one more time. And we will, while we're still young." I guess I will always have to settle for the great days she and I got in Minneapolis and New York together.

My thoughts are always with Ann, with you, with Eric, with all Ann's friends that miss her. I miss her too.


Posted by
Saliena Bowers December 2001:

I Did Not Know Her...

I found this page today as I was searching for information on Sept 11th. I did not lose anyone that sad day. But, I know that when Annie died the universe lost a very bright star. That is evident by the people who loved her. To her mom - thank you for posting your grief for the world to see - how hard for you that must be and how healing. I wish on December 23, that you feel your daughter's spirit all around you and that you have the love of her all around. I wish you all well...

Someone who wishes should would have known Annie.
Saliena Bowers


Posted by
Jim Dazell December 2001:

Remembering Ann

Ann and I didn't get together very often, but it seemed that whenever she would come back to Stanley she would call or bump into me somewhere. It could be months or more before we could get together for a beer or dinner, but she would start talking and it was like she had always been there. She had a way of making you feel at ease. With all her travels and experiences, she never came off as too important to hang out with you. Ann was a one of a kind person! I am a better person for knowing her. GOODBYE MY TRUSTED FRIEND


Posted by Marcia Nelson Jarrett December 2001:

Memories of Ann & her family

My thoughts again today are on Ann and her family. The last three months still are so unbelieveable. It is truely a sad and tragic time for all of us who know and loved Ann, as well as for our country.

I am a cousin of Ann's. There were 20 cousins on the Nelson side of the family and I am the oldest and Ann was my youngest cousin. Her father, Gary, is my uncle, but we grew up together and he is like a "brother" to me, as we lived only a block apart and were childhood playmates. Gary, Jenette, and I were all in high school together. Jenette and I became good friends when she was dating Gary. Jenette and I share many interests, including playing the piano, homemaking, and creative artistic interests. After I married John and Gary and Jenette were married, we continued to develop our friendship and made trips to visit each other when they lived in Wisconsin and we lived in Chicago and then Milwaukee.

We each had two children who were close in age. Scott is a year and a half older than John Morris and Jenny is a year older than Ann. We shared a many fun times together back in North Dakota when we would come home to visit from Oregon where we eventually settled. I remember once Gary bundling up all four kids and taking them skiing somewhere up in northern North Dakota. It was a typical cold North Dakota day, but they all had a great time. Later, Jenette, Gary and the kids took the train out to Oregon where we went skiing at Mt. Bachelor and stayed at our cabin at Black Butte.

I remember so well playing games with the kids in front of the fireplace after a full day of skiing. We then drove back to Eugene, and then over to the Oregon coast so we could show them the Pacific Ocean. We could hardly see the ocean because of a severe Oregon rain storm that day, but we were determined to give them the "Oregon Tour". I remember another time when Gary put Ann on a plane by herself to come out & visit us. We had such a good time with her. I always wished that our families could have had more times together! We treasured our time together. We will always remember Ann and the wonderful person she was.

Love, Marcia


Posted by
Paulette Tobin December 2001:

Good Wishes

To Ann Nelson's family, especially Jenette: Thanks for sharing the beautiful story of your daughter's life as well as the tragedy of her death. My visits with you have certainly brought home to me just what America (and the world) lost on September 11. Ann's death, and the deaths of so many people like her, have certainly diminished us all. But most of all, I think of you, whose hearts are broken, and hope and pray that you will find healing and peace.

With best wishes always,
Paulette Tobin,
Grand Forks Herald


Posted by
Jenette Nelson December 2001:

Thank You Paulette

Thank you Paulette for your beautiful story about Ann. You have handled this situation with love and sensitivity. I also want to thank you for the materials and help with my journalism class. Greet your daughter and Jackie for me . I hope to keep in touch with you. Love, Jenette

         In Reply to: Re: Good wishes posted by Jenette Nelson December 2001:

To Ann Nelson's family, especially Jenette: Thanks for sharing the beautiful story of your daughter's life as well as the tragedy of her death. My visits with you have certainly brought home to me just what America (and the world) lost on Sept. 11. Ann's death, and the deaths of so many people like her, have certainly diminished us all. But most of all, I think of you, whose hearts are broken, and hope and pray that you will find healing and peace.

