Ann Marie Millard was an extraordinary mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. She left this world suddenly on Friday November 20, 2020 just before Midnight at the age of 72.
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She was born to Kenneth and Ruth Swedlund on January 2, 1948 in Aurora Illinois. Ann grew up in the areas surrounding Minneapolis, Minnesota where she and her sister Carolyn would sometime walk three miles home from school after finishing beloved activities like German Club and Band. Finances were always tight, but sacrifices were made to provide clarinet lessons, braces, and trips to see family in Rhode Island and Colorado.
Ann attended the nursing program at the University of Minnesota where she made friendships that lasted a lifetime. Anyone she met there loved her off-beat sense of humor, her directness and intensity. It was at the U where Ann met Steve, and they quickly fell in love. They moved to the Washington, D.C. area where they were married at The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church on October 4, 1969. She received her degree from Washington Nursing Center and began her career as a Registered Nurse in 1971. Soon after, Jay was born in 1972, and then Danny in 1976.
When visiting family in Colorado, Ann and Steve made the courageous life-changing decision to abandon the financial security they had on the East Coast, and move to Colorado after seeing what they described as the most beautiful sunset that they had ever seen. They decided at that moment, this was the place that they wanted to raise their children. As hard as it was for them to leave the family on the East Coast, in 1977 they moved to Loveland, Colorado with two young children. At the time Ann was pregnant with Michael, who was born later that year.
While living in Boulder, Ann and Steve cared for her young cousins for a time, Jordan DeGrazia and Robin Smith. Living in their care for a period in their young lives, Jordan and Robin formed bonds with the family that were more like children to Ann and Steve, and more like siblings to the kids than cousins. When their sister Stephanie Parker came along, she was always closely held in the family’s hearts in a special way as well.
Ann and Steve soon moved to Boulder where they lived in several houses until 1988, when they moved to Louisville, followed by Lafayette where they bought their home in the early 90’s. She was highly creative and was skilled at hobbies like stained glass and sewing, which she had learned as a young girl making her own dresses. She worked extremely hard and sacrificed many things personally to make sure that the kids were always taken care of.
Her career as a nurse put on display the immense depth of her character, and her love and empathy. She spent her entire nursing career caring for people in Boulder County, Colorado at Frasier Meadows Assisted Living, Cleo Wallace Behavioral Center, and most of her career as a home care nurse for Boulder Community Home Care. After determining that the red tape from big business and government was interfering with patient care, she started her own Home Care business that she would eventually retire from.
She expressed that in retirement, and leading up to it, that many of the happiest moments were exploring the wilderness of Utah with Steve and the dogs. She kept a pinned map in her house of all the places they had been and had endless stories of stars, wilderness, beauty and sometimes just giving up and having to find a hotel because they desperately needed a shower.
The thing that made Ann Millard exceptional was her love for others. Professionally she spent her life not just taking care of others but loving them, feeling their pain, advocating for them, and suffering with them when they suffered. As a wife, mother, and sister she constantly pushed and reminded her family of things that were most important in life. She would push your buttons until you expressed your deepest, most honest emotions - and she was not satisfied until you did. As a grandmother she lived for the happiness of her grandchildren, and they were her greatest joy. As a friend, she would do anything for you, and she had the kind of friends that would do the same for her. As a human, she felt the pain of the world and wished she could fix it. She would constantly speak of hardships that she heard of from around the world and she would send messages or donate small amounts of money to help righteous causes.
Anyone who knew her is a better person for it. She will be missed but we will carry on in her name.
Ann is survived by three sons Jay (Sarah), Danny (Danielle) and Michael (Alayna), seven grandchildren, Alyssa, Laura, Ezrella, Stephen, Zachary, Taylor, and Reid, as well as her sister Carolyn, her nieces and nephew, Dawn, Drew and Gayl, cousins Jordan DeGrazia and Stephanie Parker, and many more beloved cousins, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
She is preceded in death by her husband Stephen, and her cousin Robin Smith. Service: There will be a celebration of life ceremony this Spring or early Summer when we can all be together and pay tribute.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to EFAA in her name: https://efaa.funraise.org/fundraiser/ann-millard