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In memoriam: Ann McCulloch was longtime teacher

Walter J. McBurney and Ann McCulloch

FFRF Lifetime Member Ann Pogson McCulloch, age 79, died on July 5 after a long illness. Ann was born in Niagara Falls, N.Y., on Feb. 19, 1943, the daughter of James McCulloch and Verna Mae Pogson. Ann graduated from Alfred University in 1965 and taught high school social studies at Albion High School until her retirement. 

Ann was also employed at Genesee Country Museum in Mumford, N.Y., in the art gallery for 20 years and was a staunch supporter of the mission of the Genesee Country Museum. For many years, Ann was active in the Genesee County Democratic Party and was elected and served a term on Batavia City Council. Ann also was a supporter of the Batavia Cemetery Association, FFRF, and was an active member of the Rochester Area Vegan Society. As a diabetic and a kidney transplant patient, Ann understood the benefits of a plant-based diet, especially for diabetics and for those with the difficulties of a chronic illness.

In her later years with her close friend, Walter McBurney, Ann traveled to various places for fun and to follow her interests including Madison, Wis., San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Roanoke, Va., Boston, and elsewhere. She also traveled to Scotland to explore her family heritage and to the Galapagos islands and elsewhere to explore the many wonders of the world. Ann loved to play bridge and was very well-liked at her residence, St. Ann’s at the Greens in Le Roy.

Memorials may be made to the Freedom From Religion Foundation or to Rochester Lifestyle Medicine.

Meeting Ann changed my life

By Walter J. McBurney

Ann McCulloch was on the Batavia, N.Y., City Council in 1999. At that time, Ann publicly voiced objection to the city about a nativity scene at City Hall. I heard about the controversy and contacted FFRF about the situation. FFRF responded with a complaint. The local newspaper reported on it and the publicity resulted in a public uproar for months after. The following year, the nativity scene was moved to private property. Some years later, Ann was also involved in the “Angel in the Park” controversy in Genesee County, N.Y., that also caused a public uproar. Because of the nativity scene at City Hall, I met Ann, which changed my life!

“Our Story” appeared in Freethought Today in 2007.

Going forward, I will miss Ann terribly, but, thanks to FFRF and what I learned as a freethinker, I can be grateful for the wonderful experience I’ve had knowing Ann. It makes me think and be grateful that years ago I was fortunate to see Dan Barker on the Phil Donahue show and thus discover what was then a small but energizing powerhouse that has become FFRF. This whole experience has truly been amazing.