A Life Remembered | Horsewoman prized for her spirit

A Life Remembered | Horsewoman prized for her spirit

CHAMPAIGN — A Champaign woman is being remembered as a supportive wife, devoted mother and lifelong lover of horses.

"Horses were always a really important part of her life," said Lyle Gallivan, son of Ann Gallivan.

Mrs. Gallivan died Thursday at age 92.

"She loved every moment she had to spend time with the horses, and always had a great compassion for them," he said.

A native of Lancaster, Pa., Mrs. Gallivan was working on her degree in sociology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., when she met her future husband. She married Jim Gallivan in 1950 and moved to his hometown of Champaign in 1951.

Despite a growing family — the Gallivans had six children — Mrs. Gallivan cultivated her passion for horseback riding in central Illinois.

She had other talents as well.

When she wasn't spending time in their barn, Mrs. Gallivan was in her cookware shop, Le Gourmet, with co-owners Julie Hood and Louise Morrison, teaching Champaign residents how to use kitchen tools, her son said.

Her youngest daughter, Nancy Cleveland, inherited her mother's love for horses and, as a child, was inspired by seeing her 50-year-old mother riding.

In 1987, Mrs. Gallivan was honored as Illinois horsewoman of the year by the Illinois Quarter Horse Association.

When she could no longer ride, Mrs. Gallivan became a member of the Carriage Association of America.

Helping to keep his wife connected to her beloved horses, Mr. Gallivan restored a 20th century John Deere Horse Cart for her.

The cart, now on display at the Museum of the Grand Prairie at Lake of the Woods Park in Mahomet, was driven in parades in Fisher and Seymour and remains in good condition.

The younger Gallivan said he's considering renovating the cart as a tribute to his mother.

Mrs. Gallivan's first cart horse was donated to the Brookfield Zoo. Recently, two of her prized ponies were accepted into a program in Maryland where they will be trained for pair-driving competitions.

Cleveland said that although her father was wary of encouraging his wife's hobby, the couple supported each other through every chapter of their lives.

Mr. Gallivan was active in several charities such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the United Way. He and his wife also contributed to the University of Illinois and helped launch the Atkins Tennis Center.

Cleveland said her mother's greatest attribute was how she built a life supporting others while remaining out of the spotlight.

"She was a big supporter of everything my father accomplished, even though he was recognized for a lot he did in Champaign," Cleveland said. "She was someone who was always there helping him doing that. She enabled him to do everything."

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