After an unexpected worsening of her battle with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Anne Friddle passed away peacefully on the evening of Oct. 15. She was fortunate to be able to spend her last days at home in Coronado surrounded by family and friends. Known for her creativity, elegance, and kindness, Anne is fondly remembered for her contributions to the arts in San Diego County, particularly in her work to help create and nurture the Coronado School of the Arts.
Catharine “Anne” McKenney was born in Seattle in 1948, the second child of Catharine McKenney (née Wood) and Robert L. McKenney. As a young girl, Anne moved to Hawaii with her family, later settling in California after her father’s retirement from the Navy in 1955. Anne attended school in Coronado beginning in the second grade, establishing lifelong friendships, which she nurtured through her graduation from Coronado High School in 1966 and beyond. After a short stint at San Diego City College, Anne began work in the financial industry, briefly moving to Palm Springs, and eventually serving as assistant manager at San Diego Federal in the late 1970s.
Anne married Hal Friddle in 1973 and the two newlyweds travelled throughout California, the Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, northern Mexico, and Baja California. Daughter Megan was born in 1980 just as Hal and Anne finished building their home on F Avenue in Coronado.
A talented seamstress and artist, Anne’s work was frequently on display at Artisans’ Alley in the 1980s. She volunteered as a costumer with the CHS all-school musicals when Megan began participating in the late 1980s. She also served as a frequent volunteer and supporter for Lamb’s Players Theatre. For many years Anne and Hal, along with good friends Ken and Pat Shortt, planned and executed the annual All Class Reunion held at the Coronado Golf Course on July 3, raising money to support enrichment for the Coronado schools.
Anne’s engagement with the arts and education in Coronado led to a second career in education and non-profit administration, first as the administrative assistant for the Coronado Schools Foundation, and then as the office manager and assistant to the founding director of the Coronado School of the Arts. Although officially retired in 2010, Anne continued to provide bookkeeping, grant administration, and event planning assistance until her illness this past spring. Parents, faculty, staff, and alumni of the CoSA program remember Anne for her professional demeanor, her capacity to remain calm in almost any situation, and her uncanny ability to make everyone she interacted with feel welcome, understood, and appreciated.
In recent years, Anne channeled her love of the arts and history into her small business, Annie Goat’s Antiques, which specialized in English pottery of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She travelled throughout the US to visit historic sites and museums, hunt for antiques, and serve as unofficial research assistant to Megan.
Diagnosed with ALS in February of 2016 after just a few months of unusual symptoms, Anne faced her diagnosis and increasing physical disability with bravery and grace. She delighted family, friends, and caregivers with her infectious smile, quick wit, and impeccable style, even as the disease rapidly stole her ability to walk, write, type, and, finally, speak and swallow. She will be missed terribly by all who had the privilege of knowing her and loving her.
Anne is survived by her husband Hal Friddle of Coronado; daughter Megan Friddle of Coronado and Atlanta; sister Paige Analora-Johns of La Jolla; brother Robert “Mickey” McKenney of Albuquerque, NM; and nieces Darcy Analora, Cyndi Fuhrmann, Dianna Elam, and Sherilyn Holcombe Waxler and their families.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, Nov. 12, at 3 p.m. in the Coronado Performing Arts Center Theatre at 650 D Avenue, with a reception to follow.