November 26, 1924 to October 30, 2014

Unparalleled joy in life

Margaret Anne Von Der Ahe, whose incandescent spirt and unparalleled joy in life were never dimmed by circumstances, died on October 30, 2014, four weeks shy of her 90th birthday. Annie, as everyone called her, had a way about her all right: the gleeful delight when greeting a friend for lunch, how giddy she got when talking about her grandchildren, the outlandish holiday jewelry she loved to wear, how she never took anything for granted, from the most insignificant flower to the most spectacular sunset.

carMargaret Anne McGranaghan was the first child born to Jerome and Ellen McGranaghan in Oneida, New York, on November 26, 1924. Her birth was promptly followed by the first annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, which she claimed was a celebration in her honor. Annie was whip smart and beautiful, flying through school and achieving degrees in Mathematics and Physics from Marywood University and Syracuse University.

       “a hell of a broad”

She found her way West just after World War II, where she met and married Walter R. Von Der Ahe. They settled in Long Beach, started a family, and later moved to an ocean-view home in Palos Verdes Estates.  In 1958, Walter and Annie purchased property on the Truckee River and in 1966 made it their permanent residence. As a mother of four in the Sierras, she promoted the Far West Ski Association; she was a member of Corpus Christi Parish, and Squaw Valley Sporting Club. She was a member of the TRPA in the seventies.ANN AND WALT

She inspired and cultivated amazing bonds with women and men of all ages throughout her life. An attentive friend, drinking buddy, travel partner, fast walker, spontaneous singer, and lover of raunchy jokes —this and more garnered her reputation as “a hell of a broad”.  Always dressed for occasions, Annie proudly showcased “the best legs to come out of NY State” (stocking-ed, of course). She was fluently versed in the finest things, but appreciated the 99 Cents Store more. Incredibly self-aware when it came to consumption (she felt the responsibility of her global footprint before the term was coined), she grasped the awesome scope of the universe, and her enormous heart understood the power of empathy, goodness, and selflessness.

At age 75, she walked 75 miles

unnamedAffectionately known by her grandchildren as Grannie Annie, she deeply valued her independence. In her 60’s, Annie returned to southern California, learned the computer, and rejoined the work force as a travel agent at Eckdahl Sundin Travel. At age 75, she walked 75 miles in the Avon breast cancer fundraiser from Santa Barbara to Ventura carrying the name of her granddaughter’s second grade teacher.   This serious scholar kept an immaculate house that was always spotlessly tidy, and adorned with artifacts of her impeccable taste and personal history. Every weekend she lovingly hosted her eldest son, Eric, and his partner, Mary, cooking meals and taking them on outings. Spending time in her space, amidst her inspiring collection of diverse music, art, literature, and knick-knacks, was an elevating experience.

Hollered out to the moon

Her affection of such possessions was only trumped by her constant appreciation of the natural world. The woman hollered out to the moon whenever the full saucer hung in the heavens. She constantly talked about the size or age of trees only to interrupt herself with a drop of her jaw, a deep inhale, and her trademark laugh of wonderment. Anytime she had company she insisted they stop whatever they were doing as the sun set, and join her outside, because “they were MISSING the SHOW!”  Her sense of humor is legendary.

Anne Von Der Ahe loved her family. Boy oh boy, do we love her!

She is survived by Chris and Laurie Von Der Ahe, Maria and Steve Harrison, and Matthew Von Der Ahe, six grandchildren, and innumerable friends.


A Celebration of Anne’s Life

A beautiful Celebration of Anne’s life was held the Palos Verdes Shores Clubhouse

on Saturday, December 20, 2014.

It was a wonderful day and Annie would have loved it.

 Anne’s son, Eric Von Der Ahe, was also memorialized.

He was a heck of a piano player, friend and skier.