Ann Michael Mathews, 83

Ann Michael Mathews, of Waterford, a journalist who served in the Kennedy, Johnson and Carter administrations, died July 12 in Leesburg. She was 83. 

Ann Michael was born in Atlanta, GA, attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and in 1959 became a reporter and fashion editor for the NashvilleTennessean. She married a fellow reporter, Patrick Anderson, in 1962 and moved to Washington, DC, to join the Kennedy administration.

She worked for Kennedy’s “domestic Peace Corps,” whereshe was credited with devising its name, VISTA, the Volunteers in Service to America, and later joined the public information staff of the Peace Corps. In 1969, she and Anderson moved to Waterford where they were pro-McGovern delegates to the 1972 Virginia Democratic Convention.

After volunteering for Jimmy Carter’s 1976 presidential campaign, she served on Rosalynn Carter’s White House staff for two years and later became the chief information officer for the Appalachian Regional Commission.

She and Anderson divorced in the 1980s and in 1999 she married Tom Mathews, a well-known Democratic political consultant, whom she had first known at the Peace Corps. They maintained a second home near Park City, UT, which they used as a home base for many fly-fishing expeditions and entertaining friends from around the world. Tom died in 2017.

A major focus of her life in Waterford was working with the Waterford Foundation, a grass-roots organization dedicated to preserving the history and architecture of the 1733 village. She served on the board of directors from 1975-1978 and from 1997-2002. 

In 2012, she received the foundation’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award, in large part for her significant work in increasing historic easements in Waterford.

As chair of the foundation’s Open Spaces Committee, she helped launch the foundation’s efforts to persuade homeowners in the village to place their properties under permanent protection—resulting in a very high concentration of easements on Waterford’s historic structures and open spaces.  

She also was a member of St. James Church in Leesburg where she sang in the choir, of Club 24, and of the Waterford Book Club. Her interests included gardening, cooking, fly-fishing, acting, and reading. 

Mathews is survived by two children, Laura Anderson, of Charlottesville, and Michael Anderson, of Waterford; grandchildren Ann and Merry Hendell, and Andres Anderson; a brother R.W. Michael Jr., of Springfield; two stepsons, Tom Mathews, Jr. of Sag Harbor, NY, and Colin Mathews of Big Sky, MT, and a stepdaughter, Annie Mathews, of Salt Lake City, UT.

A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7 at St. James Episcopal Church in Leesburg.

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