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Ann Cole, passed away peacefully in her sleep in Taos, New Mexico on New Year’s Day, 2023. She was an elegant 84 years old.
Ann was born in 1938 in Los Angeles, California to parents McClellan (“Max”) and Dorothy. She met her first husband, John Dwyer, in high school, and they married after graduation. They had their one and only son, Matthew, in 1961.
After an amicable divorce around 1964 and several years of bouncing between coasts, Ann and Matt moved to Laguna Beach, California. There Ann ran her own successful yarn / needlepoint, macramé shop, creating original designs and teaching those skills to others.
In the mid 1970’s Ann and Matt relocated to Alexandria, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. Over the next 20 years or so, Ann worked on Capitol Hill for several Congressmen, worked as a lobbyist for the NRA (the National ** Restaurant ** Association), worked as a lobbyist for the National Association of Towns and Townships, and eventually created a position for herself as the Small Town Advocate for the EPA.
In the mid-1990s when she discovered she could take early retirement -- and having grown tired of Alexandria, Washington, and government work – she started looking for someplace to live with a more creative vibe. In 1997 she packed-up her life, drove out to Taos with her first standard poodle, Charlie, and moved into a lovely little house on Millicent Rogers Road.
In 1999, she sold that first house and bought an older adobe house out on the Valdez Rim Road, which she renovated -- doing most of the painting and floor and tile work herself -- and where she lived for several years with Charlie and a white rescue dog, Bob.
Around 2008, she decided that the Rim Road location was a bit too isolated and far from town, so she moved into a studio in downtown Taos, and later into an apartment above the John Dunn House Shops. She spent the next decade or so as a regular fixture downtown with her beloved poodle canine companions Marco and Bella, who preceded Barkley, her current dog.
All her life, and especially during her time in Taos, Ann was wonderfully creative and artistic, something she inherited from her parents. Her works range from acrylic paintings to polymer clay beads and sculptures, to pastel paintings, to wooden doll houses for a while, to monochromatic dimensional paintings -- most of which were shown and sold in a variety of local galleries and shops.
Throughout her 25 years in Taos, Ann was adored for her humor; her friendly, outgoing nature; her elegance; her sophisticated artistic sensibilities – but perhaps mostly for her standard poodles, her constant companions. As can happen with dog owners, she was known by many not as “Ann,” but as “Charlie, Bob, Bella, Marco and Barkley’s mother.” They were fixtures around the John Dunn shops and the Plaza but were recognizable wherever they went.
Ann leaves behind her son, Matthew; the afore-mentioned poodle, Barkley; and a close family of people who love her more than she probably realized.
The family is planning a private gathering. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Stray Hearts Animal Shelter either online at: www.strayhearts.org, or by mail at: P.O. Box 622, Taos, NM 87571. Or call (575) 758-2981 for further information.
The family of Ann Cole has entrusted the care of their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home of Taos. 866-657-4019 www.devargastaos.com
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