This fund supports organizations in Kendall County via the Discretionary Grantmaking Program.
Ann Riford McWethy (1919-2019) was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1919 to Lulu and Otis Riford. She grew up in Canton, south of Boston.
After four years at prep school at Northfield, Massachusetts, Mrs. McWethy graduated from Green Mountain College in Vermont.
As a youth, she played tennis and taught swimming and canoeing as a counselor at Camp Waukeela in New Hampshire. She enjoyed other sports as well, including downhill and cross-country skiing.
After college she worked as a legal secretary in Boston.
She met her future husband Richard E. McWethy at a naval officers’ dance at Harvard University. He knew that “she was the one” right away. They were married a few months later in January of 1944 in her home.
Richard (Dick) McWethy (1921-2014) was born and raised in Aurora, Illinois. He spent his summers at the family cottage near South Haven on Lake Michigan enjoying swimming, sailing and tennis.
He graduated first in his class from West Aurora High School in 1939. He then enrolled at Caltech in Pasadena, majoring in engineering.
Mr. McWethy was on active duty with the Naval Reserve when school was not in session. He spent one summer aboard the 110-foot schooner “Volador,” sailing patrol one hundred to one hundred-fifty miles offshore watching for Japanese submarines.
After graduation, he was called for active duty in the Navy and was sent to Harvard University for communications training.
Eventually, he served on Attu, at the end of the Aleutian Island chain in Alaska. There he worked in communications with code machines while they launched bombing runs over northern Japan. He noted that the weather reports on Attu ended every day with “wind gusts to 60k.”
Mrs. McWethy worked at Phelps-Dodge mining in Arizona and in Seattle while her husband was on active duty.
When the War was over, they returned to Aurora where Richard McWethy joined his father at McWethy Brothers Insurance founded by his grandfather and his grandfather’s brother in 1869. He concentrated on farm and livestock insurance, which had always interested him.
Mr. McWethy volunteered for many years for the Boy Scouts and the YMCA in Aurora. He was an active member of Rotary since the 1950s. The majority of those years were spent with the Rotary Club of Aurora and later with the Oswego Rotary Club.
Mrs. McWethy enjoyed the Junior Women’s League in Aurora, and volunteered for many years at Hines VA Hospital, working mostly with the wounded veterans from the Vietnam War.
The couple had three children – Merrill, Peggy and Lee.