Obituary Reports the death of an individual, providing an account of the person’s life including their achievements, any controversies in which they were involved, and reminiscences by people who knew them.

Anne Klemmer

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Anne (Nan) S. Klemmer, 94, of New York City and formerly Chappaqua, mother, grandmother, teacher, artist, reader and master gardener, died June 15 of natural causes.

A complex fusion of a traditional Catholic mother and modern feminist advocating for women’s place in the world of work and public affairs, she raised seven children and was also a teacher, school librarian, gallerist and writer. She served on the board of the Katonah Art Gallery and co-curated a successful show of Mayan art and antiquities, gathering pieces from many institutions, including the Harvard and Penn museums.

Later, Nan pursued her love of history and literature by researching and writing a biography of Mary Young Cheney Greeley, the wife of journalist and politician, Horace Greeley, whose homestead sat yards away in Chappaqua. While never published, the biography depicted Mary Greeley’s advocacy for women, her challenging marriage and her work as a school teacher and suffragette.

After moving back to New York City in 2014, Nan maintained her interest in the arts, gardening and literature, with frequent visits to art institutes, gardens and performances. She also continued to hone her portrait art and piano playing, producing finished oil paintings and short piano recitals. As a master gardener, Nan was a veritable encyclopedia of plant species, Latin nomenclature and growing patterns and could be relied on for advice on what thrives where and when, regardless of the landscape or habitat being cultivated.

Anne Therese Serena Klemmer was born March 31, 1928, and raised in Brooklyn by her parents, Francis John and Margaret Elizabeth (Flood) Serena. Frank worked in insurance after an early stint in the American Hat Company factory. Margaret was a bookkeeper and homemaker. Nan was the valedictorian of her class at St. Brendan’s High School and had the highest score on the Brooklyn Diocese Catholic College Entrance Exam, winning a full scholarship to St. Joseph’s College for Women. She graduated with honors and pursued an early career in advertising and as a model.

It is in the latter role that Capt. Raymond Klemmer spotted her and began a courtship, while he flew jets for the Army and Air Force. They were married in 1952 and subsequently settled in Chappaqua where they lived for 56 years. After many years of a good and blessed marriage, Raymond predeceased her in 2008.

Along with her Catholic faith and deep belief in the value of a good education, Nan’s lifelong love affair with the world of ideas and books was well noted. Her reading was voluminous and wide-ranging. Her finest possession, according to her telling, was a copy of the 50-volume set of the Harvard Classics (Eliot’s Five-Foot Shelf), which she purchased for $20 when times were lean in her early adulthood.

Nan’s proudest legacy and greatest devotion was to her family. In addition to her seven children, she nurtured and mentored 22 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and served as counsel to countless others.

She is survived by her brother-in-law, Kenneth, of Camden, Maine; her seven children, Timothy (Jane) of Briarcliff Manor, Anthony (Jennifer) of Newport, R.I., Andrew of Scarsdale, Gregory (Alexandra) of Needham Mass., Elizabeth of New York City, Dr. Sarah Girardi of Mount Kisco and Katherine (Tom) Terry of Bedford; her 22 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on June 20 at The Church of Saint John & Saint Mary in Chappaqua. A reception was held afterward at Sarah Girardi’s home.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to St. Joseph’s College, 245 Clinton Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11205 or by visiting https://giving.sjcny.edu/donation-form.

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