In Memoriam: Anne Kelley Pajcic

Anne Kelley Pajcic | March 30, 1945 - November 13, 2021
Anne Kelley Pajcic
March 30, 1945 – November 13, 2021

March 30, 1945 – November 13, 2021

Anne Kelley Pajcic was not one to seek the limelight, but she was a behind-the-scenes, fierce advocate for so many causes in the Jacksonville community. Her impact was far-reaching for issues she was passionate about including animal rights, education, and the arts. If Anne Pajcic saw someone in need, she was there to help.

Anne was born March 30, 1945 and graduated from Florida State University in 1967 where she was introduced to her husband Steve by Steve’s brother, Gary. It was love at first sight for Steve. They were married in 1968 and Anne put Steve through Harvard Law School. Shortly after, Steve and Anne trekked all over Europe on $5 a day, driving in a 1971 MGB that they still own today. Anne sold all their possessions to pay for the trip. They returned from Europe happy, and unemployed. And, except for a few memorable months on Orchard Street in Woodstock Park with Steve’s parents, younger sisters, and one bathroom, Avondale has been their home.

Steve and Gary Pajcic founded the Law Firm of Pajcic & Pajcic in 1974 with Anne serving as office manager and bookkeeper. She supported her husband through his political career a dozen years, but did insist on a few things for it to continue, such as the passage of the “Bunny Bill” prohibiting the use of rabbits in training greyhounds. Steve was always happy to oblige.  Anne was Steve’s trusted confidant and constant companion. As Steve puts it, “I never made a bad decision as long as I had time to ask Anne.”

Anne was a Guardian ad Litem volunteer, advocating for children going through the court system-and continued to follow and support her “children” even when they left the system. She also served on boards of nonprofit organizations including chair of the Jacksonville Art Museum and Jacksonville Arts Assembly and she was on the headmaster selection committee of Riverside Presbyterian Day School. Anne and Steve donated $2 million to Edward Waters College and millions more to other local causes. 

Steve and Anne have two children, Michael Sather Pajcic and Helen Louise Pajcic Nicholson. They were blessed to host both of their children’s weddings at their home, including one where President Barack Obama served as a groomsman. Michael and his wife Katy DeBriere have one daughter Ruth Anne. Helen and her husband Marvin Nicholson have three children, North, Shepard and Reedie. Anne cherished spending time with her grandchildren and loved it when they spent the night. She was especially proud that both of her children have happy marriages like she did.

In addition to entertaining Presidents, she had numerous Governors and Senators in her home. She held reunions for her Kappa Alpha Theta sisters and her bridge group of 50 years. Anne was a masterful chef and avid reader. She and Steve enjoyed solving crossword puzzles together every day.

For almost fifty years, Anne relished everything the Avondale neighborhood offers. You may have seen her on daily walks down St. Johns Avenue with her hiking poles or her dog Tate or seen her shuttling Michael and Helen to OSAA soccer, NOL baseball, or for piano lessons in Ortega. Later, she would venture farther afield delivering for Meals-on-Wheels throughout Cedar Hills with fresh baked cookies.

Nat Glover, who at the time was President of Edward Waters College, Anne and Steve with their $2M donation.
Nat Glover, who at the time was President of Edward Waters College, Anne and Steve with their $2M donation.

Changes couldn’t shake her from her routine. Whether it was switching from the Whiteway to Pinegrove for her veggie tabouli or from Mickey’s to Blair Woolverton’s for clothes or from Richard’s to Michael Hailey’s to Glenn Certain for a fresh floral arrangement or from Sterling’s to Crush to Restaurant Orsay for a special dinner out. She followed Marcy from the Shoppes to St. Johns Village to her house on Park Street in Five Points.

While the Edgewood Bakery shut its doors and Riverside Hospital became “baby” Publix, some things never changed. Steve took her to the Dreamette on their first Jacksonville date, and she would take her kids and grandkids there over and over and over.

No one knew more about our neighborhood. She saw stores come and go and generations grow up. It was real treat to cruise with her in the boat on a sunny afternoon or through the streets during Luminaria and hear all her stories about current occupants, prior owners, and the wonderful history we share.

Four years ago, Anne suffered a stroke that left her almost paralyzed on her left side. She remained active and never lost her humor, grace and passion for helping others. And she and Steve continued to cruise through Avondale on their Van Raam tricycle until the very end. She died peacefully at Mayo hospital on November 13, 2021, with her husband and children at her side.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)