Ann Marie (Whalen) Croyle, 89, formerly of Watertown

WATERTOWN, NY — Ann Marie (Whalen) Croyle of Santa Barbara, Calif., passed away unexpectedly on April 27, 2018. She was surrounded by her children and grandchildren, who had gathered to celebrate her upcoming 90th birthday. Her epic birthday party with friends and family members was subsequently turned into an Irish wake, where Ann’s long and meaningful life was celebrated. Wife of the late Robert C. Croyle, she and her husband relocated to Santa Barbara in 2003 from Watertown. Bob passed away in 2009.

Born in Watertown on April 30, 1928, to Patrick and Margaret (Gilligan) Whalen, Ann was one of nine children. She graduated from Watertown High School and then worked as a secretary for Empsall’s Department Store. After marrying in 1948, the couple lived in Potsdam, while Bob finished his degree at St. Lawrence University. They settled in West Carthage, where they began their family, eventually moving to Watertown in 1961. After their six children were grown, Ann worked for the county and state courts in Watertown. Ann enjoyed summers at the family cottage on Lake Ontario and her last 15 years in the warmer climate of California.

Ann was funny, smart, sharp, compassionate, and committed to social-justice issues. She was an avid reader, accomplished bridge player, and dedicated crossword-puzzle solver. Her 15 minutes of fame came when, she, her sister Rose, and next-door neighbor Jean were photographed as children on a stone wall in Thompson Park; taken by Willabel Cole Mitchell, the photograph was later featured on well-known posters and notecards (Entre Nous or Girlfriends). Her laugh was a trademark and her family dearly loved to hear it. One of the last things she said to them in her final moments was her oft-repeated mantra: “Take care of your family: your family is everything.”

Ann Croyle is survived by her children: Robert J. of Burlington, Mass,; Steven J. (Mary Lou) of Newfield; Martin W. (Abigail) of Wenham, Mass.; Jeffrey A. (Pamela) of Essex, Conn.; Linda M. (Lori) of Goleta, Calif.; and Lisa A. of Wake Forest, N.C. She is also survived by eight grandchildren, a great-granddaughter, countless friends, faithful bridge partners, and a multi-generational extended family, who will miss her terribly.

She was a member of Holy Family Church in Watertown and St. Raphael’s Church in Santa Barbara.

Her family is hosting a gathering of friends and family to share memories and celebrate her life on Sunday, July 1, from 1-4 pm near the family cottage on Point Salubrious (10128 County Route 125, Chaumont, 13622). Those who would like to be included in the headcount should RSVP to