November 3, 1918 ~ January 22, 2009
Anna Mae Bearrow was born on Jansy Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on either November 2 or 3, 1918. For years, she celebrated November 2 but midlife she requested a birth certificate and found out that it said she was born November 3. Since she was born at home and the birth was registered sometime later at the courthouse, the truth will remain an eternal mystery. She enjoys having 2 days to celebrate instead of just one. She was welcomed into this world by her parents Augusta and Leo Bearrow and an older sister Dolores.
The family moved often as her father followed work in his chosen profession as a bricklayer. They lived in Michigan and Ohio as well as various localities in the Pittsburgh area. Her father died as a young man and the small band of 3 lived with relatives, often helping out in family owned corner stores. She always had lots of funny stories about those years including eating a lot of penny candy out of the candy cases and homemade ice cream. Her sweet tooth followed her for her entire life – enjoying the "Ensure" in her later years only when it was billed as a milkshake.
As a teen, she attended and graduated from St. Lawrence High School in Pittsburgh. She remained close with almost all of her 20 classmates throughout her entire life. Some of her favorite activities were traipsing all over Pittsburgh on the streetcars to date lots of cute guys and to go rollerskating. She went to comptompeter school and graduated. When Rand drugstore bought a brand new machine, she was hired to accompany her Burroughs machine and worked at this position for many years. She met William John Kennelly one night while rollerskating. She dated him for a while but decided he was too much of a momma's boy and quit dating him. He was drafted and went off to Boot Camp at Camp Edwards in Massachusetts. On leave, he asked her to go out with him and she consented, doing her civic duty. One thing led to another and she traveled to Buzzard's Bay, Massachusetts in February of 1942 to marry her beloved Bill.
After the war, they lived in a small apartment above his father's plumbing shop. Bill worked for many years for his father as a plumber. On New Years Day, 1947 she delivered the first of her three children, Joann. Bill and his father built them a brand new house on the main drag, Brookline Boulevard. Jack joined Joann on October 25, 1948 and Judy filled out the "three J's" on November 5, 1951.
As a young couple, in addition to their own little crew, they always found room to share their home with a relative in need. Her mother lived with them until she passed away at 76 years of age. Her second cousin, Eddie Markmeyer with whose family she lived as a child, lived with them off and on until he died.
In April of 1958, she convinced Bill that they needed to move to California because her sister and her family were moving to Torrance because Dolores' husband had secured a job as an English teacher at El Camino College. So, Bill and Ed (Dolores' husband) drove to California to see if Bill could find work. He did. And Anna Mae and he moved to Torrance with our family. In fact, her sister and her family never did move. So, the sisters were separated anyway. To this day, her sister's family still lives in Pittsburgh.
In California, the small family soon bought a house in Gardena, joining St. Anthony of Padua parish. Anna Mae became very involved as President of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and as a favorite chauffeur for the Sisters of Providence. She really honed her driving skills both on and off the freeways with the sisters. They became very involved in the Gardena parish and most of their friends were from this same community. They only lived in Gardena a few years, when they decided to help Bill follow his dream of opening his own plumbing store. The family moved to Santa Barbara to open Coast Pool Repair and Plumbing. They were only there for a few months when Bill was diagnosed with cancer. He suffered valiantly for three years and passed away. Anna Mae was the cement that held the family together through this tough time. Not only was she the spiritual strength for the family but also secured a job as a telephone operator and became the primary financial support for the family.
Bill died in 1964 and the family wasn't happy until they returned to Gardena to the same street they had lived on previously. They were very happy to rejoin the St. Anthony community. She continued working for the telephone company making many lifelong friends. Jack gave her a beloved grandson, Ryan in 1973. She retired in 1984. She kept up with many friends she developed while at the telephone company but developed many new friends though bowling and St. Anthony Senior Citizen Club. She held several offices including treasurer and president. Even as she got older and sicker, she continued to go to the meetings.
In her later years, she suffered from many things including diabetes, an amputation and Alzheimer's disease. Through all of it she was graceful, loving and friendly. She became even closer to her family and friends during this time. Even to the end, she loved "running the streets". She really enjoyed going to the movies, gambling and going out to eat.
She was truly a blessing to our family and our community. She will be truly missed.