With best wishes always,
Paulette Tobin,
Grand Forks Herald


Posted by Aunt LeAnn December 2001:

Dear Jenette and Gary,

My heart is unbearably heavy when I make myself realize that our precious Ann is now an angel. But what an angel! She touched an incredible number of lives with her love and kindness. We are all better people for having known her. Thank you for sharing her with the world.

My love for her began the moment I held her as an infant and will remain as long as I live. I cherish the many moments I shared in her life, my memory bank is full. Remembering Annie as a child, wearing her cowgirl hat and worn blue jeans to her birthday party warms my heart. She never lost that naturalness as a teenager being crowned during homecoming at Wayland or winning her many athletic events. That charisma continued and blossomed in her incredibly successful professional life. At any age, she was able to visit with queens and kings but never became arrogant. Ann taught me that bragging isn’t necessary if you’re good. She constantly supplied praise to those close to her, realizing that making people feel good about themselves encourages them to become better people.

The two of you formed an exemplary family in every way. As parents to Ann and Scott you were loving in your guidance and generous in your affection. You shared resources and life’s lessons as well as taught them human compassion. Ann was the most well adjusted person I have known, she felt the world was hers and she reached out to envelop it. I appreciated the fact that she never forgot her roots and reached back often to let each of us know that we were important to her.

Nette, you brought a million smiles, taught creativity, a quest for knowledge, and the warm nurturing only a mother can give a child. Gary, you assisted in the development of a logical, analytical mind of a financial genius and the ability of a world class athlete. The two of you had the most positive relationship I have ever seen between a father and daughter. The pride you both felt for Ann and the love shared was apparent whenever you were together.

As we go forward in the difficult days ahead, know how much you are admired for your accomplishments as parents and loved by many. Ann’s family and friends will continue to celebrate her life and we will remember our angel.

Love from one of Annie’s Aunts,

“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered? Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing, and when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”
- Kahil Gibran


Posted by Amanda  December 2001:

Thank You

I just wanted to take a minute and tell you thanks for raising such a wonderful person. The world needs more people like your girl. I have read Ann's tribute on the Cantor memorial page. What a beautiful daughter you have. You must be so proud. I am a mother too and I can't imagine your pain. We are praying for you and your family.

A Mom in Texas,


Posted by Anonymous November 25, 2001:

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there.
I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that swiftly blow.
I am the diamond glint
on newly fallen snow.
I am the sunlight
on ripened grain.
I am the soft and gentle autumn rain.

When you wake from sleep in the early morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft, starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there.
I do not sleep.


Posted by LeAnn Schule Rindt November 2001:

To Annie  . . .  Remembering

I fell in love with you when you were an infant in my arms. From that moment until eternity you will always be one of the most precious people in my life.

By a miracle of nature, I am your aunt and blessed to be your godmother. A favorite memory was an early birthday party after your family moved to Stanley. It was your third or fourth birthday and we arrived by car loads to help you celebrate. Jenette had prepared a beautiful party for you and your little friends arrived dressed appropriate for such a celebration. You, on the other hand, came to greet us in your well-worn jeans, scruffy boots, and a cowgirl hat pulled down low. With an adorable little pout, you informed us that you did not want to wear the dress your Mom had set out for you. After several minutes of futile attempts to convince you that it would be fun, it was decided by your wise Mom that a happy birthday girl was more important than one in a ruffled dress. You were delighted and continued to joyously celebrate your Sytende Mai. I especially loved your independence and lack of pretension. I also admired your parents for encouraging such traits.

