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Anna Hayes – In Memoriam
Anna Hayes – the sweet, petite, whistling French woman known to two generations of Baltimore area students as Mme. Hayes – passed away peacefully on March 3, 2022 at The Village at Augsburg. The Étain, France native and longtime Maryland resident was 92.
Anna was the youngest of seven children born to Italian WWI veteran and stone cutter Guiseppe “Antoine” Rossi and his wife Orsola Avascan. She was also the only member of her family to begin life in France – owing that distinction to her father’s skill-related relocation, which was employed for the rebuilding around post-war Verdun.
Anna’s working-class background instilled in her early the value of earnest labor. But it was witnessing WWII as a child which ultimately shaped her unassuming demeanor and discerning spirit. First, with the fear wrought by observing the arbitrary cruelty of the Nazi occupation. Then later, sensing the determination conveyed by the advancing troops of Gen. Patton’s Third Army, and the affability of the airmen of the Ninth Air Force, who were stationed nearby at captured Luftwaffe airdromes.
Anna once explained this contrast by saying that, while walking home from school during the Nazi occupation, she was asked by a Gestapo officer if her brothers went out at night. Four years later, an American fighter pilot innocently asked her if she knew anything about baseball.
Being at ease around Americans, Anna would return as an adult to the Étain-Rouvres Air Base, after divorcing her first husband – musician Marc Emile Chomel. It was while working in the PX at the busy Cold War base to support her daughters, Beatrice and Sylvie, that Anna met “the love of her life” – F-86 “Sabrejet” crew chief Curtis “Larry” Hayes. A city hall marriage to Larry, the arrival of their son Anthony, and a permanent move to the United States would all soon follow.
Stateside, the young family settled in west Baltimore with Larry’s parents, Julian Curtis and Callie McLean Hayes. A second son (Julian Chester) and a daughter (Callie Ann) would round out the burgeoning household.
Anna managed the busy Baltimore home-front, while slipping away when she could to volunteer for The March of Dimes. She also embraced her American family’s Bible believing faith as an active church member for the next 50 years, beginning with more than a decade of fellowship at Brantly Baptist Church in Baltimore.
Singing in the church choir filled Anna’s heart with the praise songs she would often whistle while going about her day. But it was teaching Sunday School that set her along the path to be a full-time educator.
After several years as a substitute in the Baltimore City Public School system, Anna landed a job as a French teacher at Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore. She briefly left that job to work in a similar capacity with the Baltimore County School system, before returning to Keough (later Seton-Keough) as the proctor of the Language Lab. This final assignment was a natural for Anna, as she spoke four languages (Italian, French, German and English) and was conversant in Spanish. Anna was also quite adept in the attention-getting language of “Listen Here” – which she used to correct disruptive students, misbehaving children, and keep backyard bullies at bay.
Once she retired from Keough, Anna returned to Baltimore County as a substitute teacher. She also spent many years working evenings and weekends at a French bakery in Harbor Place, and as a supermarket cashier for the Kash and Karry chain. Anna was also an avid flea-marketeer with her own quirky collectibles table.
Throughout her life, the French teacher who never lost her accent was proud of her European heritage and of her American citizenship. Anna tirelessly took care of her extended family and was the first to offer help to someone in need. She cared for her home and her garden. She cared for her pets (mostly pug dogs), and always made sure the wildlife was fed. Anna also enjoyed passing time in the kitchen, watching the Orioles, and reading classic French novels (when she could get her hands on them.)
With her advancing age, progressive vision problems, and the onset of Parkinson’s disease, Anna lost the ability to do many of the things she loved. This was especially frustrating for her spiritual life, as Anna spent untold hours in private Bible study and prayer. Even so, her steadfast faith and giving spirit sustained the little French lady to the last, as her loving Lord Jesus clearly hugged His tender child into heaven.
Anna was preceded in death by her husband of sixty-plus years, Larry; by her parents Antoine and Orsola Rossi; by her siblings Adam, Jeanne Angele, Pierre, Gino Sebastien, Marie Therese and Modesto Giovanni, and her beloved niece Jacqueline. She is survived by daughters Beatrice Pelletier (Yves) of Mornant, France; Sylvie Boender of Ellicott City, MD; sons Anthony C. Hayes of Baltimore and Julian Chester Hayes (Mary) of Florence, SC; and by daughter Callie Ann Pugh (Dennis) of Canyon Lake, TX. Anna is also survived by grandchildren Lori-Marie, Yann, Isabelle, Jonathan and Kelsey, plus 13 great-grandchildren on two continents. Anna also leaves behind her incredibly dedicated and supportive other family at Augsburg Village, as well as many adoring cousins, nieces and nephews, neighbors and friends, including John A. “Jack” Boender and Lisa Salkov.
Funeral services will be conducted at 11 AM Tuesday March 8 at Ambrose Funeral Home in Arbutus, with Dr. Harold Passley of Halethorpe Community Church officiating. Interment will immediately follow at Lorraine Park in Woodlawn. The family will receive visitors on Monday March 7 from 3-5 PM and 7-9 PM at Ambrose Funeral Home in Arbutus. For those unable to attend, the service will be streamed on Ambrose Funeral Home’s Facebook page. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Anna’s name to: Halethorpe Community Church, or to Augsburg Lutheran Home of Baltimore - Connected Living Dept.: Attn Nancy Ernest.
The Hayes Family would again like to thank everyone at Augsburg Village and the visiting staff from Gilchrist Hospice Care.
Monday, March 7, 2022
3:00 - 5:00pm (Eastern time)
Monday, March 7, 2022
7:00 - 9:00pm (Eastern time)
Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Starts at 11:00am (Eastern time)
Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Lorraine Park Cemetery
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