Anna Mae (Annie) Avery

Anna Mae (Annie) Avery was born near Galt, IA to Dillard and Luelda (McKinley) Tudor on Feb. 3, 1932. At the age of three weeks, they moved to the Tudor farm north of Rowan. She attended school at Rowan and graduated with the class of 1949. After graduation she worked at the Azeltine grocery.

She married Robert (Bob) Avery on January 6, 1952 at the Little Brown Church near Nashua. Bob left for military service in March 1952, and she continued to work until his return in 1954.

Bob and Annie started farming in 1954 and continued until Bob’s health required to them retire in 1990. Son James (Jim) was born in 1956 and son Jack in 1958. Annie was blessed when Jim married Terri Smith in 1981. Grandchildren Abbey, Caleb, and Brogan and great grandchildren Avery, Maime, and Judah were sources of pride and gave her endless joy through the rest of her life.

Annie was deeply involved in Rowan activities, including the Rowan Yoke church and the Mary Phi Circle. She was a founding member of the Come-Join-us Club and served many terms as an Iowa Township trustee. In earlier years she was a supporter and helper in the Rowan Lions Club and then in the later years became an active member. She was also a member of the Rowan Legion Auxiliary. She was proud of working with Bob and others in town to start the Rowan Lions and Legion Labor Day Fun Day celebration that was a favored annual celebration from the late ‘60s through the early ’80’s. Time with next door neighbor Julia was a highlight of her last years in Rowan, especially summer afternoons on her front porch when the ladies of the town would gather to discuss the latest news.

As Bob and Annie’s farm success grew, they began to seriously pursue hobbies, including their shared love of horses. With their first purchase of the great horse Smoky, Annie learned to ride. Annie’s love of horses grew deeper over the rest of her life. It only took a little help to get her into the saddle when she last rode in 2018, and with determination, she was looking forward to riding again this summer.

Annie’s other passion was music and with the help of fellow Rowan musicians, including her mentor Louis Aitken, she learned to play the guitar and found the courage to sing alone in front of others. Conquering her severe stage fright by soloing under the kitchen table to her first audience, she grew to love performing – first with the Achin’ Hearts and then the Country Cousins bands, and then by herself and in small groups. Annie was especially proud of helping Terri learn to play the guitar and, over the years, she and Terri became a duo known for their guitar playing and effortless harmonizing.

For decades, Annie continued to entertain with her music throughout Iowa and surrounding states, including Texas where she and Bob spent several months each winter. She loved joining old and new musician colleagues to play at dances, fairs, festivals, and jams. She felt honored to sing at weddings nursing homes, and funerals. She sang bedside for hospice patients with the hope that her music would sooth them in their final days.

Annie was inducted in the Old Time Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and was the first time recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

Annie hated the dark, the winter, the dentist, and potatoes. She enjoyed nature, flowers, sun rises, cloud formations, trees, and animals. She enjoyed time spent with her Dows golf course crew of Lois, Pat, Marjorie, Kay, and Julia. She loved her family, her music, the many dogs and horses in her life, and the tattoo she got in her 70’s. She deeply loved her connection to Rowan, morning coffee on Main Street, Dudley’s hamburgers, and travel. In retirement, she was thrilled to reach bucket list destinations of Hawaii, New York, Washington DC, and New Orleans. Annie was very proud of having her motorcycle license when she was 65 years old. She rode a Honda 70 all around the back roads of Rowan and into town for several years. As a kid she had a Cushman scooter that she loved to ride. She was also proud that her sons and grandchildren thought she was a “pretty good shot” when target practicing.

Annie was terrified of water yet bravely watched her grandkids and great grandkids play in the creek. She loved sitting under the apple trees on the farm watching the kids play and soaking up the view and the fresh air. She delighted in the success of her birdfeeders with special thrills for the return of the orioles, cardinals, and goldfinches each year. The return of the robins each spring brought her joy as proof of the end of winter.

Nothing gave her greater joy than introducing and supporting others in the shared joys of performing or horseback riding. She taught and supported new riders though she was pretty tough with “get back on” orders if someone got tossed. She freely offered Rowan kids the chance to ride behind her so that they could join trail rides in the Woods.

Annie is preceded in death by her father in 1976, her mother in 1996, her husband and best friend Bob in 2008, Tudor and McKinley relatives, and countless dear friends.

Annie is survived by Jim and Terri, Jack and Dan, Abbey and Chris, Caleb and Keely, Brogan, and the 3 best great grandchildren in the world – Avery, Maime, and Judah. She’s also survived by Terri’s family who she loved as her own; Tudor cousins; life-long friends Pat, Wilma, and Irene; the many kids she second-parented into adulthood; and the town of Rowan which will forever be in her heart. She was so loved by so many, and loved even greater in return.

Two of Annie’s favorite charities are the Library of Rowan and the Wright County Humane Society. She would be honored to know that others donated to them in her memory.

Click here to visit the Ewing Funeral Home and Monument Company website.


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