You and Cousin Melanie enjoyed riding horseback and could often be seen with hair flying as you headed across the pasture behind your house in Stanley or on Grandma’s farm. Speaking of hair, what an unusual style the two of you chose when you cut each others hair–spots of the scalp showed at uneven intervals. Years later you taught me how to French braid my own hair after a decade of me doing the braids upside down. Remember the stitches under your chin when you fell at the Minot Ramada Inn swimming pool? Your Mom held you while I drove to the emergency room. You were a brave youngster-- so was I until we reached the hospital. Then my knees turned to rubber.

During the year Jenette attended graduate school in Minot, we had some adventures! I loved visiting the two of you in your campus apartment. The huge ice cream treats available across the street were out of this world. Then came the summers that you stayed with my family in Larimore. You were the best t-ball player the team had, they wanted to keep you–so did I. Five years of Norwegian camp provided some fun memories, positioning you as the peacemaker in the group of adolescent girls. How about those sardines for breakfast!

Remember the fall trips to Minneapolis to see the Vikings? Our two families had rooms close to each other and one incident that makes me smile was when you and my kids discovered how to order room service. We parents must have gone out to dinner without you because when we returned the three of you had ordered a feast sent to the room. Gary tried to frown but you smiled sweetly at him and all was forgiven. Mel and Erik loved that antic and we always made sure you children joined us for dinner after that lesson.

Our long walks at Lake Metigoshe still warm my heart. We talked about life, love, nutrition, books, etc.  While preparing for Wayland you had a list of books to read during the summer. You especially enjoyed Bronte so I received a copy as one of my cherished gifts from you. Speaking of Wayland, I remember moving you into your room. You, your Mom, and I shopped and packed our little car so full of treasures (some not recommended for your dorm-such as a microwave) that we laughed until we cried. The catch was that we still had to find a place for us to ride, then carry everything up several flights of stairs. On another visit to Wayland, your Mom and I beamed with pride watching you represent your class during the homecoming coronation. Your natural beauty and genuine caring for people were recognized and embraced by everyone that knew you. Your teachers were among your fans too, what glowing reports from them!

You were my walking buddy in many settings. During your time living and working in Minneapolis, I loved going there for business so we could meet for lunch and/or a long walk. The path around the lake close to your apartment was a favorite. I need one of those walks now my dear niece–a hug too, please.

Last summer when you were home, our visit until 3:00 a.m. was priceless. You became the woman I aspired to be in my wildest dreams. I held my breath when you entered the Jungle of Peru, waiting for your next email. It came and another adventure had been accomplished. As I look daily at the Jane Evershed calendar you gave me, I realize how wise you were to reach out and embrace life so completely. Every day counted with you.

Sports-- you excelled with such apparent ease and grace! Water skiing was not exciting enough, within a week you were on one ski, then no skis. Tennis, golf, snow skiing, you mastered all of them. Did I ever tell you how much I admired you? I believe I did. The most incredible aspect of your outstanding athletic ability was that you were never conceited about it. Bragging was not your style, and your ability spoke for itself. Kindness and encouragement was the “Annie” way.

Neuman, what a big charmer! You and Erik have been wonderful parents to him. He even likes the treats I bake for him, how tactful. It was heartwarming to watch you interact with your nieces and nephews, the love was so apparent. The fact that you thought ahead for their college funds is amazing and so like you. The love you gave your parents and brother was also obvious, and they adored you with good reason. You are the daughter, sister, sister-in-law, granddaughter, aunt, niece, cousin, and friend everyone would choose.

You will never be forgotten. The gift of your memory will live with your family and many friends forever. Annie, you are so very much loved.

“In the moments when we think of those who have gone before us to Heaven ... at those moments, they are thinking of us, too.”


Posted by Jodi Bergman October 25 2001:


I met Ann about 8 years ago when she was working at Dain Bosworth in Minneapolis. We were both learning the business and I was on one of my first trips from New York. I felt a connection to her because we were both young women in the business (however, she was so much more confident than me and I admired her). Over the years we spoke on and off as we focused on different products.

