Anita Louise (Lewis) Anger (1937-2023)

Anita Louise (Lewis) Anger (86), of Wellesley and Gloucester, passed away peacefully on October 28, 2023, following a year’s cancer treatment; her daughter, Martha, was by her side. She was born to Edwin and Sylvia (Anderson) Lewis in 1937. She was named after a film star of the time, Anita Louise, by her father, whose family (Rubens) owned the Publix Great Lakes Theaters. He was the original manager of The Paramount Theater in her birthplace and hometown of Aurora, IL, where Anita and her two younger sisters grew up watching countless movies. Anita graduated from East Aurora High School in 1955 and earned a B.A. from Carleton College and an M.A. from Radcliffe College. As a graduate student, she joined the choir at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, where she met her future husband. They moved to Wellesley in 1972, but the Cambridge church and its choir remained significant forces in their lives for decades to come. Anita joined the English Department at UMassBoston in 1965, where she taught Freshman Writing until retirement in 2001; she especially appreciated adult students, whose experiences at work, in the military, and in family responsibility enriched her classrooms. In 1991-1999, she also managed the UMB office of the scholarly journal College English and mentored its student interns. Interested in technical writing, she wrote a paper on the historically significant Smeaton’s Lighthouse in Cornwall, England. She was an avid reader, a Boston Symphony subscriber, a member of the Museum of Fine Arts, a donor to the MSPCA, and a collector of glass art. After her divorce, a fellow professor, Robert Risse, became her life partner and, as a film scholar, her movie-watching companion for over three decades. They shared his home in Jamaica Plain for five years until his death in 2015 where she developed a love of taking photos on her walks around Jamaica Pond and the city. To be nearer to Martha, in 2016 Anita moved to Gloucester; photos of sunrises over her neighbors’ quaint rooftops and photos of “my rock” in the waves near the Boulevard became a daily joy to her Facebook friends. She was predeceased by her sister, Diane (Lewis) Lee and nephew, Edwin Lee. She is survived by her sister Melanie (Lewis) Ross and brother-in-law Steven Ross; her nephew David Lee and his wife Sabine Lee; her former husband, Arthur Anger, and his life-partner Betsy Opitz; her daughter Martha Anger and her life-partner Donald Taylor. A memorial service and reception will be held on Saturday, November 11, 2023, at 11 a.m. at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The First Church Shelter or The Friday Café; links for both can be found at


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4 Condolences

  1. Mavis Green on November 3, 2023 at 12:23 pm

    Ì was a Facebook friend and we never met in person. But I am sincerely sorry for this loss. I will miss her.

  2. Alan D. Folstein on November 4, 2023 at 7:39 am

    I was a long time Facebook friend of Anita. We had many fine conversations and I very much enjoyed her company.

    I’m glad to say that Anita and Martha were blessed to have each other. Martha, you were a wonderful daughter.

    May our happy memories be of solace to us all

  3. Pam and Rob Cooper on November 6, 2023 at 11:02 pm

    Oh, we are so sad to hear this. Anita’s intelligence, quiet sense of humor, and love of music we’re part of the fabric of First Church for all the years we attended. She so loved being in Gloucester over the past few years . May her memory be a blessing.

  4. Gaylen Morgan on November 11, 2023 at 9:24 am

    I will miss Anita. I enjoyed her friendship for decades. I first met Anita at First Church in Cambridge. My sympathy to all who loved her.

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