Ann Terry Davis, 75

January 20, 1945 – July 2, 2020
Pensacola Branch (Florida)

Ann Terry Davis was warm, kind, talented, elegant, and fun-loving. A NLAPW art member, she was part of the Pensacola Branch for five years and served as the branch treasurer since 2019. She attended both the 2016 and 2018 Biennials, and rarely missed a branch event, graciously hosting some of our December holiday gatherings at her beautiful home.

Ann Davis photoShe greatly admired Vinnie Ream and once wowed our members with a well-researched, lively presentation on her life and works. The suffragette movement was one of Ann’s passions, and she had been planning to make another presentation in honor of the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment. She was an avid member of the League of Women Voters and had recently been elected co-president.

A Pensacola native, she spent many years in other locations, mostly notably Japan, Arkansas, California, and Michigan before returning to Pensacola to graduate from high school in 1963, after which her working life was dedicated to the medical field. Ann raised her family in Pennsylvania, then returned to Pensacola in 2003, and five years later began a second career in real estate, from which she had just retired in December 2019.

In her artist statement in our branch’s book of art and writing, “Nobis: Making Others See,” Ann wrote: “It was exposure to the elements of nature that clarified the magnitude and variety of colors, sounds, and sensations on this earth. … Crossing the Pacific Ocean by ship for 11 days, no sight of land, just immense waves, the constantly changing shades of color in the sky, the cold spray and smell of salt water as it lapped upon the deck, provoked my awareness of the power, mystery, and beauty of nature.”

"The Sun Also Rises" by Ann Davis
“The Sun Also Rises” by Ann Davis

As fellow branch artist Nancy Nesvik says, “Ann Davis’ acrylics leaned toward a painterly style, reflecting her gentle spirit with delicate strokes to capture her favorite natural settings, flowers, fauna, and landscape.”

And branch President Emerita Mara Viksnins states, “Ann loved the romantic portrayal of nature especially in her simple woodland scenes and florals. While most of her work was realistic, she had a talent for showing and emphasizing the beauty that the viewer would otherwise neglect to see.”

Ann ended her artist statement with these words: “Since joining my group of friends in Pen Women … I feel validation as one who aspires to paint for no other reason than the appreciation and enjoyment of the gift of life.”

We are all at a loss for words to adequately express how cherished Ann Davis was and how much she will be missed.

—Submitted by Branch Secretary Karen Morris



Thelma H. Urich, 87

St. Louis Branch (Missouri)

Thelma UrichThelma H. Urich, art and letters member of the St. Louis Branch, died May 16, 2020, at the age of 87. Thelma served as a national of president of NLAPW,  national letters chair, president of the Missouri State Association of NLAPW, and president of the St. Louis Branch.

She also sang soprano in the Liederkranz German Singing Society, was a member of several art and writers’ groups in St. Louis, and was the secretary and office administrator at the New Covenant United Methodist Church.

Thelma loved to learn new things. She was in her early 80s when she learned how to write haiku, Japanese poetry. When she was 83, she came to my house to learn how to submit her writing via email to publishers for publication.

A member of the Missouri Association of Playwrights and the St. Louis Writers Guild, Thelma wrote passionate and thoughtful plays, books, and short stories.

She was one of the kindest and most compassionate women I have ever had the privilege to meet. She made my life and the lives of everyone she met all the richer for knowing her. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

— Submitted by Elaine Abramson, the past president of the Dallas and Fort Worth branches and the former president of the Missouri State Association of NLAPW

Genevieve “Jenny” Gumptertz, 91

Palm Springs Branch

Jenny GumptertzLongtime member of the Palm Springs Branch of National League of American Pen Women Genevieve “Jenny” Gumptertz, died on July 19, 2020 in her Palm Desert, California, home. She was 91years old.

After graduating from Whittier College, Jenny worked for NBC-TV in Hollywood and Hawaii, and for Desilu Studios as a script girl. She then worked for theatrical producers, Lewis & Young, of the Sacramento Music Circus. She left the entertainment industry and became an editor for a firm of psychologists in Westwood. This led her into freelance manuscript editing.

