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Anne Baldwin Davidson Lester

Born May 19, 1925, in Chicago to Frederic A. Davidson and Louise van Zelm Davidson.

Died April 5, 2024, in her home (Horizon House) in Seattle.

Anne was raised with her three brothers in New Rochelle, NY.  She was among the first graduating class (1942) from Isaac E. Young High School.  She taught herself to make fudge, fast, to entertain her older brothers and their buddies.  Her record was 11 minutes, from start to hard-in-the-pan.  She kept making fudge for the rest of her life.  She learned to sail and raced her Star sailboat on Long Island Sound from the Huguenot Yacht Club.

Anne graduated from Mt. Holyoke College with the class of ’46.  She told about the strange experience of attending an all-women’s college during wartime while most of the young men were serving overseas.  Of being a “heat cop” to close dorm windows, and of limited travel due to gas rationing.  In college she made life-long friends.

In 1948 she married James S. Lester, and together they raised five daughters in Media, PA; Chappaqua, NY; Peoria, IL; Huron, OH; and Greenwich, CT, and vacationed on Lake George, NY.   Anne ran the household.  She made matching Halloween costumes and one-of-a kind birthday cakes with fudge frosting, and created unique story-telling Christmas cards every year.  Anne taught her daughters and nieces and nephews to swim and waterski and play frantic card games of Demon at the dining table.

She commuted from Greenwich to Bank Street Graduate School of Education in Manhattan, earning a master’s degree in special education in 1977.  While on campus, in a casual conversation with a 20-something classmate, Anne mentioned having children.  “I have five,” she said.  “The oldest is a lawyer in Rochester, and the second is working toward a master’s in wildlife biology in Montana.  My third works in urban transportation planning in Seattle, and my fourth teaches math in Sacramento.  Polly, my youngest, is studying accounting in Massachusetts.”  The classmate replied, “Oh, Anne!  Isn’t it nice that at least your youngest is a girl.” Anne replied, “Actually, they’re all girls!”  Anne loved telling that story.

Anne divorced in 1976, and traded her suburban house for a co-op on the upper west side of Manhattan.  She tutored children with reading disabilities, and with a partner, started a business called Manhattan Resources, providing customized services to seniors to enable them to remain as independent as possible in their own homes.  She walked to Central Park with her lawn chair for a Simon and Garfunkel concert, and sailed her remote control model sailboat in one of the little Central Park lakes. She loved Zabar’s, tall ships on the Hudson, and hosting family and friends. 

In 1993, Anne retired and moved to Seattle.  She lived in the Sand Point neighborhood and was active in the Sand Point Community Housing Association, passionately promoting the transitional housing project for formerly homeless people on the old Navy base.  Anne frequently took off to see the world, walking on the Great Wall of China, rafting the Green River in Utah, and exploring the Makah reservation in Neah Bay on the Washington coast.  

She moved into Horizon House in 2007.  She loved the convenient location and the camaraderie of Horizon House.  She said it felt like moving into a college dorm.  She participated in many of the resident-run committees and activities.  The executive director once told us, “Your mom was the vice president of everything.”  She made some great friends.

Anne’s family members include daughters Polly (Jim), Jane, Martha, Amy (Mark), and Susan; grandchildren Nina, Lisa, Camilo, Alex, Zack, Aaron, and Benjamin (Brianna); and great grandchildren Vanessa, Jaymes, and Ryan.  There will be a family ceremony to scatter Anne’s ashes from a Washington State Ferry.

Anne frequently expressed gratitude for her good health, long life, family, and the many friends she made along the way.  She never considered herself particularly smart, athletic, or adventurous, qualities she admired in others.  Her life would suggest otherwise.

We love you, and miss you, Mom.  Eat fudge.


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