Voshall, Ann

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .





Ann Voshall

(1936 - )


Born and raised in the Midwest, Ann spent her youth in Waterloo, Iowa, and Wisconsin before moving to Denver to teach elementary school in 1957.  She and her husband relocated to Evergreen in 1963 where they raised two children.

As an only child whose parents were killed in an auto accident her first year of college, Ann spent a lifetime "collecting kids," as she puts it.  At a minimum, she's centered much of her life around working with young people in one fashion or another.

When the Blue Jeans Symphony relocated to Evergreen from Estes Park in 1966 and changed its name to the Colorado Philharmonic Orchestra, Ann started the women's auxiliary to support the group of young musicians who came from all over the country to gain experience playing in a professional orchestra.  The orchestra, now known as the National Repertory Orchestra, moved from Evergreen in late 1986.  Among her memories of helping the orchestra is the time one of the students poured hot chili powder into the spaghetti sauce at a spaghetti dinner fundraising event at Cavalieri's.

She was an active member of the Children's Hospital Auxiliary, which was big in Evergreen for many years, according to Ann.  In that capacity, she helped with making stuffed animals for the children.  Rummage sales were a big part of their fundraising, and Ann was in charge of jewelry sales.  She recalls the time she sold a string of pearls at $4 and later learned from the lady who purchased them that they'd been appraised as real pearls and diamonds!

In the late 1960s she and her family hosted four 17- and 18-year-old golfers who participated in the National Junior Golf Tour at Hiwan Golf Club.  They had such fun that they started coming at Christmastime and 45 years later still keep in touch, even though they have progressed from "junior golf" status to seniors in the PGA.  She got acquainted with all their families and occasionally got to see one of them play in a national tournament.  She plans a reunion with three of the four in Oklahoma in October of 2012.

Before the Hiwan Homestead was acquired by Jefferson County Open Space and made into a museum, she and her friend, Joan Landy, who lived at the homestead, turned the 17-room house into a haunted house for Halloween to raise money for the senior class at Evergreen High School.  Ann dressed as a ghost and positioned herself in the bathtub, rising up to scare the youngsters as they passed through.  "We borrowed gym mats from the high school and put them on the stairs for kids to slide down," she explained.  "It was the perfect haunted house."

She and other parents organized the first after-prom party for Evergreen High School, holding it at the largest campsite at deDisse Park.  She remembered "slopping food" from midnight to 3 a.m.

In the 1970s she worked with two foreign exchange student programs and was State Chairman of placements and interviewing prospective host families, traveling the state of Colorado.  It was not uncommon for her to meet students arriving at 2 a.m. on red-eye flights and changing planes at Stapleton to get to their final destinations elsewhere.  Occasionally, if there were a problem elsewhere, she'd bring the student to Evergreen to complete the year.

She made a habit of communicating with each student weekly, and they all got to know and trust her.  She organized monthly get-togethers and worked in conjunction with the counseling office to put on international days at Evergreen High School.  She, herself, hosted three students in the '70s – one girl from Belgium, another from Panama, and a boy from Sweden. Forty years later, she and the girls are still in touch, visiting frequently and communicating regularly.  They call her "mom," and the foreign grandchildren have visited as well.

In the early 1980s she became the first female board member of Forest Heights Lodge, a residential treatment facility for emotionally disturbed boys.  Later in the 1980s she served on the board (and as president) of Bootstraps, which at that time mentored Evergreen High School grads and provided them with interest-free student loans.

She was a charter member of the Mountain Rendezvous Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a charter member of PEO Chapter FR.  She served as president of the Denver-area Cottey Club, which supported Cottey College in Missouri.

She started Evergreen Employment Service in the 1980s and operated it for 17 years before selling the business.  It was a time of growth, expansion and prosperity in Evergreen, with numerous job openings posted weekly.  She took a personal interest in her candidates, often giving them tips on how to dress and how to act, more than once giving young men money to get haircuts before going for an interview.

On one of her leaf-peeping trips to New England in the 1980s, she spotted some raffia doll figures in athletic poses and outfitted with hand-kint sweaters and caps.  She worked with the Vermont craftswoman who started the business and made and distributed what she called her "little people" in Coiorado, employing five knitters in the community.  She proud to say that Barbara Bush and Maria Shriver purchased some of her "little people" at Colorado resorts.

Since being a kid, she'd been entranced by live auctions in the Midwest and fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming an auctioneer by attending and graduating from the Missouri School of Auctioneering, being certified as a "Colonel" in her fifties.  Most of her auctioneering was done for nonprofit organizations such as Bootstraps, Ducks Unlimited, the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce, and PEO.

On another leaf-peeping trip in New England, she and her husband discovered colorful flags of original designs lining the streets of small towns.  They returned and started a business of their own, using Ann's grammar school designs to create a new cottage industry they called Evergreen Flags.  They employed five sewers in Evergreen who fabricated the designs in their homes.  Her husband, Bob, who'd retired as a manufacturer's rep, took up selling flag poles and US flags to municipalities.  She and Bob traveled the state selling flags at arts and crafts shows, and they conducted a contest to come up with an official flag for Evergreen.

When the US Postal Service came out with a new stamp with a Christmas tree on it, Ann created a flag to match the stamp, and the stamp was unveiled at Heritage Grove in Evergreen, Colorado, as a result.  She had a brief appearance on "Good Morning America," in connection with the launch.

Evergreen Flags was the first flag company on the Internet.  They sold their company to relocate to Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada in August of 2001, a month before 9/11.

Using her cooking and catering skills, she put together an 18-month cooking class for elderly men on Vancouver Island, referring to them as her "Apron Boys."  Seven men aged 68-86 met twice a month in Ann's home to learn the basics of cooking, including how to identify the smell of spices and how to set a table.  The final exam was putting together a five-course meal for their wives.

While in Canada Ann was a tour guide at the Wildlife Recovery Center and a volunteer with Restorative Justice, which works with young people who have been offenders with the justice system.  By taking referrals for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, pairs of volunteers would meet with the offenders and their parents or guardians in the homes of the offenders to agree on restitution and punishment, thus keeping them out of the court system and avoiding a criminal record.

Ann returned to Evergreen in 2012 and would like to see a program such as Restorative Justice started here.