Westfield, Indiana has been left mourning following Ann Kathryn Gotwald’s unexpected passing at just 9 years old on February 1, 2024. Ann was known for her boundless curiosity and dreams that reached for the stars; many have fallen silent since her loss has struck many in Westfield and throughout Indiana.
At Maple Glen Elementary School, Ann’s interests were vast. From soccer and singing lessons to art projects and travel adventures, she excelled at them all – but her true calling lay in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Ann was determined to harness this passion into becoming an engineer at NASA – her aspirations perfectly reflecting her desire to explore unknown territory and her bold spirit.
Celebrating a Life of Promise
Ann’s life was filled with promise, as her presence brought light and promise into the lives of all she met. She brought light to so many lives through her dreams and interests – her family, friends, and Westfield community will come together on February 6, 2024, at Flanner Buchanan-Hamilton Memorial Park Prairie Water in Prairie Water before attending St Maria Goretti Catholic Church for Mass on February 7. In a private ceremony she will then be laid to rest at Hamilton Memorial Park Cemetery leaving behind an impactful legacy that continues to inspire those lucky enough to know her.
Ann’s passing has been deeply felt by her parents, Lindsay and Greg Gotwald, sister Samantha, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins – as well as by Stubby and LaLa – two adorable kittens she adopted with Samantha in October 2023 and still remain as testaments of her affectionate nature. While their sadness remains great, the Gotwald family have found comfort from an outpouring of support from community members demonstrating Ann’s enormous impact on all around her.
As a response to Ann’s tragic passing, Westfield residents have come together in order to memorialize her legacy in ways that reflect her passions and aspirations. A fundraiser intended to inspire young girls in STEM was set up as an echo of Ann’s dream of becoming a NASA engineer; it has received widespread support, raising $97,002 of its $100k goal — testament to people wanting to carry forward her spirit of exploration and innovation into future generations. Furthermore, Ann’s passion for science and technology will no doubt live on in future generations thanks to such initiatives!
The overwhelming response to Ann’s fundraising effort speaks volumes about her life and its effect on those she left behind, serving as an illuminating demonstration of how one young dreamer’s aspirations can galvanize collective action despite grievous loss. The STEM Scholarship Fund founded from this tragedy stands as a lasting memorial to Ann and represents hope that her passion for learning and exploration will live on through others who share her hopes.
Ann Kathryn Gotwald lived a short but meaningful life filled with joy, kindness and an insatiable curiosity about life around her. Her dreams of space exploration and her affinity for STEM have left an immeasurable legacy among Westfield residents; inspiring a passion for STEM among younger girls as she would continue her legacy through young people’s minds. While mourning Ann’s loss together as a community, everyone also comes together to celebrate and mourn her legacy; remembering Ann as someone whose spirit will continue to illuminate lives long after she has gone.