In 1974, she married the love of her life, Gordon, an advertising executive based in Los Angeles, and became a stepmother to Gordon’s two children, Suzanne and David. Jenny loved to travel and she and her husband spent many vacations traveling abroad and within the United States. They both shared a passion for creative writing and in 1986 she and Gordon retired and became full-time writers.  It was then they joined the Palm Springs Writers Guild and Jenny became a member of NLAPW.

Jenny also joined a small critique group in which the writers met weekly, read and critiqued each other’s material. With Jenny’s background in editing, as well as her keen eye for more effective written expression, she became an invaluable and trusted member.

Within this group, close friendships flourished. Group members enjoyed the development of her short stories and her novel about the rebellious nuns in The Troublemakers which was published in 2017.

Jenny was a bright, respected colleague, a caring, supportive person and a beloved, irreplaceable friend. She will be deeply missed.

— Submitted by Joanne Hardy

Dr. Bette Veronica Miller

September 1, 1936 – January 7, 2020
La Jolla Branch (California)

Bette Miller at pianoBette Miller was a beloved and talented member of the La Jolla Branch. An avid pianist and composer, she participated in many NLAPW activities.

Miller’s compositions were featured at a Women’s History Month event in 2010. Pen Woman Patricia Daly-Lipe was inspired by Miller’s music to write this essay after the event.

The estimated numbers of innocent souls who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Building on 9/11 are horrific. How could human beings do such a thing for the sake of a cause or a political objective? And yet, history tells us anything is possible.

We, as Americans, are not alone as a nation in having suffered such great tragedy. The world has been and remains a violent place. We cannot live by the concept of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” We must and do need to judge less and love more.

In post-9/11 and all the wars and battles we have experienced since then, including the recent Tuscon murders, we must recognize that we are all, despite race, creed or tradition, human beings. We share one planet, a small spinning ball in an endless universe. The scope is immeasurable and yet, within each of us, there lurks a bright light.

After the attack of 9/11, we sent our troops to Afghanistan to seek out and destroy the source of the terrorist attack on our country. What we found was the plight of women and girls. More girls and women are now missing from the planet than men were killed on the battlefields in all the wars of the 20th century.

And for the women who live, the mistreatment is often shocking. Nicholas Kristoe and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, moved to Beijing to be correspondents for The New York Times in 1988. Seven months later, they found themselves standing at the edge of Tienanmen Square. They watched as troops fired at the pro-democracy demonstrators. That massacre claimed some 800 lives.

But later, a more horrible truth — 30,000 baby girls died annually in China because they were girls. Later, this couple found similar inequality in India. There, girls 1 to 5 years of age are 50 percent more likely to die than boys their age. More images of girls being tortured or neglected or killed resonates throughout other parts of the world.

But the truth is: Women and girls are not the problem. The World Bank, the U.S. Military Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other organizations recognize that focusing on women and girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. No, women are not the problem; they are the solution.

In the 1960s, President Kennedy said: “When power leads man towardsarrogance, poetry reminds him of his imitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence.” Change the “him” to “her” and watch, listen, and enjoy A World Women.

“Creativity,” wrote Einstein, “is one of those hypnotic words, which are prone to cast a spell upon our understanding and dissolve our thinking into a haze. And out of this nebulous state of the intellect springs a strange but widely prevalent idea… The ways of creation are wrapped in mystery; we may only marvel and bow our heads.”

Post 9/11, travel back in time, take a journey into the hearts and minds of women who helped bring peaceful change that improved the lives of women and men. Musicians, authors, and artists also bring a new definition of peace: the beauty of creativity. Inspired by Bette Miller, who wrote and plays the music, enjoy the poetry of Lois Howard, the resonating voice of actress Jenni Prisk, the photo collection of Gail Dimitroff and Sarah Seaward, art by Stephanie Goldman and myself, and the expertise of Steele Lipe for the Visual production.

May their creative venture inspire you to play your part in bringing peace back into our world.