SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. — Anne Leigh Rudeen, author of five published novels and a force of nature who left an indelible impression on everyone who knew her, passed away peacefully at her home in South Salem, N.Y., on Sunday, July 3, 2016. She was 85, although her outlook was far more youthful. Her passions included attending rock concerts, taking Zumba classes, creating art projects, and generally making everywhere she lived and every life she touched all the better for her presence.
Anne Leigh Rudeen, née Snyder, was born on June 27, 1931, in Topeka, to Frances Louise and John Thomas Snyder. The Snyder family, which welcomed Anne’s sister, Patricia, four years later, settled in Great Bend. For the rest of her life, Anne told memorable stories about growing up in Great Bend during the Dust Bowl and World War II.
Anne attended Great Bend High School, then spent a year at Ward Belmont College in Nashville, Tenn. She was admitted to the University of Kansas, and pledged the Chi Omega sorority. An English major and member of the college newspaper staff, she met Kansas City resident and fellow KU student Kenneth Rudeen at “The Shack” where the school newspaper was published. Ken was KU college correspondent for the Kansas City Star at the time. The two were married in Great Bend just days after they were graduated from KU − Anne with Phi Beta Kappa honors − in 1952.
Ken was drafted into the Army during the Korean War, primarily serving in Baltimore, Md., where Anne worked as a teacher. Once Ken was discharged from the Army, he took a job with Sports Illustrated magazine in New York. Anne also was employed by Time Inc. and also worked at International House in New York.
In 1965, the Rudeen family moved to South Salem, N.Y. Anne worked as a substitute teacher at John Jay High School in Cross River, N.Y., in the 1960s and 1970s. She published her first novel, Summerblood, with Warner Books in 1978. It was followed by American Royal (Warner, 1980), and Jam Archer and Wild Dalton (2008). With her daughter, Louisa, Anne co-wrote Tessa of Destiny (Avon Books, 1980) and Green Lady (Avon, 1981), under the pseudonym Leigh Ellis. Anne also collaborated with Ken on a series of children’s books about sports heroes, published by HarperCollins in the 1970s.
Ken continued working as an editor for Sports Illustrated until 1996. Thanks to his career, Anne and Ken attended innumerable sporting events, including Grand Prix races, World Series finals and Olympic Games. They covered every America’s Cup from 1970 until Ken’s death in 2003 and Anne continued to be a Cup fan her entire life.
Anne Rudeen is survived and loved by her daughter, Louisa Rudeen Beckett and son-in-law Gary Beckett of Port St. Lucie, Fla.; sister, Patricia Trebilcox, of Overland Park; two granddaughters; eight nieces and nephews; one grandnephew, and countless other people who knew her.
Memorial donations in Anne’s name may be made to the Humane Society of Pasco County, http://www.humanesocietyofpasco.org/donations/ or to the animal rescue organization of your choice.
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, July 10, 2016**