A bright spirit who pursued an adventurous life before settling down to raise a family, much beloved by her husband, children and grandchildren, Ann Cecilia Footer passed quietly on July 11, 2023.
Ann was born in Rochester, New York, to a large Irish Catholic family on November 14, 1934. Her parents George and Marie Sanders, had six children, with Ann the fourth and the oldest of the younger cohort. Ann spent the early part of her childhood in upstate New York, moving when she was young to Hagerstown, Maryland where she lived until graduating high school. A true beauty, she was also ambitious to live in the sun and work in an exciting industry, leading her to move to Cocoa Beach in the late 1950s at the beginning of the space race. She worked as an assistant to many leaders prominent in the government’s effort to get America to space, including General Jimmy Doolittle. She indulged her passion for adventure by purchasing an Austin Healy convertible and joined a local amateur car racing club, enjoying both the excitement of racing and the attention given her as one of the few female drivers.
In 1961 she moved to California to pursue job opportunities in the missile companies in Los Angeles. Shortly after arrival she moved into the Reef Apartments in El Segundo where she would meet the person who would change her life, Terry Footer. He received much attention from the other women in the building, but her beauty, style and confidence quickly won him over. Six months later they were married at iconic Little Chapel on the trending Strip. In 1964 their beloved Lisa was born, followed by Derek a year and a half later, and the ‘Irish twin’ Mark 13 months later. With their desire for a family fulfilled, they moved to the Point Loma neighborhood in San Diego in 1966 and eventually built their dream home in Rancho Santa Fe in 1972.
Ann led a social and charitable life in addition to raising their children. She was involved in the Rancho Santa Fe school as a classroom mom where she shared her love of art and supported her children. She was deeply involved with the Las Duenas charitable organization, and played on the Ladybugs baseball team, as she was an avid athlete and loved competition. She loved painting, and dabbled in other media including stained glass, crafts, and photography. She overcame the tragedy of the loss of her youngest child, Matthew, who was born premature and did not survive.
She was active in events in the local community throughout her life, and led an active social life, spending cherished time with her close friends. Travel brought her great joy, particularly the annual family vacation in Kauai. She and Terry crossed the globe on journeys to Europe, South America, the eastern Mediterranean, Japan, Australia, and had many adventures with “Team Knoll”, a group of kindred spirits that enjoyed skiing, fine dining, fishing, and horseback camping adventures.
Ann is survived by her husband Terry, children Lisa Parnell, Derek Footer, and Mark Footer and their grandchildren: Lisa and Todd’s Brittany, Connor, and Jourdan, Derek and Anne’s Sarah and Lee, and Mark and Cheryl’s Zachary, Maxwell, and Nathaniel. Sadly she just missed the birth of her first great-grandchild, as Brittany is due in early August.