Ann's smile and laughter will be with us forever.
  • 76 years old
  • Born on August 7, 1941 .
  • Passed away on March 20, 2018 .

This memorial website was created in memory of our mom, wife, and friend, Ann Shames. We will remember her forever.

Ann Leslie Levitan Shames died peacefully at her home in Lake Worth, Florida on March 20, 2018. The cause of death was cancer. She was 76 years old.

Ann is survived by her devoted husband Jerry; her children and their spouses: Brian Shames and Beth Deckers, Alison Shames and Ted Marcoux, and Michael Shames and Monica Gradischek; her grandchildren: Hannah Shames, Ethan Shames, Sammy Shames, and Jonah Marcoux; her sister and brother-in-law Susan and Norman Webber, and their children Beth Clark and Pamela Webber; her brother and sister-in-law Dan Levitan and Jerilyn Perine, and their children Gina Levitan and David Levitan; dozens of cousins; and countless friends.

Ann was born on August 7, 1941, the first child of David and Beatrice (Feldman) Levitan. She grew up in Brooklyn and West Hempstead, Long Island and spent treasured childhood summers in Mt. Freedom, New Jersey at the Levitan Lake Bungalow Colony. Ann married Jerry Shames in 1967, and after several years in Stamford, Connecticut, they settled in nearby Westport, Connecticut, where they lived for nearly 30 years. In 2000, Ann and Jerry spent a summer driving across the country. They decided to relocate to Redondo Beach, California, where Ann rediscovered her love of art, took art classes, and painted watercolors. Ann and Jerry became restless after a few years. They sold their home and traveled around the world, visiting nearly every continent over 12 months. Meticulously planned by Jerry, they stayed for weeks and months at a time in various towns and cities, getting to know the cultures, people, and hairdressers of nearly every location. In 2006, they finished their travels and settled down at Wycliffe Golf and Country Club, where Ann’s sister Susan lived. They continued to travel around the country and beyond (by car, plane, and cruise ship), until Ann’s death.

Ann graduated from Hofstra University in 1963 and began her teaching career in Long Island. After staying at home to raise her children, Ann went back to school and earned a Master’s Degree in Reading in 1981 from Bridgeport University. Ann returned to teaching and worked for the Westport, Connecticut school system for 18 years. She worked in a number of grades and capacities over her career, but her favorite was teaching first grade. Ann took enormous pleasure in teaching children to read and write, and she had a gift for helping kids discover the joy of learning. She was known for making stone soup every Thanksgiving with her first graders, bringing world-class children’s authors to the classroom, creating and running a mother-daughter book club, and building a website (, no longer active) with her students when the internet was still young.

Ann was an avid reader, a sharp bridge player, and a surprisingly competitive and good-humored golf player. She excelled at crossword puzzles and nearly always beat her family in Scrabble. Ann loved to shop—for clothing and jewelry anywhere, anytime; and for housewares whenever the mood or piece struck, whether at Home Goods, in Italy or Turkey.

Ann loved her family and took great pride in her children and grandchildren. Ann thrived in the company of—and was energized by—her friends. Her social calendar was always full. The phone was always ringing. She could talk to and make friends with anyone, from the stranger on the plane to the hair colorist in India. Above all, she laughed—oh how Ann laughed—with everyone.

A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday, March 29th, at Wycliffe Golf and Country Club. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Ann’s life. A ceremony will also be held in Mt. Freedom, New Jersey this summer, to scatter her ashes in one of her favorite places. For those who wish to contribute in Ann's memory, please send donations in honor of Ann to Mass General Cancer Center, The family would like to thank the nurses at TrustBridge for their loving care and attention in Ann’s final weeks.

Ann touched so many of us. She will be remembered. She will be missed.


Posted by Laura Matty on August 8, 2018
I just found this beautiful tribute to my cousin Ann. What wonderful and fond memories. Tears were shed looking through the many pictures. She was one of a kind. I always looked up to her while growing up. She would light up a room when she came in and had the most infectious laugh-which there were many of. She loved her family fiercely. I am saddened that I won't be able to attend the memorial this weekend. Sending everyone my love-you will all be in my thoughts.
Posted by Tom Kretsch on April 17, 2018
We were so sorry to learn of Ann's passing. She taught our daughter Lissie when she was in first grade at Kings Highway School. Our daughter thrived under her guidance . Anne's energy and passion for teaching truly flowed into our daughter and all she touched. Lisse became an avid reader through much of Anne's motivation and today is a park ranger in Yosemite National Park. We kept in touch with Ann even after our daughter left Kings Highway and Ann always asked about her and how she was doing. To all of you may we say thanks for sharing Ann with us. I know her spirit will live on in all your hearts. My wife Sandi and I wish all of you the best in this time of loss.
Posted by Lynne Shain on April 1, 2018
Yes...Ann's laughter was one of her distinguishing features. As her colleague in the Westport Schools, we shared many, but there was also her deep thinking and inquisitiveness that elevated our work to the next level. Most of all there was her caring friendship, which I will always treasure.

Steve joins me in condolences to the Shames family

Lynne Shain
Posted by Susan Lipsett on March 26, 2018
I remember Ann when we were freshmen at Russell Sage. Her red hair and laughter still stick in my mind as we tried to get through that year. The fact the we met up again when Allison and Debbie became friends and traveled and played together will always stay with me. Both Shelly and I want to send our deepest condolences to the whole family and especially a big hug to Allison who was so much part of our lives growing up in Westport.
Susan and Shelly Lipsett
Posted by Sandra Lefkowitz on March 26, 2018
Sharing the wonderful world of Westport where we raised our children and watched them on their journeys to become the wonderful adults they are is the legacy that Ann and Jerry leave. It is sad that one of us can no longer reap the rewards.
Hugs to the family-Sandy and Larry Lefkowitz

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