The Honorable Ann Duncan Haffner, 96, formerly of Princess Anne, MD and Alexandria, VA, died on October 29, 2013 at the Philadelphia home of her daughter. Born in lola, Kansas in 1917, she was the daughter of Clifford Morrill Duncan and Margaret Pearl Webb. She grew up in Kansas City, KS and Glendale, CA, where she attended art school before her 1940 marriage to Bernhard Kinsey Haffner, a mining engineer. She made homes for a growing family in remote mining towns, in a European capital, and in historic houses in New York, Virginia and Maryland. She traveled widely in Europe and Asia during her husband’s four year assignment as a Marshall Plan consultant after World War II. After her return to the United States, she established a business in New York City in the fashion industry and designed lingerie and clothing for children. She later worked in advertising in Washington, DC. When she became politically active upon settling in Alexandria in 1964, she was a vital force in the Alexandria Republican City Committee, and worked tirelessly for the campaigns of Republican candidates for local and national offices. She served as an alternate delegate to the 1972 Republican Convention in Miami. In 1978, she joined Martha Rountree, co-founder of Meet the Press, at the Leadership Foundation, and served as President of Leadership Action, a nonprofit group that lobbied in support of issues related to family values. Ann was passionate about historic preservation, and served several terms on Alexandria’s Board of Architectural Review after becoming alarmed at the effects of development on Alexandria’s historic landscape. Her work in preservation was recognized by President Ronald Reagan, who appointed her to the National Museum Services Board in 1982. Her proudest preservation achievement was the restoration of Beverly Farm, a 1795 plantation house in Somerset County, MD where she spent her last 25 years. Ann was an artist, and her life was her canvas. She surrounded herself with beauty in both humble and grand homes. She entertained artfully, gathering people together who had in common only that she liked them. When her entertaining days ended, she remained the perennial life of the party; her witty stories attracted young and old to her chair during house tours and parties, but it was her interest in those gathered around her that kept them there. Ann was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Barney, a son, Julius B. Haffner, and a grandson, Scott A. Renard. She is survived by her son, John D. Haffner of Eden, MD, daughters Julie A. Twining, of Eufaula, AL and Jeanette Turnbull, of Philadelphia, grandchildren Laurie Giovanniello and Gus Turnbull, and four great grandchildren. The family plans a private memorial service and interment. If so inclined, a donation to your local humane society would be a fitting memorial.
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