Remembering Anne Call
Remarks prepared for delivery.
Good morning. It’s an honor to be here with you all today to remember Anne.
Anne was the definition of a lifelong public servant. She loved the FBI and dedicated all 37 years of her career to representing the Washington Field Office.
Anne joined the FBI as a clerk-typist in 1986, at just 18 years old. After about a year, she was promoted to secretary. And a few years after that, she was serving as secretary to the executives in the Criminal Division—where she became an institution. She trained countless FBI leaders on how things should be done in the Bureau and, particularly, at WFO. And because of her vast experience, incredible knowledge, and energetic professionalism, two years ago, Anne was selected as secretary to WFO’s lead executive, the assistant director in charge.
But I want to go back for a minute. Back to September 11, 2001. After the Pentagon was attacked, a call went out to all agents here for assistance. The agents who volunteered would work 12-hour shifts, sifting through debris—breathing and touching what we would later learn was toxic material. Anne didn’t have to go—she was professional staff, not an agent. And in those days, the line between administrative personnel and agents was much brighter.
But none of that mattered to Anne. She fought to be there, right alongside the evidence response team. According to her friends, she said, and I quote, “Give me something to do … and I’ll do it.”
Give me something to do. And I’ll do it. That was Anne—pure resolve and dedication. Maybe an agent would yell, “I need to get in touch with so-and-so.” And Anne was right there; she got it done. She was invested. She believed in the FBI’s mission to keep people safe. And it showed through everything she did for the Washington Field Office.
It’s mind-boggling how wide and how deep a secretary’s well of knowledge must run. But for Anne, it seemed like second nature. She ran a tight ship, and she kept it running smoothly, on time, and in the right direction. Around the office, folks who knew her well say Anne occupied three, very specific roles.
First, Anne was seen as the most senior person in the front office. A close colleague said, quote, “We were like her children that she kept in line and helped us figure things out.” That’s how Anne was to her FBI Family. She took care of you and was more than happy to teach you … but she’d also keep you in line. Our guiding principle in the FBI is to do the right thing, in the right way, every time. Anne was that principle, personified. And she would get results, every time.
Second, in the words of another former boss, she was the “palace guard”—a role I’m told she enjoyed, particularly when she got to tell people to go away and let him work. Ultimately, Anne made sure the FBI’s leaders had what they needed to build strong, lasting relationships with those the FBI serves. She wanted people to look at the FBI and see what she saw: an organization that does a lot of good. She knew everybody—to the point where the Society of Former Special Agents would invite her to events. Making those connections just came naturally to her.
And third, Anne was known as a policy nerd—she knew it like the back of her hand, sometimes down to the section and paragraph. Anne was quick to chime in with, “That’s not FBI policy!”
Of course, Anne was so much more than those three things. She was helpful and brilliant. And perhaps most importantly, she was kind. She helped people through tough times. People like Special Agent in Charge Dave LeValley and Supervisory Special Agent Melissa Morrow—dear friends of Anne’s who both passed away from 9/11-related illnesses five years ago.
Even in tough times, though, Anne found joy in her routines. Every day during her lunch hour, for instance, I’m told she would go into a room with a TV and watch her favorite soap opera. I’m not exactly sure which one it was … but rumor has it Days of Our Lives is a likely contender.
And as much as she enjoyed being at work, Anne loved heading home to her family. Most conversations with Anne would eventually turn to her son, Jeremy, and his latest activities. She was incredibly proud of him and would regale co-workers with stories about the latest Lego sets she and Jeremy had built together. Anne also loved movies, and I’m told she and Jeremy watched all three Iron Man movies in a single sitting. That’s the kind of relationship she cultivated with her son—a nurturing one, yes, but also one of shared interests and fun.
Anne was devoted to her husband, Jim, who we’re fortunate to count among the FBI ranks. She was proud of Jim’s accomplishments and talked often about how great of a father he is to Jeremy.
Anne also loved Designer Purse Bingo night—which I hear took place right here, in this building. For Anne, bingo was never about the prize, it was the people she was spending time with—her friends and her husband. Which in my mind is very much in line with how Anne approached her work. She wasn’t in it for the accolades—though she’s received many of those.
She strived for excellence for the people of the FBI, because she understood the gravity and sacrifice that come with the job. It’s been said that “no one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another.” 1 It’s a centuries-old quote, but the author was surely thinking of someone like Anne.
Anne worked tirelessly to make everyone else’s job easier. She made it a point to learn about the inner workings of the office … about the FBI … about the people she worked for and those she worked with. All with the ultimate goal of helping the FBI keep people safe. And for that, we will cherish her legacy. We will cherish the lessons she taught us … We will cherish the light and the order she brought to work that—without people like Anne—can be dark and difficult … And we will cherish the memories we have of Anne as a member of our FBI Family.
So to Jim and Jeremy and many others—thank you for sharing Anne with us for so many years. You are a part of the FBI Family, too. Please know that you can always lean on us.
And thank you for the opportunity to join you in honoring Anne today.
1 Widely, though not definitively, attributed to 18th century English essayist and playwright Joseph Addison.