When Ann moved to Chicago and I came back to work from maternity leave, we became much closer. I started selling agencies and Ann was my first call every day. She made me a better salesperson because I felt challenged every morning to call her with the best information I could provide. When she called me to say she was leaving the business, I was excited, jealous and devastated all at once. What would I do every day? I found myself turning to my colleague at least once a week and saying "I miss Ann". I would get updates on her adventures from a mutual friend.

When I heard Ann moved to New York I was so excited. I called her and we immediately made plans to go out after work one night and get a drink. We met at a trendy bar and one drink turned into three hours of talking about everything. She wasn't a customer anymore but I could tell that she was going to be a great friend. The next day we both came into work and made plans for the next time we could meet. We met about a month or so later at a little Italian restaurant in SoHo. Once again we talked for hours  about everything. Then I went on maternity leave.

I came back to work right after Labor Day and called Ann. Her first comment was "I bought a present for the baby, when are we getting together?" We made plans for the end of September and I couldn't wait to see her again. She was so easy to talk to and I loved to spend time with her. I miss her.


Posted by Kelly Mogen October 2001:


I have known Ann since we were in grade school, riding the same bus to school. I have several memories of Ann, but I'll share just a few of my favorites.

I was reading one of the other memorials posted about Ann going to camps and I had to share my camp story. Ann and I went to 4-H beef camp together (yes, Ann went to cattle camp) when we were about 12 or 13 years old. Seeing how neither one of us took or steers to camp (optional), we had to find someone to share with. Somehow we ending up sharing with some cute boys instead of some nice girls. Pretty sure beef camp was more about boys for us that year than cattle.

Ann took me to the state fair that same year I think. As most of you know, Ann has no fear. I, on the other hand, carry a disclaimer for things I will not do. Two of them involve hanging upside down and heights. Ann started off easing me into the ground rides and then slowly wearing me down. For those of you who never noticed, Ann's persistant. If she wants it, she'll get it. Well she wanted me to ride on this ride that went way up in the air and spun you upside down continually. I refused, she persisted, I refused, she promised I'd live, after 30 minutes, she won. However, I screamed the entire time and she literally had to pry my fingers from the bar when it was time to get off. After that she wanted to do the upside down rollercoaster, but this time I put my foot down, or more accurately, my butt. Right in the middle of the midway until she agreed to let me go on the Spider, I told her I was done with upside down and way up in the air. She told me she'd meet me in 2 hours right here and promptly walked away. Then we spent an hour waiting for her dad at the car in the parking lot, but by the time he showed up, we were laughing so hard about the day we could hardly stand.

Ann and I also spent a long weekend together at Lake Metigoshi the year after we graduated from our respective schools. It was one of those weekends that I've never had since and will cherish forever. It was just the two of us for a long weekend with nothing to do but talk and laugh and ride bike and boat and eat. We slept when we felt like, talked about our dreams for the future and our goals and anything else we could think of. We never ran out of things to say and never got in a spat, we just relaxed and enjoyed each others company. That's just how it was with us.

Ann and I still got together every year without fail at Christmas time. We would meet at each others house or at the bar and talk and talk and laugh and laugh. The important thing was, we were both always late, so it never bothered either one of us when we weren't one time. This past Christmas we met at the Palermo bar and she and Eric and I visited about what had been going on (taking time off of work, Peru) and what was up next, namely New York City. We chatted about my work and kids, the normal stuff. I always think Ann and I were each others alter egos, I had the kids, the husband, she had the big city jobs, huge dogs and no fear of the next step. We got a taste of the other world from each other but just enjoyed watching the happiness our lives brought to us. I will so miss those visits, it always made my Christmas more special.

