Annie Glenn helped Oakwood man overcome stutter, change his life

As a 14-year-old politics geek, Chris Holm was excited to meet Democratic U.S. Sen. John H. Glenn Jr. But it was Annie Glenn who turned Holm’s life around.

At the meet-and-greet in 1984 at the Dayton Arcade, Annie Glenn heard Holm struggle to get his words out. She quietly asked Holm if he’d like to learn to speak like she did.

Annie Glenn helped Holm gain a spot in the same speech fluency program she had used to overcome her own debilitating stutter.

PHOTOS: Annie Glenn through the years

Holm attended a six-week course at Hollis College in Roanoke, Virginia, in 1984 as a high school student and took a refresher course three years later.

“The way it changed things for me is I used to be afraid of talking on the phone. That’s no longer the situation for me,” said Holm, of Oakwood.

Holm now works in the Montgomery County auditor’s office, delivering mail and working on special projects, he said.

Annie Glenn died Tuesday at age 100 of COVID-19.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Annie Glenn, an Ohio treasure, dies at age 100

Although first known as the wife of astronaut and politician John Glenn, Annie Glenn overcame a severe stuttering affliction and became an advocate for people with disabilities.

Annie Glenn didn’t realize the extent of her stuttering problem until she failed to recite a poem in her sixth grade class. She was an 85% stutterer, meaning she got hung up on 85% of her words. She lived in fear of basic tasks, such as using the telephone or going shopping.

Five decades later, she attended a fluency shaping program at Hollis, where she re-learned how to speak.

“I was like a butterfly let out of a cocoon,” she told Dayton area students in 2001.

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