Ann Marie (Tebbetts) Zvanovec passed away at age 82 on November 10, 2020 in The Villages, Florida, where she had been living upon leaving her long-time home, Sea Cabin, in Newport, Rhode Island.
Ann was born in Salem, Massachusetts. She was raised in Peabody, MA by her maternal grandparents, William and Annie Marrs. She learned to sew at age four on her nana’s treadle sewing machine by making clothes for her thirteen dolls. Ann attended Peabody schools, and after graduating from high school she studied at night at Merrimack College while she worked day jobs at Old Mr. Boston and Raytheon. At a dance at the Sherry Biltmore Hotel ballroom in Boston in early 1959, Ann met a young navy lieutenant, Joe Zvanovec. They were married in January of 1960, beginning an adventurous life together, and their three daughters were born in the early sixties. Joe always told her that he couldn’t believe his good fortune to have married such a beauty.
As a family, they moved to many duty stations throughout the United States and South America during Joe’s years of service in the U.S. Navy. In the late 1970s after returning from Brazil, Ann went back to the “civilian” work force in Newport, Rhode Island, armed with the skills she had learned after two decades as a navy wife along with her innate determination, style, and grace under pressure. In the mid-1980s, Ann and Joe moved to San Diego, CA—driving across the United States with Fred, their Amazon parrot. Ann eventually rose through the ranks to serve as assistant vice president at Science Applications International Corporation in corporate business development. At home, her amazing design eye transformed the house and garden which were always evolving, and Joe would say when Ann arrived back home a feeling of warmth would suffuse the house. She was constantly learning something new and challenging which brought beauty to our lives, such as attaining a certificate of mastery in ikebana from the Ohara School, and throughout her life she made incredible quilts, wall hangings, and clothing. During the COVID-19 global pandemic, Ann made well over 100 face masks for family and friends. In Newport she enjoyed sewing and quilting with the Flamingos, and in The Villages with the Southern Belles. She earned numerous awards for her quilts from Quilters by the Sea.
After retirement, Ann relished being a tour guide in the Newport mansions, including the Breakers and the Elms. Her spirit of volunteerism and love of Rhode Island’s “lively experiment” led her to serve many years on the Newport Historic District Commission and the Castle Hill Neighborhood Association. An unforgettable, elegant, generous, and dynamic spirit with boundless energy, we can’t believe she is gone.
She was preceded in death by her husband of fifty-six years, Cdr. Ladimir Joseph Zvanovec, USN Ret., parents Eleanor and Burle Tebbetts, and brother William Tebbetts, of Boston, MA.
She is survived by her three daughters, Kathleen Zvanovec (Timothy Higbee) of Hope, ME; Denise Zvanovec (Liang-Neng Wong) of San Rafael, CA; and Nancy Richardson of San Diego, CA. She leaves behind her siblings Albert Tebbetts (Maria), Robert Tebbetts (Julie), and Eleanor Barnard (Fred), all of The Villages, FL. Her loss is mourned by her brother-in-law Joel Zvanovec (Jeannie) of Haskins, OH. She is also survived by two grandsons, Shane Clayton (Noele) of Poway, CA and Gavin Wong of San Rafael, CA along with many nieces and nephews throughout the United States.
Because of COVID-19, the family will be celebrating Ann’s life at a later date. She will be interred at the Massachusetts National Cemetery on Cape Cod.