Ann Piper did her best to see her life through to its conclusion with as much dignity and as little fuss as possible, trying to leave family, friends and community with warm memories, assured that love, respect, patience and simple common sense will overcome most of life’s challenges.
Born Ann Louise Haralson, the only daughter of Robert Miller Haralson and Doris Lorena Neeley at Lebanon, Oregon, she moved home with her family in 1954 to Quesnel, B.C. Ann graduated from Auburn Academy in 1964 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Communications at Washington State University in 1968.
Her first newspaper job was as a “stringer” for the Prince George Citizen; after four years at WSU’s Daily Evergreen and time spent with Appalachian Volunteers and Volunteers In Service To America (time spent in the coal fields of Kentucky, black Atlanta and the tobacco farms of Upper East Tennessee) she was back in the newsroom by Spring 1970. While coworkers partied in celebration of the shooting of students at Kent State, Ann typed her resignation from that East Tennessee daily, packed up her dog and what else would fit in her beloved MG and headed home.
She spent a winter in Prince Rupert and by midsummer went to work at the Williams Lake Tribune. Eight months later, she married Don Piper. Over the next 11 years they made the transition to blended family of six (five “his” and one “theirs”), built their first log home without a mortgage, launched the five “big kids” and moved to Tatla Lake in the West Chilcotin. While there Ann worked with the Grade 7-9 students at Tatla Lake School to produce the first four slim annual volumes of “Hoofprints in History,” elders’ stories of earlier times in the region. Other volunteers would assist students in producing another four volumes in the 1990s.
In 1990 Don, Ann and youngest son, Don, moved to Little Fort, B.C. Don Jr. graduated from high school at Barriere and Ann went to work for the Yellowhead Star, later to become the North Thompson Star/Journal. She retired as editor there in 2004.
Predeceased by her father in 1994, husband Don and mother Doris in 2012 and step-daughter Patsy Anne Grimeshire in 2015, Ann is survived by one brother, Ron (Ivy, son Bruce) in Haida Gwaii, son David (Lydia, sons Julian, Joseph and Sean, daughters Maria, Marion and Mary May, and granddaughter Avalyn Rose and grandson Luke); son Bud at Kelowna, daughter Shelly (Vince) at Quesnel, their sons Cody (Becca and Zachary at Terrace) and Sheldon (Shay and sons Kaden and Jace at Kitimat) and daughter Brandi Marie (Sean and kids Damian, Madison and Calvin in Northern Alberta, and by Wes (Kelly) at Terrace and Don Jr., who has patiently and generously divided recent months between his own Little Fort home and his mom’s Barriere residence.
In the last few months of her life, Ann considered herself blessed by a constant stream of company, making sure Ginger the dog got walked and brightening each day.
A Service for Ann will be held in the Barriere Legion basement on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 1:30 p.m.