5 entries
  • "Her warmth and humor were always an inspiration and she..."
    - Michael McCrory
  • "Jim and I are so very sorry for this great loss. Ann was..."
    - Karleen Kubat
  • "Grampa Jim, I'm so sorry. I miss Grammy Anya a lot. I don't..."
    - Cori Kubat Hayunga
  • "Dear Jim and family, My thoughts and fond memories are..."
    - Karen Lotz-McMillen
  • "We have lost a shining ;lght in this world. We were..."
    - Madeline and Robert Rutberg
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DURELL MCCRORY--Ann 87, died at her home in the Upper West Side Saturday, May 6. As Ann Durell she was a distinguished editor and publisher of children's books and a Vice President of E.P. Dutton until her retirement in 1985. She married James T. McCrory in 1980 and is survived by him, by three beloved stepchildren, Tammy, James and John McCrory, daughter-in-laws Bryna Barsky and Karen Rutberg, son-in-law Ken Mignosa, and by five grandchildren: James and Alexis McCrory, Sean Mignosa, and Maxwell and Samuel McCrory. Ann was born in Cape May County, NJ, where her father operated a cranberry bog and later became New Jersey Assistant Commissioner of Education. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1953 following a year abroad at St. Andrews University, Scotland. After reading a biography of the pioneering editor Mary Mapes Dodge, Ann determined she too would be a children's book editor. She began her apprenticeship at Doubleday in the 1950s, then moved to Holt, Rinehart and Winston as an editor. She was recruited to E.P. Dutton in 1970. Ann worked with many noted authors including Maurice Sendak, Ellen Raskin, Lloyd Alexander, Judy Blume, Norma Klein, Steven Kellogg, Daniel Pinkwater and Bill Sleator. A New Yorker profile of Judy Blume recounted how a "gifted editor named Ann Durell" had suggested that Judy turn a rejected picture book about a little boy who swallowed a turtle into the chapter book "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing," the first in a hugely successful series. Among other honors, Ann's authors won both the Caldecott and the Newbery awards. Among publishers Ann was known variously as "the legendary Ann Durell" and "the blessed Ann Durell," the latter because, in what can be a prickly field, she was always a pleasure to work with: firm, but always good-humored and equable. In her second career, as a wife, a stepmother, and a grandmother, she was equally a star--well-prepared by her role as a favorite aunt to her extended family before that. After their marriage Ann and Jim traveled each spring and each fall to England where she was rich in friends. She preferred to stay in one place each trip, learning the local walks, the local shops, and "settling in." They went most often to stay near friends in London, in Rye, and in Bridport, Dorset. Several times Tammy and husband Ken flew in from Hong Kong to join them. Before she met Jim, Ann had a cottage on the Welsh border. She sold that in 1976 to buy, at then-depressed Manhattan prices, a classic six Riverside Drive apartment overlooking the Hudson River. In New York she was active in St. Michael's Episcopal church, tutored children in a nearby public school, and was honored as a 40-year member of the New York Society Library. Ann and Jim had a weekend house in the Catskills while both were working. After retirement they bought their beloved Chatham Oaks home on remote Upper Kimball Pond in the White Mountains. For years they spent their entire summers in New Hampshire, often joined for weeks by their children and friends. Ann's great recreation was walking, as Jim discovered after their first dinner at his bachelor apartment on 47th and 2nd Avenue. Ann suggested they go for a walk. He thought she meant around the block. To his shock, she took him on a three-mile trek up First Avenue to 86th Street and back. Their English vacations took them hundreds of miles on that country's many footpaths. Once in Devon, Ann started out at 2pm for a 12-mile walk to the Bristol Channel coast, along the cliffs of the coastal path, and then back up the Lynn River valley to their cottage. A memorial service for Ann will be held at 6pm on Saturday, May 19, at the Church of St. Edward the Martyr, 14 E. 109th St., Manhattan. Ann wrote the service herself. The service will be conducted by their old friend, the Rev. Thomas Pellaton, an Episcopal priest, and a baritone whom Jim often accompanies on the piano in chamber music programs.

Published in The New York Times on May 11, 2018
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