Ann, you were so special to me. You were a true friend, the kind that stands by you no matter what. We were always friends, through our good times and our bad. Thank you for your love, your support, your laughter and your wisdom. But thank you most for your unconditional friendship. I love you


Posted by John Trana (Classmate at SHS) October 2001:


My memory is really bad, but seeing her dance with Doug K. at the reunion was pretty funny. The memory that keeps running through my head when I close my eyes is seeing her walk into the TWO WAY and walk up to the bar. I was sitting at a table with (I think) Taylor, Sauber, Melvin Gross, Jackie, and I don't know who else. She walked over to us and said she was kinda nervous to come back to the reunion because she didn't graduate with us. It struck me as kind of funny. I assured her that it was great that she came and she joined our table. If I had one sentence to describe Ann I guess it would be…

Ann was special because she made you feel better about yourself.


Posted by John Stechmann ( October 2001:


Ann and I were acquaintances during our senior year at Wayland, 1988-89. During that year I was the equipment manager on the ski team, and helped set up the courses that Ann usually mastered at team practice on Wednesdays and Sundays at Cascade Mountain. She was an enthusiastic skier who enjoyed the competition on, and the camaraderie off, the ski hill.

Ann and I also were classmates in English AP and European History AP that year. Her dedication to scholastic achievement was evident, which is why she graduated at the top of our class. Wayland served Ann well, and vice versa.

My fondest memory of Ann concerns a surreptitious excursion in Spring 1989. Ann wanted to go shopping for a new dress, so we decided to skip class and head down to Chicago on a shopping spree. While the Wayland administration mistakenly(!) believed we were visiting a prospective college, Ann and I drove in my parents' 1987 Ford LTD to the Water Tower Plaza, where we spent the day browsing the stores and eating lunch. I didn't pay attention to the gas gauge on the way back to Beaver Dam, but luckily Ann noticed the problem and we were able to coast into the next gas station on fumes. I am pretty sure she wore the dress she had bought at the Laura Ashley store at an Assembly when she was honored for her academics. We enjoyed the inside joke of, "Hey nice dress! Where ever did you get it?!?"

Although I did not know her well, and even though I have not been in touch with her for many years, I do have some wonderful memories of Ann from the Wayland years. I hope her family and friends remember her pretty smile and happy outlook on life, and take comfort in the knowledge that she touched the lives of many persons in ways they'll never know.


Posted by Brad Karl October 2001:


I am a friendly acquaintance of Ann’s from Wayland and I thought it was important to tell those of you who loved her, what you surely already know; Ann was someone special who touched everyone she met. I was not Ann’s best friend, boyfriend or relative but simply one of those random people who remembers her as the sweetest kind of person you would ever hope to meet. I hope there is some comfort in knowing that her smile reached wide and far.

Brad Karl


Posted by Mel Johnson ( October 2001:


While I can't think of any big event stories, I'd like to share a couple of everyday moments with my Annie.

For some reason, I keep thinking about how I drug Ann to cheerleading camp one year. Annie and I had been going to Norwegian camp together for a few years, so I figured a little begging could talk her into yet another summer camp. I talked her into going, and the camp was a complete disaster. Annie stayed in our room for most of it. She never made me feel bad for dragging her there even though it was every bit as miserable as she knew it would be, and she never said "I told you so." There was a significant amount of teasing, but all good natured.

Her mischievous streak also got us into trouble at times. One Metigoshe weekend Annie decided we had to go visit the Bottineau ski hill. There were no cars available except a very old work truck of my dad's that only ran occasionally. I had been told not to drive it, but Annie pointed out it was only 10 miles, and we would be back long before anyone noticed. We made it about six before the engine blew. Apparently the truck went through more oil than gas. As we waited for someone to come rescue us, I sat crying- worried about what dad would do (this was the second pickup I had killed, not to mention a couple large dents in other vehicles). My big cousin (three months older) knew exactly what to say to get me giggling instead. We decided she would have to do the driving after that.

Annie's heart of gold, mischievous grin, and special insight always had the ability to make any situation better, and quickly turn tears into giggles.

I miss you Annie- thank you for everything.

Our Past, Present and Future

A time when the blinders
Will fall helpless from our eyes
Once more we’ll see the spirits of our past
Once more their presence will be fully realized.cont.