Ann Hickernell Windes

Ann Hickernell Windes, 89, died peacefully at home on April 14, 2014.  Born Sept. 4, 1924, in Syracuse, N.Y., to Dr. Louis and Marguerite Ruddiman Hickernell, Ann was a city girl who first came to Northwest Florida with her family at the age of 11, visiting Fred and Donalda Zerbe, retired Syracusans, in Destin. 

At the time her family met Eustace and Norma Windes and their sons, Dudley, Charles and Irby. Ann immediately took a shine to Charles, seven years her senior. He was sweet to her, she remembered. When she and her family returned five years later, she was of greater interest to Charles and they corresponded.

Ann graduated from Northfield School for Girls in Northfield, Mass. It was there that she cut off her waist-length braids and threw them down the laundry chute, an early indication, perhaps, of her spirit of independence. She attended Syracuse University for a year and a half.

In 1943, before Lt. Windes went to the South Pacific to help win the war, they married in El Paso, Texas. Holly, her firstborn, her favorite, was born in 1944 and son Kelly, her favorite, and who called her a “lioness,” was born in 1946. The war was won, and Ann and Charles began building their house on Tang-O-Mar Drive, one they would live in for the remainder of their 49 years together. It took 13 months of night and weekend work to complete the house.  There were no neighbors. Cows roamed at will on the beach.  Men and boys hunted wild pigs in what is now Sandestin Resort. David, her favorite, and the only one who could call her “Mom,” Jon, her favorite, and the one who sent her into gales of laughter with his “balled tiger” story, and Judy, her favorite, with her infamous “gentle ways,” arrived to complete the family.

Life in Destin in the 40s and 50s was simpler, quieter, and without frills; radio, but no TV for the family until the mid-50s, no nearby shopping, doctors or dentist, few restaurants, and no outlet malls. Mother baked pies for Jack Tar Beach House and worked at the polls, but was essentially a stay-at-home mother until her graduation from the University of West Florida, where she earned her Library Science degree in 1968.

She was truly dedicated to completing college, with endless commutes to Pensacola and finishing some classes by mail. She worked as school librarian at Oakland Heights Elementary School for 20 years. She was a volunteer at the Destin Library for 18 years and at the Coastal Branch Library for several years after that. She was also an avid Destin Fishing Rodeo fan, appearing at the weigh-in dock daily.

Ann was a beautiful, vivacious woman, a wonderful wife, mother, friend, and someone who never met a stranger. She was fearless, strong-willed and devoted to her family. Thoughtful and generous, family, friends, and pets were everything to her. She loved to travel and enjoyed many trips to the British Isles and the European continent, sometimes with friends, family and several times on her own. Ann was a lover of books, plays, movies, music, and kept current with the goings-on of the world. She was famous for her “picnics,” gathering at her home with family, friends and dogs; she had many huge bon fires for her grandchildren’s enjoyment and the fire department was often on site. 

Ann was predeceased by her husband, Charles, her parents, and her brother, Jim.

She leaves her children: Holly Marcell (Ed), Capt. Kelly Windes (Mary Anne), Capt. David Windes (Ruth), Capt. Jon Windes, Judy Harrelson (Billy); grandchildren, Col. Chris Marcell (Lt. Col Kelley), Katharine Hazen (Kirk), Susan Predella (Bob), Capt.  Trey Windes, Melissa Windes, Evan Windes (Taylor), Brooke Triplett (Brian), Amy Routten (Brandon), Cain Harrelson; great-grandchildren, Michael, Amanda, Kathleen, and Ian Marcell, Bryce, Spencer, Holly, and Caroline Hazen, Megan and Mitchell Predella, Emma Routten, and two more on the way. She is also survived by her sister, Dorothy McInerney of Savannah, Ga., and numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, and her cat, “Kitty.”

In addition, Ann leaves her special friend of many years, Don Hancock, who introduced her to the joys of classical music, traveled with her, was a fastidious yard man, a fine cook, and a wonderful caregiver, when it was needed.  Ann’s family loves and thanks Dan for his love and appreciation of our mother, grandmother, and sister.

A celebration of Ann’s life will be held at 11 a.m. on April 23 at Christ the King Episcopal Church, 480 North County Hwy. 393 in Santa Rosa Beach. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the Humane Society or P.A.W.S. 752 Lovejoy Road, Fort Walton Beach, FL. 32548.