Ann Ellen Feeney passed away in the early morning of July 27, 2020, in Chelsea.
She had spent the previous 10 days in Hospice care at home, sharing time, talk, and gardening adventures with her husband, Michael, and their six children.
Ann was born on January 12, 1935, in Detroit, MI, to Harold Walter and Helen Beatrice (Ryan) Moore. She graduated from St. Mary’s of Redford High School in Detroit in 1953, and received her bachelor’s degree from Marygrove College in 1957. She married Michael Feeney in 1958. They remained married for 62 years until Ann’s death.
In 1972, Ann and Michael moved their family from Detroit to Chelsea. Ann loved her adopted hometown, where she built an inspiring legacy of civic and community service. Not long after arriving in Chelsea, Ann started volunteering at the St. Louis School for Children and Adults with Disabilities, and driving several times a week for Meals on Wheels. She drove for Meals on Wheels for 43 years.
She was also a long-time volunteer at Spaulding for Children and the United Methodist Retirement Home. She served on the Board of Directors for St. Joseph Mercy Hospital-Chelsea, WAVE, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Washtenaw County, the Chelsea Community Foundation, Helpsource, Chelsea Community Kitchen, the UMRC Heritage Foundation, the Purple Rose Theater, and many others.
Ann held many civic roles in Chelsea for years. She was elected to the Chelsea Board of Education in 1976. She served on the School Board from 1976 to 1986, and from 1987 to 1991. In 2002, she was elected to the Chelsea City Charter Commission, which oversaw the Village of Chelsea’s incorporation as a city. She was elected the City of Chelsea’s first mayor in 2004. She served as mayor until 2009, when she was elected to the Chelsea City Council, on which she served until 2013.
In 1994, the Village of Chelsea began awarding a Citizen of the Year award. Ann was its inaugural recipient. Her Alma Mater, Marygrove College in Detroit, named her its Distinguished Alumna for 2003.
Ann loved her 15 grandchildren, who loved her back with fierce and tender devotion (her two great-grandchildren were just getting to know her when she passed away). She loved gardening, and she maintained a beautiful set of gardens around her Chelsea home. She could be seen on every sort of day walking about her yard with a gardener’s focus—pruning, digging, planting, and picking.
Ann Feeney lived a whole life, which for her, was not a matter of amassing experiences and maximizing enjoyments, but of understanding her purposes in this world and realizing them, through tireless, joyful effort and loving indifference to her own ego. She was an example of the personal fulfillment that comes from serving other people and serving God. She was a deep, steady source of inspiration and advice for family, friends, and colleagues. A committed Christian, she was baptized into the Catholic Church as an infant and remained a devoted servant of the Church for her entire life. St. Mary Catholic Church in Chelsea was her spiritual home for 48 years.
Ann is survived by Michael Feeney, her husband of 62 years; their six children, Peter (Patti), Marc (Julianna), Matthew (Juliet Arechiga), Cara Drenth (Walter), Molly, and Michael (Hyo Kyung); 15 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her five siblings, Mary D. Hubbell, Katie Galli, Helen Therese Perry, Denise Evan, and Bernie Moore.
Our thanks to Joanne Randall, Karen Ruhlig, Tina Bednarski-Lynch, and to the staff of St. Joseph Mercy Hospice and Comfort Keepers. And special thanks to Becky and Diane for going above and beyond during Ann’s final days.
Private services have taken place with burial at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.
Those wishing to make a memorial contribution in honor of Ann may do so to Faith In Action, the St. Louis Center, or Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Arrangements by Staffan-Mitchell Funeral Home, Chelsea.