Ann Armitage Hamner died at UNC Hospital-Hillsborough on November 19, 2022, in peace and in the arms of her Lucky Nephew as the sun rose.
Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, Ann earned a BA in studio art from Hollins College. She spent seven formative years in Lawrence, Kansas, before returning to the southern part of Heaven—Chapel Hill, North Carolina—where she built a life rooted in leadership, activism, and care. She was a loving mother, sister, partner, grandmother, and friend, plus doting caregiver to a succession of very, very lucky dogs. She spent her last quarter-century at her home, Dog House Farm in Orange County, enjoying the sound of New Hope Creek and the company of her partner, Reed. Reed cared for Ann tirelessly in her final years, reminding her daily that she was “the finest intellect and loveliest woman” he had ever known.
Raising her daughter Frances was Ann’s greatest joy and proudest accomplishment, and she encouraged Frances to explore the world without ever conveying a burden of worry. Ann joined Frances on trips to Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Belize, Ecuador, and Spain, and she earned the right to spoil her granddaughters lavishly, to revel in pride at their concern for animal welfare, at Maggie’s worldliness, at Annie’s artistic gifts.
For 33 years Ann served the University of North Carolina as an administrator, first at the School of Social Work, then in the Departments of Psychology and Nutrition. In 1981 she moved to the Department of Biostatistics, from which she retired as Business Manager in 2000, capping off a career defined by excellence. She served as Faculty-Staff Committee Co-Chair during Carolina’s Bicentennial Campaign in 1993 and took particular pride in being elected UNC Employee Forum Chair in 1996, in which capacity she prioritized the interests of university custodial and maintenance staff.
Ann’s dedication to UNC extended well beyond her countless professional contributions. She was a devoted Tar Heel who held season tickets for men’s basketball for more than forty years. Her last spoken words before an evening spent in communion with loved ones were, “I love you. Go Heels.”
Ann is survived by her beloved daughter, Frances Langhorne Houck of Durham; life partner of more than thirty years, Reed Harmon Carpenter; brother, Randolph Marshall Hamner of Hillsborough, whom she raised from a pup; granddaughters Margaret Marshall Fairey and Annie George Fairey of Durham; lucky nephew Christopher Hamner of Arlington, Virginia, and niece Eliza Hamner-Koenig of Washington, DC; dearest friend Elizabeth Gray Gregory of Efland, and precious Splash. Stepson Dylan Conrad Talbot and sister-in-law Julie Calver Hamner preceded her in death.
Ann's family is indebted to Dr. Arthur Axelbank (Orange Family Medical Group) for a lifetime of outstanding care, with bench appearances by NP Robin Motley and Dr. Cody Deen (UNC Cardiology).
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that a more fitting tribute is to show up in your own community as Ann did so tirelessly in hers—seeking always to befriend and support the next person you meet. Monetary donations in Ann’s name may be made to Carolina Friends School in Durham. A celebration of Ann’s life will be held at Carolina Friends School at 11am on Saturday, December 17, 2022. All are welcome, and all are invited to wear a touch of Carolina blue.
Walker’s Funeral Home in Hillsborough is assisting the family.