Anna Lounsberry, 95, of Jamison, an artist and mother of three with the soul of a sailor, died Sunday, Dec. 20, of COVID-19 at Doylestown Hospital.
Mrs. Lounsberry was not hard to define. If it was creative and daring, it was for her. She painted in oils, and her work hangs on the walls of her children’s homes. She designed tombstones, drew maps of oil deposits, and traveled the world on a cargo ship when she was 70.
She was a champion of equality, opportunity, and compassion, and she bristled when she found them lacking.
“We kids joked that she should have been a CIA agent because no one could get her to do anything she didn’t want to do,” said daughter Emilie Lounsberry, a former reporter at The Inquirer. “You could torture her, but she would not give anything up. Our saying about her was, ‘Don’t poke the bear.’”
Mrs. Lounsberry was born in 1925 and grew up in Southwest Philadelphia, near Saybrook and Woodland Avenues. She graduated from West Catholic High School in 1944, and later worked as an artist for Bell Telephone, and drew oil maps for Sun Oil. She met Edward Lounsberry through mutual friends at a party, and they married in 1954.
The couple settled in Jamison and went about raising Emilie and her brothers, Edward and Andrew. Life on the two-acre plot was idyllic. The family helped found St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catholic Church, and Mrs. Lounsberry did volunteer work at Doylestown Hospital and with developmentally disabled children.
She enjoyed knitting, sewing, and calligraphy. Her favorite inspirational slogans were “I can. I must. And I will,” and “Pull back and regroup.” The children marveled at her energy and learned early on that cleanliness was important.
“She got joy out of cleaning and polishing,” Emilie said with a laugh. “She was meticulous. She was not your average housewife, but she ran a good house.”
Later, after the children were grown, Mrs. Lounsberry dived back into art. She designed tombstones with personal details of the deceased that still dot local cemeteries, and was a technical illustrator at AEL Industries in Colmar, and Honeywell in Horsham.
Her greatest adventures, however, came on the high seas after her husband died in 1983. Inspired by her father, a German sailor who came to the United States and married her mother, Mrs. Lounsberry twice booked passage on cargo ships, first across the North Atlantic to Germany, and then around the world when she was 70.
During the second trip, a three-month trek around the globe, Mrs. Lounsberry pored over research, worked on art projects, and wrote letters to her family back home. One of her favorite tales was about sailing past pirate hideaways near Asia. She finally landed in Germany just before Christmas, met up with Emilie, and they shopped until they dropped.
“She had an adventurous spirit and a lot of fortitude, and she taught us how to be determined in life and how to get through tough times,” her daughter wrote in a tribute.
“She never liked to take the beaten path.”