By Ashira Morris
This single word describes former student Ann Grosmaire to drama teacher Rod Durham. His selection is appropriate. Grosmaire, who passed away on April 2 due to a gunshot wound, is remembered as a compassionate young woman.
Grosmaire’s funeral was held in Tallahassee at Good Shepherd Parish while the Leon Thespians were in Tampa for state competition. At 2 p.m., the time of the service in Tallahassee, the drama troupe formed a circle and said one word to describe Grosmaire.
“When I think of Ann, I think of two words,” Durham said. “Love and hope.”
Grosmaire graduated from Leon High School and was attending Tallahassee Community College. During her time at Leon, she was a committed member of Thespians. She worked mainly behind the scenes in roles such as student director, stage manager and technical crew.
However, during her senior year, she was cast as one of the principal characters in the drama Proposals. Junior Kara Copeland was her daughter in the play.
“She cared deeply about people,” Copeland said. “She put her heart and soul into everything she did.”
“She was a private person,” Leon graduate Khadijah Gray said. “Very quiet. When she talked, people respected her.”
Gray and Grosmaire had identical schedules during their sophomore year and remained friends through their time at Leon.
Although Grosmaire was generally quiet, she found her niche with the Thespians. Her passion for drama was apparent to Durham, who watched her blossom from backstage jobs to a leading role. Her senior year, she won Thespian of the Year. The award will be renamed Ann Grosmaire Thespian of the Year in her honor.
Durham is also starting a scholarship in her name. It will be awarded to a senior who “encompasses what Ann was was all about,” according to Durham.
Outside of involvement with Leon’s drama department, Grosmaire was “family-oriented,” according to Gray.
During their sophomore year, Gray’s father died. Grosmaire took it upon herself to do all of Gray’s homework for the entire month that Gray was out of school.
“She thought of things no one else would think of,” Gray said.
Grosmaire’s presence can still be sensed by those who knew her.
“She’s physically gone,” Durham said, “but I can still feel her. When I think of her, I smile. I think of the joy she was.”
Gray says she will still pull out her cell phone to text Grosmaire random questions.
“She’s one of the few people you can ask for advice and get an answer, no questions asked,” Gray said.
In any situation, Grosmaire handled herself with emotional maturity and grace. Her attitude had a lasting impression on those who knew her.
“You really realize how much people inspired or influenced you when you look back,” Copeland said.
‘I am Ann Margaret Grosmaire. I am eighteen years old. I am an adult. I have entered the real world – finally after seventeen years of waiting and wondering. My childhood is a stage of my life best kept separate from my adulthood. It is behind me now. There is no sense in letting it disturb my adulthood. Now is the time for growth. To my best ability I will continue to add to my self. I know no fear, only curiosity and a true sense of self. I need not impress. I need not approval. I am self enriching – not self doubting. I live a simple life. It is so simple it could almost be labeled boring and dull. This doesn’t bother me. I’m often alone. This leads me to be quiet. I enjoy quiet. I enjoy simple. Drama is only a hassle. Problems are things I wish to avoid. Emotions lead only to trouble. The unknown is waiting to be discovered. The future may be shaped, but the past never changed. The present is to live in for soon as it is, it is gone.
In ink which cannot be erased, I will record the events in my life that cannot be changed.’”
“Through that one moment that our changed our lives. We love Conor, and we cannot define him by that one moment. Because if we do, then we also define Ann by that moment. The doctor said it was a miracle that she was alive when she arrived at the hospital. It was. Because if she had died before that, then her death would have been one of violence. Instead, we all had the opportunity to see her, spend time with her, to say goodbye to her, and to witness her most peaceful death.
We want to conclude with words Ann wrote herself on June 6, 2009.
An exerpt from Ann’s eulogy, written by her mother:
A word from Ann Grosmaire