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PASSAGES Ann Morris
2020-03-17

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Ann Morris passed away March 7. She was 67.

Ann was born in Chicago on April 5, 1952, and grew up in Texas. She returned to Chicago to attend the University of Chicago where she earned her BA in general studies in the humanities in 1975 and received her MA from the Graduate Library School in 1981.

She became involved in the lesbian feminist community while in college. She was a co-founder of Hot Wire Magazine and a member of Artemis Singers. [Editor's note: The group Artemis Singers is Chicago's lesbian feminist chorus.] She was a founding member of the the Queens Rule Poker Club and helped to design the group's popular card deck, which contains not a queen, lady and maiden instead of a king, queen and jack.

Ann's career as a law librarian began while she was still in graduate school. She served as Head of Circulation at the U of C Law School Library from 1976-1979.

Her additional professional timeline included:

1980-1982: Law librarian, Gardner, Carton & Douglas

1982-1983: Head librarian, Rooks Pitts & Poust

1983-1984: Director of the library, Holleb & Coff, Ltd.

1984-2015: Head librarian, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Ann retired from Skadden et al in February, 2015.

Her professional association memberships included the Chicago Association of Law Libraries ( CALL ), the Special Libraries Association ( SLA ), and the American Association of Law Libraries ( AALL ). She was still a member of the AALL at the time of her death.

Ann and her wife, Vada Woods, met through Artemis Singers and were legally wed Feb. 24, 2012. Throughout their 36-year relationship Ann and Vada enjoyed sports—especially supporting women's sports—most recently as season ticket holders with the Chicago Sky since the team entered the WNBA as well as theater, music and dance concerts, and travel. In addition to Artemis Singers, Ann sang alongside Vada as members of the Sing To Live Choir. Ann was also a member of the Skokie Concert Choir.

In addition, she served on the boards of the Thousand Waves Foundation and the Skokie Concert Choir.

Ann began her battle with breast cancer in 1993 and, after initial surgery and chemotherapy, enjoyed 15 years of good health. In 2008, an examination revealed metastasis and Ann fought a fierce battle with the disease, undergoing numerous treatments as well as many wonderful times with Vada and a wide circle of friends, before passing peacefully at Evanston Hospital.

Micki Leventhal, a close friend of Ann, told Windy City Times, "My spouse, Con, and I met Ann and Vada in the late '80s, when we first came out into the Chicago lesbian community—probably at a Mountain Moving Coffeehouse event. We would socialize at parties celebrating the seasons, at Artemis Singers concerts and many other fun occasions. Con is also a member of the Queens Rule poker group. But it has been over the past ten or so years, that our friendship has really grown. We are huge fans of performing arts and enjoyed a wide and eclectic range of theater, music and dance together—even dubbing our foursome the 'Culture Vulture Crew.'

"Over the years, as Ann's struggle with cancer continued, I often marveled at her ability to continue to revel in the joys of life rather than dwell on the negative. She, with Vada an absolute rock of love and support at her side, was a model of grace, courage and dignity to her final breath."

Ruth Clark—a member of Artemis Singers and the Queens Rule Poker Club—added, "I've been friends with Ann and Vada for over 35 years. Ann began singing with Artemis within a few years of its founding in 1980 and was a stalwart in the group for many years. With her dry wit and innate practicality, Ann could be depended upon to quell unnecessary drama that threatened to derail us during rehearsal.

"As one of the several musical directors within Artemis, Ann was precise and exacting as she taught or conducted a piece of music. Each of us who sang under her direction remembers fondly to this day the specific care she took to enliven a phrase or draw out new meaning from a verse that we had sung many times before."

Friend Toni Armstrong Jr. said, "Goodbye to our sweet friend Ann Morris, who passed away tonight in Chicago. Ann was a HOT WIRE magazine cofounder, and was involved for many years with Artemis Singers lesbian chorus. It's an understatement to say she will be missed."

A memorial service is being planned and will occur sometime after the COVID-19 outbreak is under control.


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