By Ginger DeShaney

Owen Rogers has known Anne Gordon since he was 6 years old. 

“Anne has been right next to me the whole time,” Owen, 17, said. “She made me the person I am today.”

Owen was just one of many people who attended the celebration Saturday of Anne’s 50-year career at the Edgerley Family South Boston Boys & Girls Club. She retired on June 29, 2021, the 50th anniversary of her start date, but she comes back every Wednesday to volunteer.

“Anne is the most influential person I’ve ever met,” Owen said. “She’s so inspiring. The work that she does influences so many different people. 

“It’s so amazing to see the turnout,” continued Owen, who noted that the number of people who came back for the celebration shows her influence. 

In her 50 years at the Club — most recently as the Arts Director and Summer Camp Director — Anne has impacted thousands of kids. 

“It’s amazing all the impact she’s had on kids’ lives and their kids’ lives and their kids’ lives,” said Scott Gordon, Anne’s brother.

Her dedication has “paid off in the lives of the kids who have benefited from her service,” said Scott, who remembered Anne going to work on her bicycle from Milton. “She loves kids.

“It’s been a great career.”

Anne was not only being honored for her work at the Club. “She has been incredible as an aunt and a sister-in-law,” Sandra Gordon said. “Her talents didn’t stop here at the Boys & Girls Club. She brought it all to our children. She’s made them incredible pieces of art with her knitting … she made each of our children a quilt with their name on it.

“She’s been incredible,” Sandra said. 

Toby Talbot has known Anne since the first day she started working at the Club. Toby ran the school-age child care program at the Club at the time.

He described her as supportive, loving, dedicated, and ever-lasting. 

Joyce Talbot also worked at the Club with Anne. “Anne was always very supportive,” she said.

Jamie Talbot has known Anne her whole life. Anne taught her how to swim. “She’s always been so kind and open. She’s always one of the people when I was coming to the Club that I couldn’t wait to come to see,” Jamie said. “She was just always so open and funny; she always had fun, different things to do.”

Joyce said Anne’s retirement is a huge loss for the Club: “They’ll never find someone as dedicated.” 

“It’s hard for me to imagine this place without her,” Jamie added.

Sean O’Keefe, a current Club kid, said it’s surprising that Anne had been at the Club for 50 years. 

Anne made a big impact on Sean. “Last year, when she taught me more ways on how to draw, at that point I found my love of drawing.” 

Representative David Biele presented Anne with an honor from the Massachusetts House of Representatives. 

Club Executive Director Harry Duvall led a program that included a student performance and an announcement that Anne is being inducted into the Boys & Girls Club of Boston Alumni Hall of Fame. The South Boston Club has also started a Performing Arts Fund in Anne’s name.

People left messages on a sign for Anne. Here’s a sampling:

  • “Thanks for all your love and support over the years. You’re the best.”
  • “Thank you for helping me become who I am today.”
  • “Thanks for everything you’ve done to help my sister and I. Wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for you.”
  • “Every art show, every field trip, every memory I will never forget. Thank you for everything!”

It was all overwhelming for Anne.  

“It’s just crazy. So many people came,” she said. Former and current staff, former and current students, parents, family members, and friends came to the Club to celebrate her. There were many hugs, even more “thank yous,” and so many memories shared.

Even though she’s retired, she still helps out every Wednesday. “I jumped in right away,” Anne said. “It’s hard to say goodbye.”