Anna Lee Blechle, 80, passed away peacefully as dawn broke on February 26 at Genesis Medical Center in Davenport, Iowa. Her children and sister were “by her side,” albeit remotely, as her daughter-in-law held her hand and a phone to her ear. A lifelong resident of the greater St. Louis area, she had resided at the Davenport Lutheran Home since June 2020.
She was born in St. Louis to Salvatore and Catherine (Lafata) Pagano. The youngest of three daughters, she was cherished and doted on by her big sisters; the trio, to this day, are the core of a diverse and lively extended family. She was a 1959 graduate of Normandy High School, completed some college courses, and began her working life as a legal secretary for Attorney-at-Law John J. Gerst. She married in 1963, was a full-time mother and homemaker and, over the years, an administrative assistant for McDonnell Douglas, The May Department Stores Company, American Family Insurance, and again for Attorney Gerst. Finding herself single in 1989, Ann relished traveling the country and world, taking day trips, celebrating holidays, and enjoying the movies and dining out with both family and a wide circle of friends. Baseball season always found her avidly following and enthusiastically cheering on the Cardinals. She especially enjoyed visiting her children and grandchildren, whose lives and accomplishments—educational, professional, and personal—were a great source of pride for Ann. A parishioner of Church of St. Cletus since 1972, she was a devout mass attendee and joyful member of the Sunday choir. After her retirement in 2007, she volunteered her time at the information desk of Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital, a position that suited Ann like no other. Her cheerful greeting, acknowledgement of and concern for everyone, everywhere, at any time was legendary; the phrase “never met a stranger” could have been coined just for her.
Ann is survived by her beloved children, Kevin (Lisa), Bettendorf, Iowa; Michelle (Gary) Landry, Allen, Texas; and Denise (Armando) Alvarez, also of Allen; her grandchildren Emma and Alex Landry, and Mathew and Isabel Alvarez; her sister Marge Gilder, St. Peters, Missouri and deeply cherished generations of nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, sister Grace Albietz, brothers-in-law Jim Gilder and Ron Albietz, and many cherished aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, March 8, 4:30-8:00 p.m. at Baue Funeral Home—Cave Springs, 3950 West Clay St., St. Charles, Missouri. The Funeral Mass will be held Wednesday, March 9, 10:30 a.m. at the Church of St. Cletus, 2705 Zumbehl Rd., St. Charles. The Catholic Rite of Committal will follow at St. Charles Memorial Gardens.
The family wishes to send a heartfelt thank you to the staff at Davenport Lutheran Home for their patient and compassionate care. Being in a safe place where she could enjoy weekly visits from her son during the pandemic crisis was a priceless blessing for both Ann and her loved ones.
If desired, memorial donations may be made to Shriners Children’s St. Louis
, School Sisters of Notre Dame—Atlantic Midwest Province
, or Little Sisters of the Poor—St. Louis