Skip to content

Anna M. Sanko

Click the button below to make a donation in memory of Anna M. Sanko


Published in on March 1, 2024

On Friday, February 23, 2024, Anna Marie Sanko passed away peacefully at age 71. Her beloved partner, Bill Curry, was by her side. She was a person of rare gifts; highly creative, utterly determined, capable of immense gratitude and joy. The cause of her death was ALS. In true form, she navigated the storm of that devastating illness and found her way home with courage and grace.

Anna was born in Hartford and raised in the Elmwood section of West Hartford. She attended Saint Brigid Grammar School, Northwest Catholic High School, and the Pratt Institute in New York, where she earned a degree in design.

Returning home to West Hartford, she worked for many years for the architectural firm Dubose Associates, designing thousands of square feet of commercial and industrial space. Anna loved her work and her community and often found ways to express both passions, as in her highly original work on First Night events.

In 1990 Anna had a truly brilliant idea, to teach math and other STEM skills to children, especially the disadvantaged, by showing them how to design practical things they might see or use in their own lives. She left a secure and rewarding job, earned a master’s degree in education and founded a nonprofit, The Architecture Resource Center, to support her work. She conceived the program, wrote the curriculum, built the organization, raised the money, and did all the teaching.

Anna sustained this work for over thirty years, even in the final years of her illness. It won awards and attention from around the world. She presented to conferences across America and Europe. Asked to address the board of trustees of the National Endowment for the Arts, she used the occasion to conduct one of her classes, with the board members as her students. The members were thrilled.

Anna’s modesty was such that friends not directly involved in her work knew little of her achievements, even as she reveled in celebrating their joys and successes. She was fiercely loyal to family and friends and leapt with selfless love to help any friend in crisis.

Anna was always teaching. She leaves behind her partner and high school sweetheart, Bill Curry, to whom she taught the meaning of love, and the greatest loves of her life, her daughter Kuhneena Shanahan and her grandchildren, Triana Pytel and Tristan Shanahan, of Omaha Nebraska.

Anna was predeceased by her parents, Mary and Ted Sanko of West Hartford. Other survivors include her beloved brothers and sisters, Richard Sanko, Marian Sanko, Patricia Lowry and her husband Mark, David Sanko and wife Diane, Jeanne Loper and husband Bob; Kuhneena’s husband Scott Shanahan; her nieces and nephews, Brian, Laura and Eric Lowry; Daniel Sanko and Tracey Ferreira; Sarah Kusinski and Dennis Loper; her aunt Wanda Serafin; her cousins, Rob, Chuck and Paul Serafin, Nancy Barbour, Rose Wilson and Cyndy Madera; many cherished friends, including Madeline Bombetto, Jo-Ann Castano, Jill Jenkins, Frankie Marcikonis, Darlene Susco, Kathleen Tracy and Laurie Wattles; her devoted caregiver Relifs Esson; her hospice nurse Jill Cardone; and the dedicated board and supporters of the ARC.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Saint Brigid Church, West Hartford, on Tuesday, March 5, at 11 am. The family will receive visitors at the Sheehan Hilborn Breen Funeral Home, 1084 New Britain Avenue, across from the Church, starting at 9:30 am. Burial will follow in Mt. St. Benedict Cemetery, Bloomfield.

Anna asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Compassionate Care ALS, PO Box 1052, West Falmouth, MA 02574, or online at Online condolences may be made at