“She was kind of like our Granny D:’ Londonderry Democratic matriarch Anne Warner dies at 77

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Anne Warner

LONDONDERRY, NH – Anne Warner, a longtime Democratic activist, leader and elected official in Londonderry, died June 20 while battling cancer. She was 77.

Warner was one of the founding members of the Democratic Committee of Londonderry over 40 years ago, a Londonderry Supervisor of the Checklist from 2008 to 2020 and one of only a small handful of Democrats to be elected as a state representative in her district in the past century. 

A public celebration of life will be held on July 10 at town Democrat headquarters at 2 Litchfield Road in Londonderry.

Tammy Siekmann, the current chair of the Democratic Committee of Londonderry, said Warner founded the committee alongside Marylinn Hoffman, Mary Tetrau and Winston Grady, and served various leadership roles in the committee, and as a delegate on the executive committee of the Rockingham County Democratic Committee.

“She was kind of like our Granny D, if you will,” said Siekmann, referring to Doris “Granny D” Haddock, the New Hampshire political activist who rose to fame in her 80s when she marched across the country for campaign finance reform.

Warner died of cancer of the brain, lung and kidney, according to Siekmann, speaking on behalf of Warner’s husband Gregory Warner. She said Warner survived kidney cancer about 20 years ago and had one kidney removed. 

Warner was diagnosed again in April 2019, treatment interfered with her attendance at the State House. It was in remission after six months of treatment, Siekmann said, but it returned recently. 

She is survived by her husband, her brother Walter Rynkiewicz, and her sisters Alexandra Hill and Florence Webb. 

While Republicans have long dominated the State House seats from Rockingham District 5, Siekmann said Warner was so well known in town that she was able to win a seat in 2018, an especially rare feat. 

Lisa Whittemore was the first Democrat to win a seat for Democrats in that district in about 125 years, when she won in 2012, Siekmann said. But that was during a presidential election year.

“So when Annie got elected in a midterm, that has never happened in history for a Democrat in Londonderry,” Siekmann said.

While Warner was there to champion her Democratic ideals, she was also willing to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans on some issues, Siekmann said.

“She always saw past whether you were a Republican or a Democrat, and she was willing to work with them,” she said. “She caught some flak for that.”

Warner served as Supervisor of the Checklist in Londonderry since 2008, doing the important but unglamorous work of helping people register to vote, processing elections and maintaining the accuracy of the checklist. She retired from that in 2020. 

“I think (Warner) loved her community. I think that she wanted to give to her community and support it. And she believed deeply in the democractic process,” said Kristin Grages, the current chair of the supervisors of the checklist. 

She said it was important to Warner that integrity in elections be maintained, and that everyone who should be voting got that opportunity. 

Warner also loved helping people. She and her husband Greg would often be the first to volunteer to drive people to the hospital when needed, and helped in all sorts of ways in the community, according to Grages.

Grages said she also remembers when Warner made an impact in her own son Alex’s life when he was about six years old (about three years ago).

“She found out that my son loved trains and it was a passion that her husband shared with him, so she would bring him train magazines and a train Christmas ornament,” Grages said. “She was always quick to learn about other people and their passions and connect with them.”

Democrats started renting the Litchfield Road farmhouse in the summer of 2017, and it was the first stable foothold of real estate the party had in town for a long time, Siekmann said. 

When they needed money to keep leasing the building, the Warners made a more than $5,000 donation to the committee, Siekmann said.

Siekmann said Warner may have been a pioneer for the party in this part of the state, but she is seeing the start of a demographic shift that could lead to a long-term Democratic power base in Londonderry and neighboring Derry, which combined have enough Democratic voters to rival Manchester, she said.

As her husband is a Vietnam War veteran, Warner’s cremated remains will be buried at New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen.

Her obituary can be read here via Peabody Funeral Homes and Crematorium

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Ryan Lessard

Ryan Lessard is a freelance reporter.