Konneker, Ann Lee
Ann Lee Hancock Konneker was born and raised in Olean, New York to Robert and Ada Hancock. She graduated from The Ohio State University in 1945. While there, she joined the Chi Omega Sorority - an organization that she remained active throughout her life. She was Chair of the Chi Omega Women's Self-Government Association, and was a finalist in the Miss Ohio State contest. She married Wilfred Konneker, and they had one daughter, Barbara.
Ann Lee's family, including her older sister, Jane, spent summers at nearby Chautauqua Institution (NY), a place that remained important to her all her life. She loved sharing stories of her younger days with Jane at Chautauqua. She and Will purchased a summer home there and continued to enjoy many summers with their daughter, and later, their grandkids. They would load up the luggage and the Doberman, and make the drive from St. Louis to Chautauqua, often stopping to visit dear friends in Ohio.
Ann Lee and Will moved from Ohio to St. Louis when he attended Washington University and obtained his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics. It was in St. Louis that Ann Lee and Will really blossomed into the philanthropic life. Ann Lee was involved with The Center of Contemporary Arts (COCA), Dance Saint Louis, as well as the Missouri Botanical Garden, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the Saint Louis Symphony, The Sheldon Concert Hall, St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, and a host of others along with her dedication to Chi Omega, serving on the Chi Omega Foundation Board. They loved the St. Louis Zoo and have been strong supporters for years - you can still walk the Konneker Hippo Trail. Ann Lee loved her golf cart tours of the Zoo later in her life, and she loved hearing about the new things they were doing there. She and Will loved music as well, enjoying many performances at Opera Theatre, the Saint Louis Symphony and The Sheldon. They especially loved traveling to Santa Fe, New Mexico to attend the Santa Fe Opera.
Ann Lee took on the project of restoring the Grosvenor House at Ohio University in Athens (Will's alma mater) after she and Will purchased it for Ohio University to use as an alumni center. She and several others traveled extensively, locating period furnishings and decor to restore it to its early 1900's origins of Greek Revival Design. The Konneker Alumni Center is still a vital part of Ohio University today.
Ann Lee and Will's pride and joy in later years (besides their daughter and grandchildren/great-grandchildren) were their Cutler Scholars, coming from both Will's high school, McClain, in Greenfield, Ohio, and Ann Lee's Olean High School in New York. Ann Lee continued to enjoy hearing from these 'kids' and learning of their educational experiences, adventures and life after college.
One of Ann Lee's last accomplishments was helping the vision of a new Zeta Alpha House at The Ohio State University become a reality. Chi Omega has begun construction of the new house in Columbus, Ohio, which is hoped to be completed by Spring 2021.
Ann Lee joined her beloved Will on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, and we know he was there with open arms waiting to escort her to heaven. They will celebrate their 75th anniversary together in heaven next Spring. 'Together at last, may Ann Lee and Will rest in peace.'?
Ann Lee lived a full life to the age of 95, and is survived by her daughter, Barbara, her grandchildren, Cara (Drew) and Trey (Shannon), her great-grandchildren, Michael, Levi and Naomi, and her nephew, Jeff. She and Will were blessed to have Will's Executive Assistant, Sue Winter, who started in the office with Dr. K in 1977, along with great caregivers who helped them enjoy life in the later years.
In lieu of flowers, donations for the Primate Canopy Trail at the Saint Louis Zoo would be a wonderful gesture of your love and friendship for Ann Lee.
Services: Due to COVID restrictions, we will only have a small immediate family celebration of her life.