Ann Renzi Haynes died suddenly on July 12, 2023, from heart complications
related to cancer. She was 61.
She was born on April 17, 1962, to Joyce and Dr. Eugene Renzi, in Wurzburg,
Germany, where her father was on active duty at the 10 th Field Hospital. Upon his
discharge, the Renzi family returned to Watertown, N.Y., where Ann attended
Immaculate Heart Central School.
As a teenager, she made the decision to apply to Phillips Exeter Academy, where
she excelled academically and played several sports.
After graduating from St. Lawrence University, she moved to New York City
where she went to work at Teachers Insurance, now TIAA. She rose through the
ranks of the company and became a manager of over 200 people before retiring to
care for her disabled daughter.
In 1986, she married Terrance Smith, with whom she had a son, TJ. They later
divorced. Ann married Ward Haynes in 1994. They had twins, William and
Elizabeth. Ward, who worked as a trader for Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade
Center, perished on Sept. 11, 2001. Elizabeth Haynes battled daily seizures starting
at the age of 6 months and required total care until she passed away in 2017 at the
age of 19.
In 2006, Ann Haynes, along with three other September 11 widows, wrote “Love
You Mean It: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Friendship.”
For the majority of her life, she lived in Rye, N.Y., where she was a member of
Apawamis and American Yacht clubs. A competitive athlete, she enjoyed and
excelled at golf, tennis, and paddle tennis. She also had a passion for travel and in
recent years visited Croatia, Barcelona, Prague, Aruba, Barbados, and Tanzania.
She devoted herself to volunteer service at several charitable organizations,
including the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN); Abilis, which
provides assistance to individuals with developmental disabilities and their
families; the W. Ward Haynes Scholarship Fund at Rye High School; the
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; and the American Red Cross.
“Ann was beautiful inside and out,” said her longtime partner, Jack Barry.
In addition to Mr. Barry, Ann Haynes is survived by her children, TJ (Kaitlyn)
Smith, Billy Haynes, Katherine, and Michael; her mother and father, Joyce and Dr.
Eugene Renzi; her brothers, Eugene (Kris) Renzi and David (Jessica) Renzi; her
sister, Jennifer (Bo) Kelly; her brother-in-law, Phil Gadsden; and her late
husband’s mother, Barbie Haynes.
She was greeted in heaven by her daughter Elizabeth Haynes, husband Ward
Haynes, and sister Laurie Renzi Gadsden.
A visitation will be held at Graham Funeral Home in Rye on Monday, July 17
from 4 to 7 p.m. A mass of Christian Burial will be held July 18 at 10 a.m. at
Church of the Resurrection. A service in Ann’s hometown of Watertown, N.Y. will
be held at a future date.
Her family asks that you turn to your loved ones and in the words of Ann tell them,
“Love you, mean it.” Contributions to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
would also be appreciated.
Six years ago, Ann Haynes’ 19-year-old daughter passed away after suffering from a debilitating seizure condition. Life had handed this mom too much and all who knew her were devastated to see her endure another loss.
Ann was a bright light and an inspiration to me and so many. She was full of faith and grace and while I was not among her close circle of friends, I was fortunate to share any time and space with her. We connected on and even laughed about the unexpected paths our children’s lives take, how little control we have, and agreed that all we can really do is try to find the good and see the silver linings.
But the loss of her daughter was too much, and I couldn’t imagine finding a positive in any of it … until I found myself sitting in a packed church listening to Ann deliver a eulogy about just that.
She spoke with passion and grace about the many lessons her daughter taught her. Elizabeth could not talk and could not walk but she could love and she could smile. “She had a beautiful smile,” Ann said through tears and a smile of her own. Her daughter redefined hope and happiness for all who knew her and for that her mom was grateful.
Ann redefined gratitude, grace, and perspective for all. Her husband Ward died on 9/11. When her younger sister passed away suddenly right before the 20th anniversary of 9/11, she wrote: “It makes no sense to anyone – but that’s life – sometimes there is no rational reason, just the fact that it is. While we have no control over these hardships, we do have the opportunity to choose how we handle life’s difficulties.”
Time after time she reminded me and all who knew her that whatever life hands us, we are not powerless. We can care for and love our children, our parents, our friends for as long as we can. We can’t control the when or why or how, but we can respond with strength and love. Maybe for those who understand, that’s the silver lining.