Anne Frances Hooe Russel Treadwell, aka Anne Lane
August 25, 1937 to January 29, 2022
Anne Russel Treadwell, Newtown’s “First Lady” while her late husband Timothy Treadwell served as First Selectman (1968 to 1972), passed away January 29, 2022 in Stuart, Florida, from complications of a stroke. She was 84.
A resident of Sandy Hook and Newtown, Connecticut, for almost 30 years, Anne was active in leading Brownies and Girl Scouts from the scout cabin on Church Hill Road, counseling at Camp Candlewood in Fairfield, supporting the Striders Drum Corps in practices at the Sandy Hook firehouse, raising funds for the Danbury Hospital, engaging in early “Women’s Liberation” meetings, and hosting an annual blow-out “Steak Out” barbecue on her lawn for the Connecticut Young Republicans.
With her husband, she was involved in launching the Newtown Progress Festival’s annual Labor Day Parade in the early 1960s, building the Lake Lillinonah Park and Boat Launch with the Jaycees, encouraging communities on the Housatonic River to cooperate on conservation, and mixing batter and frying bacon for the Rotary Pancake Breakfast at the Edmond Town Hall. She served on the Republican Town Committee, checked voters in during elections in which her husband was not a candidate, and advocated for establishing Treadwell Town Park, named in memory of her husband, next to Sandy Hook School, where she had been a bus driver and a librarian. This was above and beyond teaching three sons to swim, driving to swim meets, basketball games, wrestling matches, ski hills, Boy Scouts, Drum Corps, prep schools, and home from the hospital in Vermont after two sons were injured in a toboggan accident.
She and her husband, like Mark Twain, did not believe schooling should interfere with education, and her children never won a “perfect attendance” award. Her three sons experienced “educational” truancies to the New York World’s Fair, Forest Hills Tennis Matches, Expo ‘67 in Montreal, or just staying home from school to watch any of the Mercury or Gemini space launches. She was very proud that two sons later graduated from Yale, with one also earning a graduate degree at Harvard. A third son earned a PhD at the University of Minnesota.
During her busy and peripatetic life, Anne’s passion, influence, and community spirit was felt wherever she lived, and in communities she visited and “adopted” online. She made several trips to the Middle East — Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon — to study the history of Christianity and Judaism, and predecessor faiths. She made close to 40 trips to Alaska to shower four grandchildren with love and advice, and had one nose-to-nose bear encounter on an Alaska Highway trip. She traveled to visit her son Frank, also known as Jeremy, and her daughter-in-law Melinda Mitchell, during Frank’s Peace Corps tenure in Jamaica’s highlands, and joined a Millennium Society trip to Cuba in 2000 (which she had visited before Castro’s communist takeover in the 1950s.) Her Pacific destinations included Hawaii, Japan, Korea, China, and the Russian Far East. She regularly drove her Vista Cruiser station wagon around America, usually with one or two yellow Labradors and a cat named Cupcake, and a bumper sticker saying “Dog is my co-pilot.” She visited all 50 states, rafted the Colorado River as a child, canoed many rivers in Michigan, sailed in regattas in the Atlantic and Great Lakes, and fished and rode horses in Colorado and Montana. She voyaged down the Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean in the Northwest and Yukon Territories, and traveled Alaska’s Arctic, the Aleutians, and the Inside Passage, bragging that she’d been to more Alaskan places than her son, Mead, who was Alaska’s Lt Governor from 2010 to 2014.
In her travels she collected many different versions of the Bible, sheet music and player piano rolls, recordings of Broadway musicals, Japanese pottery, Mexican stoneware, New England pewter, cookbooks, nutrition tracts, a zillion postcards, maps, atlases, dictionaries, and political memoirs. She could play the piano by ear since she was a child and taught glockenspiel to members of the Newtown Striders Drum Corps. She helped her second husband, Walter Lane, build two replicas of traditional New England dories at a workshop in Strawbery Banke (Portsmouth), New Hampshire, near Walt’s family cabin on Ragged Mountain. She taught canoeing to Boy and Girl Scouts in several states.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, she was among the last American children to suffer from polio, which affected her throughout her life. She countered its effects with physical activity and consuming copious amounts of Vitamin C later in life. She attended Lotspeich and Seven Hills School in Cincinnati before boarding at Tudor Hall, now Park Tudor, in Indianapolis after the death of her father.
