Anna Marjory Barrett was born in Billings, Montana on December 21, 1921 to Frank P. and Ida G. Gregowski. She later moved with her parents and brother to Fillmore, California, where another brother and a sister joined the family. In Fillmore, Anna spent her childhood, graduated from high school, learned clerical skills, and worked for a telephone company.
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Family vacations to beaches and national parks inspired Anna’s lifelong love of travel. One trip was especially significant. In 1946, while visiting her solider brother in Chicago, Illinois, Anna met Roy George Barrett, another solider who was her brother’s friend. The rest is, as they say, history. Anna corresponded by mail with Roy—who nicknamed her “Rusty” for her beautiful red hair—until a letter enclosing a one-way ticket to Seattle, Washington arrived. Roy was stationed with the Army Air Corp in Anchorage, Alaska at the time. Though he wished for Anna to join him, Roy could only afford the trip to Seattle. Despite her parents’ distress, Anna used that ticket. She stayed at a Seattle hotel until the Anchorage trip was affordable. She then joined Roy in Anchorage, where the two were married on February 29, 1948—a leap year date Roy hoped would reduce the number of anniversary celebrations. Anna worked at Northern National Bank in Anchorage, while Roy serviced airplanes at Lake Hood. Not only did she love their life together in Alaska but she also deeply loved Alaska.
In November 1951, Roy and Anna drove the unpaved Alcan highway to report for duty in Great Falls, Montana—a drive she remembered fondly and described as one of the most beautiful she ever made.
Roy and Anna soon learned Anna was pregnant. In Alaska, the young couple had lost two children shortly after birth, so Roy insisted that Anna spend this pregnancy with her parents in California. A daughter, Barbara, was born to the couple in June 1952. A second daughter, Deborah, was born in Great Falls in September 1953. And while Roy was stationed at March AFB in California, the place of his next assignment, two sons were born—Robert, in May 1955, and Thomas, in September 1956.
The family of six moved together to Panama, Central America in 1957, traveling from California to the East Coast in a blue Mercury station wagon Roy retrofit to include sleeping space for their four young children. After four interesting years of service in Panama—service that included riots, jungle fires, and frequent TDY for Roy—Roy was transferred to Ent AFB in Colorado Springs. Roy retired in Colorado in 1970, after serving 30 years. And in 1974, he died after a long battle with cancer.
When she lost the love of her life, Anna became fiercely independent. She supported her teenage children. She maintained her home. She became adept at small home repairs. And she became a passionate gardener. She loved the independence of driving, a skill she learned late in life and which reignited her love of travel. After her children graduated from high school, Anna hit the road. She alone put 200,000 miles on her cars, and she traveled many more miles with friends and family. Her travels took her from coast to coast, to many national parks and monuments, and to countless other destinations full of family history, windmills, and bridges (all her favorites).
She spent time caring for and visiting her growing family, whom she loved and who loved her. All her children married, and eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren were added to the family. She loved sharing with her family the memories she collected in 80 photo albums, each page filled with pictures and other thoughtful reminders of her life’s adventures. For the last five years of her life, she talked to each of her children almost every day.
She also was loved by friends, neighbors, and care providers.
Illness may have limited her ability to travel at age 85, but it did not dampen her independent spirit. Her passion for gardening produced a beautiful yard. She plucked dandelions, trimmed grass with shears, and meticulously pruned flowers and shrubs to create the best lawn in the neighborhood. She pridefully reviewed the fruits of her labors from inside her home as her health deteriorated.
Anna passed in her home in the early morning hours of December 6, 2018. A beautiful sunrise marked the moment she rejoined the love of her life for 72 years. She will be laid to rest beside Roy on December 17, 2018. A celebration of their lives will be held in Spring 2019.
In lieu of flowers, Anna requested that memorial contributions be made to the Caring Friends Fund at the San Juan Cancer Center, PO Box 2108, Montrose, Colorado 81402.