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Ann Richards Memorial Garden

Summer Birthdays and Suites

Liz Smith and Bette Midler are creating a memorial garden for their late friend, the great Ann Richards that will honor her indomitable spirit, wit, humor and achievement. As the 46th Governor of Texas (1991-1995), Ann was elected to the office after serving two consecutive terms as state treasurer and following a career in teaching. She died in September 2006 after battling esophageal cancer.

They’ve raised $80,000 already and hope to raise $250,000 total for the project which will enable them to hire a landscape designer and build the garden elements. The founders hope also to create an endowment for the garden to keep it green and as vibrant as its namesake for years to come. Although Governor Richards was proud to be a Texan (and a legendary one now), New York was her second home. At the end of her life she spent a great deal of time here for her work and with the many friends she made.

The garden is being designed by Lynden Miller, a leading landscape designer who created the magnificent Conservatory Garden in Central Park. The Ann Richards Memorial Garden will be located at Swindler Cove Park, a beautiful five acre public park the New York Restoration Project created on the banks of the Harlem River in Northern Manhattan on the site of what was once an illegal dumping ground.

I had the great privilege to know Ann – and it was always a privilege just to be in her company — thanks to our introduction by Liz Smith. I was of course very familiar with her before we met. She was one of those rare individuals whose warm and charming public personality was also her private personality. Besides the wit, the humor and the vivaciousness, goodness had more than a little something to do with it; and she spread it around liberally for all who knew her to share in.

To make a donation to the Ann Richards Memorial Garden, please contact the NYRP’s Development Office at 212-333-2552.

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