Sarah Ann Kanaga

August 15, 1955April 4, 2018

Sarah A. “Ann” Kanaga, Age 62, died peacefully at home surrounded by her family Wednesday, after a long, courageous battle with cancer. Daughter of William S. and Sarah “Sally” (Rowe). She is survived by her parents, her brothers Chris, his wife Susie (Shackleford) and Clint, his wife Vicky (Elmer), also of Orleans, MA; nephews John and his wife Stacy (Sippel), Br. Anthony and Joshua of Orleans; nieces Courtney (Fogarty) and husband Josh of Marion, MA, and Lindsey of Orleans; great nieces Anna, Reagan and Madison; great nephews Evan and Mark.

Born in Bronxville, NY on August 18, 1955, she was raised in Stamford and Greenwich, CT, where she studied tap dancing and ice skating, and later chorus, downhill skiing and water sports. Ann was a member of Stanwich Congregational Church in Greenwich, and was an active member of the Pilgrim Fellowship and Young Life. She graduated from Greenwich High School in 1973 after twice being named to the National Honor Society; and was also a manager for the GHS swim team. She attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, graduating with a B.S. in psychology and speech pathology. At Vanderbilt and later, Ann was an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, serving as Pledge Chairman, and as an organizer of Homecoming Events for the University.

The Kanaga family spent summers throughout childhood with cousins and grandparents at Epworth Heights in Ludington, MI, where her parents had met. She was an active member of the Epworth Church Association, serving as Youth Director of Activities, and a member of the Epworth Girls Softball team, and had many lifelong friends there.

After college Ann worked in sewing and design for Carol Krueger Design in Pound Ridge, NY, and then moved to Cape Cod where she became a member of the Community of Jesus in 1980 and made her solemn profession on November 27, 1987. On the Cape she worked in sales and appraisals for Guertin Brothers Jewelers in Hyannis for several years, for Paraclete Press in Brewster, and Friends Marketplace in Orleans, and taught swimming lessons to kids. Highlights of Ann’s years of travel included canoeing on the Okavongo Delta in Botswana, riding a reindeer sleigh near the Arctic Circle in Lapland, and attending a GDC choral concert in Siberia before the Iron Curtain came down – where she saw tears stream down the faces of the Russian people hearing their sacred music sung in their own tongue for the first time in two generations.

Ann was Executive Director for the Orleans Chamber of Commerce for five years, a member of the Planned Giving Council of Cape Cod, and a founding member of Philanthropy Day of the Cape and Islands, serving on its Board of Directors for over 20 years. She understood the impact of charity, and found a lifelong passion as Director of Development for Gloriae Dei Artes Foundation, the umbrella organization for Spirit of America Band, Gloriae Dei Cantores Choir, Elements Theatre Company, and all the other performing arts groups of GDA. Ann traveled to over 30 countries with those groups as public relations and tour director for GDC choir, and loved seeing the impact of music and the arts on the people she met.

“Auntie Ann” was a mentor to many young people throughout her life, and particularly to her nieces and nephews, with whom she shared a deep love.

A wake will be held at 20 Anchor Drive, Orleans on Sunday, April 8, from 3:00-5:30p.m. A funeral service will be held at 11 am on Monday, April 9, at Church of the Transfiguration, Rock Harbor, Orleans. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to:

Arts Empowering Life Foundation (formerly Gloriae Dei Artes Foundation), P.O. Box 2831, Orleans, MA 02653

For online condolences, please visit


  • Visitation Sunday, April 8, 2018
  • Funeral Monday, April 9, 2018
  • Graveside service Monday, April 9, 2018

Sarah Ann Kanaga

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