Juneau resident Anna R. Hitchcock, 103, died March 28, 2004, in her bed at Wildflower Court in Juneau on the eve of her 104th birthday.
Born Anna Renje in Periam, Hungary on March 29, 1900, she immigrated to America at age three and grew up on a farm in Pittsburgh, Pa. She spent her teen years in Hungary during World War I and returned to America in 1919, where she met and married William J. Hitchcock of Oxford, N.Y. She worked as a seamstress, quickly moving into management, where she supervised as many as 300 stitchers in New York's garment industry. Before long she was known as an excellent troubleshooter and worked all along the Northeast coast, solving factory problems and securing appropriate wages for workers. She ran two factories in Lowell, Mass., including a secret factory that produced all the parachutes used in the invasion of Normandy at the end of World War II. In her retirement she opened her house and heart to Colombian immigrants in Florida, whom she called her boys. Her name will be placed on the wall at Ellis Island, where she and her family entered the United States.
Her family wrote, "She was quoted as attributing her longevity to always working hard and having gainful employment well into her 80s. She was always sympathetic to the plight of immigrants and believed that everyone should have the opportunity in America that she enjoyed. She was noted by staff as a Grande Damme of Wildflower Court and will be missed by all who had the great pleasure of knowing her sunny, spunky spirit."
She is survived by her sons, George R. Hitchcock and William D. Hitchcock of Orleans, Mass.; grandson, David Hitchcock of Nantucket, Mass.; granddaughters, Susan Hitchcock of Juneau, Destiny Hitchcock of Los Angeles, Calif., Audrey Ramini of San Francisco, Calif., Gretel Norgeot and Karen Corrigan of Orleans, Mass., Leslie Franke of Eastham, Mass.; and 11 great-grandchildren.