She entered Pembroke College in Providence, Rhode Island — now part of Brown University — before eloping with her Yalie husband Timothy Burke Treadwell in 1955, settling in Newtown and Sandy Hook, Connecticut, and having three children. She oversaw reconstruction of her early American Sandy Hook home after a 1972 fire, which killed her husband, and she raised three teenaged boys as a single mom before marrying helicopter designer and engineer Walter Appleton Lane in 1975. A few years later, the Lanes moved to Florida with the opening of Sikorsky Helicopter’s test facility there to perfect the Black Hawk and Sea Hawk helicopters. She and Walter later divorced in 1984.
In Florida, she was active in a post-polio support group, the Saint Lucie Sailing Club, and her church, Episcopal Church of the Advent, in Palm City. While she was a lifelong Christian, she attended services in several Jewish congregations as part of her study of religion. She was a shareholder of the Island Inn, the oldest hotel on Sanibel Island, Florida, which members of her extended family and other families who enjoyed visiting there have owned since the mid-1950s.
In Michigan, she had summer residences since 1964. On her Lake Leelanau beach, “Lovelylee,” she regularly hosted a “Virgo Bash” to celebrate her birthday, and that of close friends who shared the same astrological sign. At the time of her death, she was working to restore the town’s oldest residence, Greycote, while continuing to sunbathe at her beach at Duck Lake Corner on Lake Leelanau. She would contribute lake trout and cherry pies, and inflict her Clamato Aspic on family picnics, (from which she banned ketchup, which was not needed, she said, because we have good beef now and not the bad beef Americans suffered with during World War II). With Anne’s passing, friends and family lost a strict grammarian, meticulous editor, and people everywhere are now free to mangle the English language without Annie’s correction.
Anne is predeceased by her father, Albert Lacy Russel, of Cincinnati; her mother, Caroline How Collier Russel Porter, of Cincinnati and Sanibel, Florida; her sister, Mary Allen “Mallie” Marshall (Edward C. Marshall, Jr), of Leland, Sanibel Florida, and Greenville, South Carolina; her husband, Timothy Burke Treadwell, of Newtown, Connecticut; her husband, Walter Appleton Lane, of Stuart, Florida; her grandson, John Read “Jack” Treadwell, of Juneau, Alaska; and her daughter-in-law, Carol Walsh Treadwell of Anchorage, Alaska.
She is survived by her three sons: Louis Mead Treadwell, II, “Mead,” of Anchorage and Girdwood, Alaska, and his wife Virginia Clay McClure, and their children,Timothy Burke Treadwell, II, 1st Lt William Walsh Treadwell, USMC, and Natalie Ki Treadwell of Anchorage, Alaska; Albert Russel Treadwell of New Haven, Connecticut, and his partner Mary Malloy; and Frank Jennings Treadwell, “Jeremy,” and his wife Melinda Mitchell of Traverse City, Michigan, and their children, Mitchell Treadwell of Traverse City, Michigan, and Jamie Treadwell of Leland, Michigan; sister Elizabeth “Betsy” Denton Craig of Mariemount, Ohio; niece Elizabeth Marshall of Leland, Michigan; nephew Edward Clark Marshall, III, of Greenville, South Carolina and Leland, Michigan and his wife, Dr Katie Marshall; nephew John Durrell Marshall of Seattle, Washington, and Leland, Michigan, and his wife, Elizabeth Bayley; niece Elizabeth Denton of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; nephew Elroy Castner Denton, III, and his wife Maria Velasco of Cincinnati, Ohio; and four Marshall and two Denton grandchildren of her sisters.
A Memorial Gathering will be held at 11 am on July 3, 2022, at St Peter’s Chapel, 203 Cedar Street, Leland, Michigan.