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BERKLEY, Ann Sawyer

    Tribune-Democrat, 10 Jan 2003, Page C7, Contributed by Lisa Baker

Name:   BERKLEY, Ann Sawyer
Death Date:   7 Dec 2002
Age:   88
Birth Date:   22 May 1914
Parents:   Alford Samuel & Frances Priscilla (Terry) Sawyer
Spouse:   Charles Clifford Berkley
Newspaper:   Tribune-Democrat
Obituary Date:   10 Jan 2003
Contributed by:   Lisa Baker
Remarks:   BERKLEY - Ann Sawyer, died peacefully Dec. 7, 2002, at her home in National City, Calif. She was 88. Ann Sawyer Berkley was born in Johnstown, Pa., on May 22, 1914, the oldest daughter of six children born of Alford Samuel Sawyer and Frances Priscilla (Terry) Sawyer. She grew up and attended school in Johnstown, and graduated from Johnstown Central High School in 1932. Ann studied art at the Art Institute of Johnstown as a young woman, and participated in art exhibits with local artists. She exhibited her works in Altoona, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and in Newark, N.J. As a young woman Ann developed a reputation as a public speaker. She spoke on race relations concerning the African American culture in the United States. While living in new Jersey, Ann and her husband Charles assisted A. Philip Randolph with the organization of his march on Washington, D.C., to demand jobs for Blacks in industry and government contracts. Ann spoke at the Urban League in Philadelphia and continued speaking on race relations to organizations in Western Pennsylvania. On Aug. 9, 1939, Ann married Charles Clifford Berkley. Between 1941 and 1962 Ann raised their three daughters: Charlotte Ann Gipson, Patricia Jane Meredith, and Althea Ruthe Pruitt. Today Ann has nine grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren. In 1964 Ann moved from Johnstown to Pittsburgh where she became familiar with the Pittsburgh Poet and Writers Guild. For three years, this group broadcast weekly radio programs of their writings from Station WDUC Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. After retirement in 1979, from the Social Welfare Department for the State of Pennsylvania, she became Artist-in-Residence at the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. In 1982 Ann was particularly proud to be a charter member of the Kuntu Writers Workshop sponsored by the Black Studies Department at the University of Pittsburgh. From 1976 to 1995 Ann wrote, illustrated and published poetry books, and she researched, wrote, illustrated and published a series of African American History books. In 1994 Ann moved to National City, California, where she continued writing, drawing, exhibiting, and telling stories to children and adults in the greater San Diego area. Survivors include daughters Charlotte A. Gipson (Leon) of Trenton, N.J.; Patricia J. Meredith (Herbert) of San Diego, Calif.; and Althea R. Pruitt (Fred deceased) of National City, Calif.; grandsons, Fred Pruitt III of Mesa, Ariz.; Mitchell H. Meredith and Fran M. Meredith of San Diego, Calif.; and Gregory S. Smith of New Jersey; and granddaughters Priscilla A. Wainwright of Tennessee; and Jennifer Pruitt-Pitts of Nevada. Ann is also survived by a host of relatives scattered throughout the United States. A memorial service has been scheduled for May 17, 2003, at Allensworth State Park.

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