Annie Glenn died Tuesday at the age of 100 from complications with the coronavirus. Hank Wilson, a spokesman for the Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University, confirmed Glenn's cause of death, which was reported by NBC News. The widow of astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn as well as a communication disorders advocate herself, Glenn passed away at a nursing home near St. Paul, Minnesota.
Glenn was preceeded in death by her husband, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 95. At the time of his death, the couple had been married for 73 years. Following his passing, Glenn stepped out of the spotlight and moved out of the apartment they shared in Columbus, Ohio, to live with her daughter Lyn, Wilson said.
While her husband made his mark on the world, Glenn made a name for herself as well. Thrust into the spotlight in 1962 when her husband became the first American to orbit Earth, she largely shied away from the media due to a severe stutter she suffered from ever since she was a child. After undergoing an intensive program at the Communications Research Institute at Hollins College, now Hollins University, in Roanoke, Virginia, which gave her the skills to control her stutter and to speak in public, Glenn went on to become a more public figure and she went on to become a strong advocate for those with communication disorders.
"Annie Glenn was a special kind of public hero. She conquered her own personal challenge – her speech impediment – and appropriately used her position as the spouse of a prominent public person to help advocate for others who struggled as she did," Trevor Brown, the dean of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, said of Glenn. "She was also just a really warm and nice person. We'll miss her as much as we do Senator Glenn."
Along with being an adjunct professor in the Speech Pathology Department at The Ohio State University's Department of Speech and Hearing Science, "The Annie" award was created by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in her honor in 1987 to recognize individuals who best exemplify "Mrs. Glenn's own invincible spirit." Recipients of the award have included James Earl Jones, 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, Julie Andrews, Mick Fleetwood, and Jane Seymour.
Glenn is survived by her two daughters. A virtual memorial service to be officiated by Rev. Amy Miracle, pastor for the Broad Street Presbyterian Church in Columbus, will be held on Saturday, June 6 at 11 a.m. ET. The service is being held virtually with no parishioners or guests in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.