Annie Glenn, widow of astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn, dies age 100 of COVID-19

Annie Glenn, the wife of the late astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn and a communication disorders advocate, is reported to have died at age 100.

The cause of death was COVID-19 complications.

The Glenns were married for 73 years when John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, died in 2016 at age 95.

Annie Glenn died early Tuesday morning at a nursing home near family in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was 100.


President Barack Obama and Annie Glenn, wife of former Senator John Glenn, greet each other following an event at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and Annie Glenn, wife of former Senator John Glenn, greet each other following an event at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


“She lived her entire life with a man who became universally revered, but to millions across the globe, Annie Glenn was her own kind of hero,” begins the Cincinnati Enquirer obituary for Annie Glenn:

Annie, as everyone knew her, lived in the shadow of fame, but emerged in mid-life to become an inspiration for people with disabilities around the world by overcoming the chronic stuttering that afflicted and limited her during the years her husband was becoming a household name.

She was born Anna Margaret Castor in Columbus on Feb. 17, 1920, and her father, a dentist, moved the family to New Concord, Ohio, when she was 3. Her parents joined a monthly card club called “Twice 5 Club,” which included John Glenn’s parents. She and John, who was 17 months younger, shared a playpen from whence a quintessential love story would take root.

Despite her speech impediment – she stuttered 85% of the time – Annie was a top student and readily was accepted in the close-knit college town 70 miles east of Columbus in rural Muskingum County. In the sixth grade, however, she experienced her first hint of the humiliation that would haunt her through much of her life when one of the students laughed at her as she recited a poem before the class.

“I realized I was not normal,” Annie told The Dispatch in 2007. “I was lucky to have grown up where I was accepted. When I went out in the world, even to Zanesville and Cambridge, I had a lot of hurt feelings. I knew I was loved and accepted in New Concord.”

Her husband, John Glenn died in 2016 at age 95, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

PHOTO, TOP: ANNIE GLENN AND JOHN GLENN, 1965 - NASA VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, PUBLIC DOMAIN