We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter
your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you
can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
May 14, 1924 ~ May 14, 2023 (age 99) 99 Years Old
2 Trees, Flowers, or Condolences have been shared with support of Ann's family - View on Tribute Wall
Read more about the life story of Ann and share your memory.
Ann Henry was a force of nature: a woman of energy, unstoppable and unforgettable. She grew up in Chicago, the only child of “Little One” as her mother was known. It was there that she started the Co-op Dance Group. As a dancer she toured with famed musicians, Duke Ellington, Louis Jordan and Count Basie, who would become lifelong mentors and friends. But she was more than just a dancer. Her singing break came when she replaced Eartha Kitt in the musical revue, “New Faces of 1952.” Subsequently she was hired to become a member of the original cast of “New Faces of 1956,” and by 1959 she had a three-month stint in the UK. She returned to the United States and performed in Las Vegas but grew weary of the night club shows and wanted to focus on composing and song writing.
In the mid-1960’s while she was in France, she got a call from her manager informing her that she had a gig in Vancouver. “British Columbia?” she asked and was told “No, Washington State”. Daryl Kaufmann had tickets to her show and was so impressed that he tried to talk to her backstage. Ann pretty much ignored him. When she was hospitalized with spinal meningitis, Daryl began visiting her in the hospital. Eventually she was discharged and went to Chicago for some rehab. Then she returned to live at Daryl’s family’s home in Vancouver. One day they went for a car ride that led them to Mt. Angel, Oregon. When Ann saw the Benedictine Abbey on the top of the hill, she told Daryl that she KNEW this was where she was supposed to be. Ann then became a beneficiary of Benedictine hospitality and took up residence in the retreat house. She also had an office that wasn’t much more than a closet with no windows, but it was big enough for her upright Grand Piano. This is where she began her next chapter as composer-in-residence. During this time at the Abbey, Ann studied theology and composed liturgical music. Her long work, “Everyman’s Mass,” was in honor of St. Benedict the founder of the Benedictine Order of Mt. Angel Abbey. But she never lost contact with the mentors of her youth. In May 1970 her composition, “Pockets: It’s Amazing When Love Goes on Parade,” was sung by Ann accompanied by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra for the dedication of the Abbey’s Alvar Aalto Library. In 1994, the Abbey honored Ann with an award for her accomplishments.
To know Ann was to know an American singer, dancer, choreographer, comedienne, composer, arranger, and lover of life. She will be missed but her music will live on in all those who have heard it and sung it.
For those interested here is a link to the Duke Ellington performance:
Ann Starts singing around the 27-minute mark. It would be interesting if anyone could identify any of the seminarians singing with her.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 9 a.m., Saturday, September 2,2023, at Mt. Angel Abbey, 1 Abbey Drive, Saint Benedict, Ore.
Please visit the guestbook portion of this site and enter a special memory or message. Thank you.