YA Mourns the Passing of Arts Advocate and Former Trustee Ann McGoldrick

Young Audiences Trustee Emeritus Larry Capo and Ann McGoldrick at at YA Former Board Member Reunion Party in 2013.

We mourn the passing of Ann McGoldrick, who served as a Trustee of Young Audiences from 1986-2007 and continued to be involved with YA after her retirement from the board. Most recently she hosted the “former board member reunion” at her home in Princeton in 2013 and supported Dazzle and the annual fund. We hope you’ll consider attending her service on Saturday, June 16 at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street, Princeton, beginning at 1:00 PM. Gifts to YA, made in honor of Ann, will be acknowledged to her family.

“Ann was a “super” trustee, one in hundreds, who was so incredibly essential to the success of Young Audiences.  Her intelligence, determination, commitment and practicality were prized traits.  Her contributions have left her imprint on the organization forever, it would not be what it is today without her.” – Marilyn Grounds, YA Trustee
“There is so much to say about Ann, her passion, her endless energy, and her generosity of spirit…..her ability to make all in her orbit feel special. For all the good she did for so many, she never, never wanted attention or applause.  Her modesty was a beautiful thing to witness, because if anyone deserved attention and applause, it was Ann McGoldrick.  She had a profound impact on so many in this community and will be close to the hearts of all who knew her.” – Liz Fillo, YA Trustee


Ann Puffer McGoldrick, a resident of Princeton for 51 years, died suddenly on May 23rd at the age of 75.

Ann was born in Boston to Charlotte Chapman Puffer and Robert W. Puffer, Jr.  She grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts where she attended the Dana Hall School.  She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Vassar College in 1965, writing her senior thesis on the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

In 1966, at age 23, she married her beloved John L. McGoldrick.  Together, they were a formidable team.  They moved to Princeton, where they lived for the remainder of her life.  Early on, she worked for the Educational Testing Service, where, among other things, she was instrumental in developing the GRE exam.  Ann’s contributions to the Princeton community were deep and broad, and demonstrated her passion for social and political issues, and especially later in her life, to the arts.

Ann was elected to the Board of Education for the Princeton Public Schools for twelve years, and served as President for a number of years.  She was deeply committed to the students of Princeton and cared particularly about issues of equity.  She served on the Princeton Borough Zoning Board for 17 years, and was involved with The Crisis Ministry (now Arm In Arm), which helps secure basic needs of food and housing to residents of Mercer County.  A Friend of the Institute for Advanced Study since 1999, she served on its Executive Committee from 2001 to 2006.  More recently, she was a valued member of the Institutional Review Board of Princeton University.  Her sharp mind, no-nonsense manner, and willingness to speak up on issues she cared about made her an invaluable asset to these organizations.  Ann was, in all things, a “do-er”, a practical person who got things done, and who valued that quality in others.

Ann was a strong advocate for the arts, and had a special passion for choral music.  She provided volunteer support to the choirs at Trinity Church, and served on the board of Young Audiences of New Jersey.  One of the great joys of her life was The Princeton Singers, the extraordinary singing group, with whom she was involved for 35 years.  As Chair of The Princeton Singers Board, she worked tirelessly to support and foster the group, whose music brought her tremendous happiness.

Above all else, Ann was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend.  She was steady, kind, and generous, and was humble beyond measure, always thinking about what she could do for others and wishing to keep herself out of the spotlight.  Those who loved her always had a staunch and loving ally.  She was an expert chef, a whiz at the New York Times crossword puzzle, a voracious consumer of political news, and a strong advocate who possessed a rare gentleness and grace.  She was a supporter of Democratic causes, except when she saw special talent and wisdom on the other side.  She was genuinely and fiercely egalitarian, with no exceptions.

She deeply loved the summers she spent with family and friends on Cape Cod since 1966, and was rejuvenated each year by the natural beauty and solace she found there.  Her absence will be acutely felt on the beaches of Wellfleet this summer, and every summer to come.

Ann is survived by John, her husband of 51 years, son Scott McGoldrick and his wife Linda Noel, of Princeton, daughter Jennifer Solomon and her husband Josh Solomon, of Needham, Massachusetts, grandchildren Olivia and Julia McGoldrick, and Sam and Nathaniel Solomon, all the apples of her eye, brother Robert W. Puffer, III and his wife Jane Puffer of Acton, Massachusetts, and countless friends.

A memorial service in her honor will be held on Saturday, June 16 at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street, Princeton, beginning at 1:00.  In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Arm In Arm (www.arminarm.org, 61 Nassau Street, Princeton) or The Princeton Singers (www.princetonsingers.org, P.O. Box 344, Princeton).