Anne Rivers Siddons CHARLESTON - Our beloved stepmother, Anne Rivers Siddons, a resident of Charleston since 1998, died peacefully after a short battle with lung cancer on September 11th, 2019. She died at home surrounded by her family. A recent return to the Christian faith of her youth was a constant source of strength, comfort and assurance during her final days on earth. Like CS Lewis, who she ardently admired, Anne arrived at a settled conviction that Jesus Christ is the "way, the truth and the life" and entrusted her life to her Savior and Lord. Sybil Anne Rivers was born in Fairburn, Georgia on January 9th,1936 to Marvin and Katherine Rivers. She was the 6th generation of the Rivers family that lived in Fairburn. Her father was a patent attorney and her mother worked as secretary to the principal of Campbell High School. She graduated from high school magna cum laude, was elected homecoming queen and cheerleading captain. She enrolled at Auburn University in 1954 and graduated in 1958. At Auburn she wrote columns for the college newspaper. She was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority and named "Loveliest of the Plains". In 1957 she courageously penned two editorials supporting integration and was dismissed from the Auburn Plainsmen by the university administration. Her firing received national attention and her experience greatly influenced her first novel, Heartbreak Hotel. After graduation she moved to Atlanta and worked in advertising. Her desire to write led her to Atlanta magazine in 1963. She became a senior editor and began to write essays for numerous magazine publications. She met her the love of her life, Heyward Siddons, in 1965 and they were married in 1966. Immediately, she became a stepmother to Heyward's four sons who adored her. In 1975 her first book was published, John Chancellor Makes Me Cry. The book was a compilation of 28 poignant and uplifting essays from her own life. In a chapter aptly titled "Ten Days that Shook the World", she happily recounts with great hilarity the trials and tribulations of meeting her four young stepsons for the first time. In 1976 she wrote her first novel, Heartbreak Hotel. In 1978, she penned her only horror story, The House Next Door. Stephen King greatly admired this novel and wrote a glowing review in his definitive book about the genre of horror titled Danse Macabre. These two books were subsequently made into movies. The movie Heart of Dixie, based on Heartbreak Hotel, was released in 1989. The Lifetime Channel produced The House Next Door, a made for TV movie in 2006. In 1988, her novel Peachtree Road was published and is considered by many to be her most important book. Comparisons with the famed author Margaret Mitchell were touted in literary circles. She went on to write 15 more novels and developed a legion of fans in the South and beyond. Over the years her new book signings were notable as fans lined up gripping numerous copies of her previous novels to have Anne sign. Her fans were passionately loyal, a fact that always surprised and delighted her. After marrying Heyward Siddons, Anne spent every summer on the Maine coast in the tiny town of Brooklin. Heyward's great grandfather built a summer cottage called the Milton in 1927. After residing in the Milton for many summers, they purchased a beautiful summer home lying on a waterfront cove overlooking Eggemoggin Reach. She named the house Osprey and her love affair with this part of the world only grew. Maine became the setting for another novel, Colony, that was published in 1992. The baseball writer Roger Angell was a next-door neighbor. Her love of writing never diminished over the years. In fact, she recently outlined a new novel that was going to explore the friendship between a white girl and black girl during the Civil Rights march toward Selma. In 1991 Anne was awarded a doctorate of letters by Oglethorpe University. In 2004 Anne created the Osprey Foundation. The Osprey Foundation supports initiatives around Education, Environmental & Animal Protection, and Christian ministry. Through the Osprey Foundation, she funded a College of Liberal Arts scholarship program at Auburn. In 2007 she was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. In 2013, Anne received Auburn's Women's Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award. Anne was known by her family and friends for her humility, grace, elegance, southern gentility, and a generous heart that knew no bounds. She always had a houseful of cats, was a lover of God's creation and animals of every kind. She was devoted to her husband Heyward and no one could think of her without thinking of him. They were inseparable. Anne was a gifted story teller who loved words and she shared those words with the world through her books. The world is by far a richer and better place because Anne inhabited it. She will be missed by her family, friends and fans. She was an amazing person, an amazing writer. Above all, she was an extraordinary step mother. Anne is survived by her four stepsons and their families. They are Lee Siddons, Kem Siddons (Carol), Rick Siddons (Julie), David Siddons (Tracy), and three step-grandchildren, Stuart Siddons (Chrissy) Kelby Siddons (Jay), and Maggie Siddons Holst (Henry). There will be a private family service held for Anne. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Osprey Foundation via check and sent to the attention of David Siddons, 5510 Harris Woods Trace, Fulshear, Texas 77441. Visit our guestbook at www.legacy.com/obituaries/
Published by Charleston Post & Courier from Sep. 16 to Sep. 17, 2019.