Anskje (Ann) Tanna

Tributes~Anskje (Ann) Tanna

Anskje (Ann) Tanna
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Anskje Tanna in Nursing Uniform
Date of Birth: 
November 12 1934
Date of Death: 
September 12 2023

Anskje Tanna (née Boonstra) was born on November. 12,1934, in Huizum, Leeuwardedeel, the Netherlands, the daughter of Oege Boonstra—who worked for the Netherlands railroads—and Cornelisje Schotanus, a doctor’s assistant. She contracted tuberculosis as a child and spent much time out of school and in bed where she developed a love of reading and music. Anskje lived in the Netherlands during World War 2 and passed notes to Jewish prisoners at a labor camp. Her father was in hiding due to the railway strike and her uncle was active in the resistance, which shaped her strong sense of justice.

After working briefly as a telephone operator and secretary for the Dutch Railways, she was admitted to nursing school. At the same time, she received an invitation to come to America for six months as a nanny for the family of a Dutch doctor. She arrived in the US in January, 1957, and lived with the Lind family in Mulberry, Indiana, and then applied to Cook County School of Nursing in Chicago. Anskje loved medicine, and at one point she enrolled in pre-med classes. During her nursing career she worked on the pathological obstetrics ward (pre-Roe v Wade, an experience which made her avowedly pro-choice), she taught nursing in St. Louis, she worked on the neurology ward (2 Carver West) at University of Iowa, and on the MDRD study.

In 1964, Anskje met Vasantkumar L. Tanna, and they fell in love and married in April 1965 in Crown Point, Indiana. Vasant’s parents did not approve of the marriage, and Anskje spent three months in Baroda, India, working at a clinic to get to know the culture and with the hopes of receiving approval from her in-laws. Vasant and Anskje had three daughters: Gita, Anjali and Mira, who were raised in Iowa City. The marriage ended in 1983.

Anskje was a lifelong lover of classical music and made sure her daughters had music lessons. She arranged an exchange between the Frisian Youth Orchestra and the Iowa City Youth Orchestra in 1981-82. After retiring, Anskje joined the Peace Corps and was posted in Kpalime, Togo, West Africa, where she served as a health educator to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Her time in Togo was one of the highlights of her life. After returning to the US, she moved to Sarasota, Florida, where she became involved in the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer association and volunteered for Tidewell Hospice. She was the landscape chair for her condominium association, devoting countless hours to ensuring the grounds were beautiful.

A proud Frisian, Anskje was stubbornly independent and did not want to move into a retirement community as her health declined. With the help of her dear caregiver, Jody Tolhurst, she was able to remain in her home until February of 2023. She then moved to Providence at Maitland memory care community where she passed away peacefully on September 12, 2023.

She is survived by her daughter Gita Tanna-Howard and husband Charles Howard of West Linn, Oregon; daughter Anjali Tanna and husband Mario Rio of Utrecht, the Netherlands; daughter Mira Tanna and husband Obi Nwakanma of Orlando, Florida; and grandchildren Adriana Rio (Utrecht), Kiran Nwakanma (Orlando), Devna Howard (West Linn), Priya Nwakanma (Orlando), and Spencer Howard (West Linn).

Her family would like to thank the Coral Team at AdventHealth Hospice and the staff of Providence at Maitland who ensured she was well cared for until the end.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the National Peace Corps Association or to WSMR Radio in Anskje’s honor.

Media data: 
Place of Birth: 
Huizum, Leeuwardedeel, Netherlands
Place of Death: 
Maitland, Florida, United States
Primary State of Residence: 
Florida, United States

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