Anne Marie Chrétien, 91, passed away at Potomac Manor Care on October 4, 2017. Anne Marie was born May 10, 1926 In Schwaebisch Gmuend, Germany, to parents Juliane Katherine and Ludwig Zischer, joining brother, Hans, and sister, Paula. The mother, Juliane, passed away when Anne Marie was just a toddler, and Ludwig married Maria Lang. Anne Marie was raised by her and her older siblings after Ludwig passed when she was 9 years old.
Anne Marie attended a number of teachers’ colleges in Germany, from 1943 to 1952 while also working as an elementary and special education teacher in the Stuttgart, Germany, area. In 1952, she came to the United States as a foreign student and attended George Peabody College and Vanderbilt University, both in Nashville, Tennessee, and later the University of Maryland. It was at an international student gathering where she met Paul Joseph Chrétien, a student from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, studying for an MBA at the University of Michigan, who became her husband. They raised two children primarily in Potomac, Maryland, after have first briefly lived in Port-au-Prince, Mexico City, and New York City. She became a U.S. citizen in 1961.
Anne Marie’s love for teaching never abated and throughout her life she zealously furthered her own education in that field. As a new mother, she continued her teaching career at the German School in Mexico City. Upon finally settling in Maryland, she taught special education at St. Johns Development Services located in a convent in Potomac, Maryland (now the William F. Bolger Center) and the Montrose School in Rockville, Maryland. However, she is best remembered for her lengthy tenure as a primary and secondary school teacher at the German School Washington D.C., initially located in a historical residential home on MacArthur Boulevard in Washington, D.C. She was also a founding member of that school, serving as a core teacher from 1961 until her retirement in the 1980s
Even as a full-time mother and teacher, her passion for education led her to enroll in evening classes at the American University in Washington D.C. where she earned a masters in Germanic studies, and entered a PhD program at the University of Maryland in College Park in German and language studies.
Anne Marie was a faithful member of the German Lutheran Church of Washington where she was well-known and forged many friendships. She had a deep love of classical music and opera and regularly attended musical performances at the Kennedy Center with her partner later in life, Hans Fuerth, who was an accomplished pianist. Above all, Anne Marie was intensely interested in anyone who crossed her path, cherishing many strong life-long friendships and always reaching out to friends and family across the globe.
She dedicated her professional life to the development and education of children who later as adults vividly remember her strong independent character and tireless dedication. In the last few years, Anne Marie was able to stay in her Potomac home, soaking up the generous sunlight streaming into her beloved spacious kitchen through a floor-to-ceiling window. She was preceded in death by her brother, Hans, and sister, Paula. She is survived by her two children: Paul Henry Chrétien, Barbara Chrétien-Dar and husband Vinod K. Dar, and granddaughters: Annabelle Melissa Chrétien, Amy Nicole Chrétien, Sarah Marie Dar, and Ashley Elysee Chrétien. She is also survived by niece Heike Dawson in Iowa and nephew Karl Heinz Ehrlicher in Germany, and grand nephews, Richard Dawson, Daniel Dawson, and Jens Ehrlicher.
A tragic accident took our loving mother, grandmother, aunt, great aunt, and dear friend from us much too early. In loving memory, we deeply mourn her loss.
Memorial services will be held November 18 at noon at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 7730 Bradley Blvd., Bethesda, Maryland. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in honor of Anne Marie Chrétien to: St. Johns Community Services.