Ann Oliver

Obituary of Ann McCulloch Oliver

Ruth Ann McCulloch Oliver died in peace at her home in Sewanee, Tenn., on May 15, 2022, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Most of her family were with her at the end. She was born on July 24, 1932, in Bluefield, W.V. She graduated from Bluefield High School and St. Mary’s College in Raleigh, N.C., where she earned an associate of arts degree in 1952. She enrolled at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill to continue her study of art, where she met Marcus Lane Oliver. They married in 1953. The couple lived in Blacksburg, Va., before moving to Sewanee in 1967. They had four children and separated in 1986. Ann Oliver was an integral part of the professional and social life everywhere she lived. For many years she was host to university and community parties and events; later she was active in many social justice, environmental, and civic organizations. Ann often served in unglamorous but critical positions in groups that made a real difference in people’s lives. As the longtime lab assistant at the Biology Department at the University of the South, Ann was an informal mentor and confidante to many. She was the celebrated camp cook at Deep Woods Camp in Brevard, N.C., for more than ten years and was additionally a special counselor to campers and staff alike. She worked in many roles at the Sewanee Siren newspaper and served as an EMT in the Sewanee Volunteer Fire Department. She was a longtime advocate for environmental and social justice issues and served as a volunteer and board member for Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM), the Cumberland Center for Justice and Peace, the South Cumberland Regional Land Trust, and Folks At Home. She was a volunteer librarian at Thurmond Library. Ann is remembered by friends and family for the easy sophistication and grace she always brought to those around her. She had a quick and wide-ranging sense of humor, a gentle empathy, a true moral compass, and a strong commitment to service and her community. She was a longtime member in the Episcopal Church and a dedicated participant in the religious and social life of the Parish of St. Mark & St. Paul (formerly Otey Memorial). She is best remembered for a welcoming smile, and she was resolutely upbeat about life until the end. Ann was preceded in death by her parents, Ruth and George McCulloch; brother Matt McCulloch; and husband Mark Oliver. She is survived by her son Scot Oliver of Boise, Id.; daughter Lane Oliver of Sewanee; son Eric (Ellen) Oliver of Blacksburg, Va.; daughter Hunt (Patton Watkins) Oliver of Sewanee; brother George (Rita) McCulloch of Tazewell, Va., and sister Nancy Pickands of Valley Forge, Penn.; grandchildren Heather, Alex, Louis, Catalina, Camas, Cullen, Emma, and Ada; two great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. A service in celebration of Ann’s life will be held at St. Mark & St. Paul in Sewanee on June 4 at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the organizations in which she served or the Student Conservation Association (SCA).