Century Club: Arts and education supporter Ann Power Wardrop turns 100
March 3, 2015 12:00 AM
Ann Wardrop was born Feb. 25, 1915, in Duluth, Minn.
Ann Power Wardrop.
By Kevin Kirkland / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Ann Wardrop is well known in Pittsburgh for her dedication to the arts. But her real passions are education and community service.
“She had a constant drive to learn more and do more for the community she lived in,” said daughter Alison Noble Wardrop of Oakland.
She was born on Feb. 25, 1915, in Duluth, Minn., the second daughter of Florence Sheehan Power and Charles Stuart Power. Her mother died in a flu epidemic when she was 4 and her father several years later. She and her sister were divided between relatives. When she was old enough, she left for Italy and finished her education in Florence.
On Jan. 5, 1942, she wed Robert Wardrop II, and they had three daughters: Alison Noble Wardrop of Oakland; Constance Wardrop Combes of Bedford Hills, N.Y.; and Stacy Wardrop Roe of Greenwich, Conn.
Mr. Wardrop served in the Army in Europe during World War II. He was an executive for PPG Industries in Detroit and then moved with his family to Sewickley Heights and, later, Oakland. He retired from PPG after 25 years and died in 1999 after 57 years of marriage.
Mrs. Wardrop’s community service began in Detroit, where she was a docent and member of the women’s committee for the Detroit Museum of Art and founder of the Young People’s Art Center at the Cranbrook Museum of Art. She also co-founded children’s symphony concerts with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Once in Pittsburgh, she became a trustee of the Carnegie Library and Carnegie Museum of Art, where she was a founder and original member of the women’s committee. She was a docent for 50 years and committee president Ranny Ferguson called her “the docent of all docents.” Mrs. Wardrop re-established the museum’s Man and Ideas lecture series, which included Henry Kissinger, Rudolf Bing and Mary McCarthy.
For more than 25 years, she was a docent at the Frick Art & Historical Center and, in 1997, won the CNG Volunteer in the Arts award. She was also a board member and secretary of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, vice chairman of the Allegheny County Air Pollution Advisory Board, on the boards of the CCAC Foundation and World Affairs Council, and a member of Better Block Homewood/Brushton. She helped bring Prince Charles to Pittsburgh while working on the Re-Making Cities Conference.
Mrs. Wardrop was president of the Garden Club of Allegheny County in 1968-70 and won a Garden Club of America award for civic improvement for her efforts to restore local statues including Andrew Carnegie and Stephen Foster, both in Oakland. She was also named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania, Woman of the Year by the Sewickley Historical Society and a Carlow College Woman of Spirit in 2003.
Mrs. Wardop, who now lives at Paramount Senior Living at South Hills, has two grandchildren, one deceased. Instead of birthday cards or gifts, her family requests donations to the Ann Power Wardrop Fund, which provides educational materials for exhibitions at the Carnegie Museum of Art.
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