By Jeffrey Harris
It is with deep sadness that I announce the death of Anne Cipkowski. Anne, a native to our area (Copake Falls), served as director of the Austerlitz Historical Society for three years.
In the spring of 2020 Anne informed me that she had not been feeling well. After many doctor visits and what seemed like endless tests, she was eventually diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Despite the diagnosis, I was amazed at her grace and calm. Anne loved the Historical Society and it’s members and continued working for as long as she could. She would often call me with concerns about this-or-that at Old Austerlitz but eventually I had to tell her “Anne, these things are really not so important.” I think that Anne knew this better than I, but she felt a sense of responsibility to her position. In the summer, she finally had to resign.
When I asked Anne if she had adequate support to handle her health situation she replied, “I have so much support, I could not have asked for a better husband and children—they are right there with me.”
I had my first real conversation with Anne at a Blueberry Festival. She was new to the job and what a way to begin! As many of you know, planning and executing the festival is no easy task. She was running here and running there: making sure that vendors were in their proper places and happy, as well as making sure there was enough room for the ducks! I had just stepped out of the shop, when Anne approached me still glancing at her clipboard. “How do you think it’s going?” she asked. The festival looked beautiful, and I told her so. “Look around Anne, I have never seen so many people and they’re all smiling.” She gave me that big Anne grin. I knew she was proud, and deservedly so.
Anne’ s gift was her love for people and conversation, and the two almost always go together. She spent many hours talking with Bob Herron (one of the Society’s principal founders) learning about Austerlitz history, soothing Bob’s concerns, and figuring out what not to do! Whether talking with members, book club participants, or visitors who happened by, Anne would leave everyone happy that they had a conversation with her.
Anne is survived by her husband, Todd Hoyt, her six children: Sabrina, Kayla, Whitney, Alec, Dylan, and Lucas, the many children to whom she served as a foster mother over the years, and her brother Ken Burdick.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to Todd, and all of her children and family. We are so thankful for the time we had with Anne, she will be greatly missed.