Ann Haney wasn't born in Nancy. Or Pulaski County. Or even Kentucky.
But you would've never known it. She loved her community, her state and her Wildcats.
Ann passed away suddenly on Thursday after a short illness. She was 71.
Her death leaves a hole in the fabric of the community — and many to mourn her passing.
"I don’t even know what to say," said Ann's husband, Don, whom she met while they both attended the University of Kentucky. "She was my wife for 50 years, and we all loved her so. This is a terrible loss for us all. We had 50 good years and a lifetime of memories."
Don and Ann were co-owners of the popular Haney’s Appledale Farm in Nancy, along with her brother and sister-in-law, Mark and Marlene Haney.
"Her roles at Haney's Appledale Farm included hostess, pie maker, tour guide, counter help, apple expert, merchandise buyer, and community stakeholder," said Somerset-Pulaski Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bobby Clue. "Her servant heart was huge and her work ethic was tireless."
In 2020, Ann was named Businesswoman of the Year by the Chamber.
"Ann was much more than just an entrepreneur," Clue added. "She loved fiercely, was obsessed with her Wildcats, and relished her role of grandmother, mother, wife, and friend."
Ann was born in the Oakwood section of Dayton, Ohio, the daughter of a physician. She grew up a faithful Ohio State Buckeye football fan — and cheered them on her entire life. But Ann was most notably a Wildcat. After graduating from Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, she attended UK and was a 1971 graduate. Ann was the past president of the UK National Alumni Association and served a six-year term on the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees.
"My mother was both passionate and fiercely loyal. She sure was crazy about her family," said Ann's daughter, Meghan Wells. "She was a terrific mother and Grammie when her grandchildren came along. She often joked about “going grandparent stupid” in regards to loving on and spoiling her grands.
"In addition to her family, she loved her friends, and also the friends of her kids, hard," Meghan noted. "If she was for you, she would fight a bear for you, and you never had to wonder where you stood with her. She was a rock, and there will never be another like her."
Ann taught five years as a public school teacher in the Pulaski County School System at Nancy High School before she became a full-time mother. She worked in adult education, which evolved into 29 cherished years with the Pulaski County Public Library as the community relations specialist before her retirement in 2015.
"Mom loved us without fail and without fault. Our family, both biological and extended, all know how mom cared for us," said Ann's son, John. "Without falter and unequivocally. She raised the three of us while also helping raise a gaggle of friends along the way. She loved us all passionately and deeply ... as we have her.
"Countless people have lost a mother as well as a dyed-in-the-wool supporter," John added. "The way her eyes sparkled with excitement seeing her friends, family, and especially grandchildren will always bring a smile to my face. Knowing she’s proudly peering down should give us all the strength we need to know she is still walking beside us … each of us."
Ann was the past president of the Pulaski County Dolly Parton Imagination Library, where she helped raise funds to ensure local children receive high-quality, age-appropriate books delivered to their homes absolutely free.
Charlotte Keeney, director of the Pulaski County Public Library, noted how many roles Haney played in the life of the library.
"She was housed in the library before we actually hired her," said Keeney. "She was coordinator/director of the Pulaski County Literacy Council. At that time it was a grant program, and we housed that in the basement of the old library. She actually started that in 1986, and was in that position until 1999, so that was 13 years. In 1999, we hired her to work at the library as our community relations specialist.
"She was a great person to work with. She was always upbeat and ready and willing to do anything that was tossed her way," added Keeney. "She helped during the petition drive to get the new library and she also would write the letters to the newspaper when we used to put an article in. Any kind of public relations thing, it was Ann's charge to do that."
Ann made a personal impact on Keeney as well, like she did with so many others. "She just exhibited that (idea of), 'Keep a smile on your face and the day will go well.' She was a good role model to a lot of people."
Ann was also a board member of the Mill Springs Battlefield Association in her beloved Nancy, where she was involved in the preservation of the historic site and helping usher the battlefield into the National Park System.
"Ann was an intensely loyal person, a truly supportive sister and aunt," said Ann's brother, Dick Brand. "Her love for Don and her children and grandchildren was unmatched. I’m going to miss her more than words can say."
Ann was a supporter of her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, Southwestern High School football, where her sons played and daughter was an athletic trainer, and countless other organizations around the county.
Ann Haney is survived by her husband of over 50 years, Don Haney; her children, Meghan Haney (and Brian) Wells, John Richard Haney, and Michael Riese Haney; and her grandchildren, Katherine Grace Wells and Brian Parker Wells, of Lexington, as well as her granddaughter in love, Allyson Hobbs. She is also survived by her brother, Richard Riese Brand (Victoria).
"Mom was larger than life and we are going to miss her," said Ann's son, Michael. "Cheers to mom and I hope you’re having one in heaven."