'O' in Life: Marilyn Blaisdell '48 Ane
The "O" in Life Award is the highest honor given by the Punahou Alumni Association, and is awarded annually to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding continuing service to Punahou and the Hawai‘i community.
Marilyn Blaisdell '48 Ane has always brought out the best in others. As a kindergarten teacher at Wilcox Hall, she nurtured a generation of eager young minds; as the wife of late football coach Charles Teetai Ane Jr. '49, she cheered youthful athletes through the rigors of competition; as a booster for Punahou, she initiated and revived events that have become treasured school traditions.
Marilyn Blaisdell Ane grew up on the outskirts of Kaimuki, the younger of two daughters of Lucy Thurston '22, a teacher, and Neal S. Blaisdell, the former mayor of Honolulu. Entering Punahou in the third grade, Ane blossomed under the tutelage of educators such as Olive Gow, Jane and Mary Winne, and Mary Kawena Pukui. She remembers that Pukui, a revered Hawaiian scholar, taught the children a hula they performed for Punahou's 1941 centennial celebration on Alexander Field.
In high school, Ane presided over the Punahou Girls Athletic Association, which sponsored non-competitive interscholastic games, reigned as May Day Queen and took up the sport of cheerleading. During her junior year, the spirited cheerleader met her future husband Charles Teetai Ane Jr., a towering football star from Kalihi. "Charlie had the utmost integrity," Ane says. "He was very honest, he knew right from wrong, and he took care of his family. I loved him for that."
The Ane family grew to include Kale '71, assistant athletic director, Malia '72, a third-grade teacher in the Winne Units, and Neal '74, an assistant football coach at Kalani High School. Ane had received her B.A. in social work and psychology from USC and completed her graduate degree in teaching at the University of Hawai‘i - Manoa.
For 28 years, Ane taught kindergarten at Punahou. "I just love this age," she says. "The children come and everything is so new. They start looking at words, they put them in a structure and that's the exciting beginning of reading. The children are also building the social foundation for their lives - they learn how to take turns and be thoughtful of everyone else. That's what was most important to me."
The effervescent Ane boosted school traditions by reviving kindergarten Christmas caroling and launching the Flaming "P" and Kupuna Day. Her enduring gift to the school, however, is embodied in the lives of her students. "As a kindergarten teacher, she was just a generous and loving person," says Malia Lam '98, a pediatric resident. "She exposed us to the important values of friends and family and the importance of our education."
Greg Yim '80, a pediatric neurologist, agrees: "Mrs. Ane was so enthusiastic about learning, she turned us on to learning. She got me on the right track and the rest of my education just flowed from there. She was my first teacher and she was the most influential teacher I ever had at Punahou."
Now retired, Ane keeps up a full schedule. Each Christmas, she dusts off her accordion and accompanies the kindergartners in caroling; every month, she gets together with her Punahou classmates. "I'm so lucky to have such a beautiful class," Ane says. "It's been 60 years and we're still supporting each other. I love that feeling that Punahou gives you - that it's not just now, but 60 years from now, these friendships remain."
Classmates, former students, family and friends of Marilyn Blaisdell Ane will always look forward to the chance to rally around this remarkable woman. She is life's perennial cheerleader.