Ann Griffin McClanahan Gilchrist, 85, of Indianapolis, Indiana, loving partner, mother of four, and grandmother of eight passed away peacefully on Monday, October 24th, 2022, with her husband Keith and family by her side. Ann was born in Dallas, Texas in 1937, to Luther and Lavinia McClanahan. She was the youngest of four siblings and is preceded in death by her sisters Mary, Bettye and her brother George. Ann grew up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. As a child she was known to her family as “Annie” and then “Mac” in her high school years.
While attending DePauw University, Ann met Keith on a blind date arranged through mutual friends from Alpha Omicron Pi (AOII) and Alpha Kappa Lambda (AKL) fraternities. Following graduation, Ann and Keith were married on Valentine’s Day in 1959. With her degree in Elementary Education, Ann began teaching in South Bend, Indiana before starting a family that would grow to include four children, Kathleen Zeigler (Richard), Kent Gilchrist (Susan), Stuart Gilchrist (Kim), and Scott Gilchrist (Laurel), and eight grandchildren whom she adored.
Since they first met, Ann and Keith have been a perfect complement to one another, whether it was working together in numerous businesses, volunteering in service, or raising their family. Eventually, fraternal service would become part of their life’s work as Ann worked as Director of Chapter Services for Alpha Kappa Lambda Fraternity and Keith was the fraternity’s Executive Director until their retirement.
Ann’s commitment to the AOII sisterhood, which began at Theta Chapter at DePauw, was a lifetime endeavor, and her service to AOII was significant. Ann served as a Regional Director, Regional Vice President, and on both the Executive Board and Foundation Board. She loved her work as an AOII alumna, holding a number of leadership roles culminating as International President from 1995 to 1997, a role she was honored to hold while presiding over the Fraternity into their Centennial Celebration in 1997. Her commitment to local service was steadfast, and her sisters will forever treasure her friendship.
Throughout life Ann was best known as “Mom,” not only to her children but to kids in the neighborhood and the many friends and colleagues that came to know her. Her greatest attribute was her welcoming of all with an open heart and open house. The many friends and family that had the opportunity to spend time with her came away with a profound sense of love and grace. She would reach out to those unsure where they would fit in and provide the right words of support, “Wherever I am, you belong”.
She will also be remembered for making the absolute best English toffee at Christmas but you had to get your order in early to be sure to get your share – and you did not dare sneak some early as she always knew just how much was there. Ann carried family recipes from both her mother and mother in-law, and continued the tradition by passing those on to her children and grandchildren.
To celebrate “Mom’s” life and honor her commitment and impact to the organizations and people she cherished, Ann’s request in lieu of flowers for those who are able, to donate to the Ann McClanahan Gilchrist Chapter President Scholarship. The scholarship launched in 2022 to celebrate her life and legacy of leadership at AOII. This scholarship will be endowed through the AOII Foundation and awarded to a collegiate chapter president.