Ana, the daughter of a jazz saxophonist, “was an incredibly loving and spunky kid” who loved to sing and dance. She and her family, including a brother, moved to Newtown this year after several years in Canada, so that her father could teach music at a nearby university
Ana Marquez-Greene, one of the 20 Sandy Hook Elementary School students gunned down Friday, “was an incredibly loving and spunky kid” who loved to sing and dance, a close family friend said Saturday.
Ana, 6, was “really vivacious and affectionate,” said Noah Baerman, a Connecticut jazz pianist who has known Jimmy Greene, Ana’s father, since both men were in high school.
Baerman said Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Greene, Ana’s mother, are “two of the most loving parents I’ve ever seen,” Baerman said.
Baerman, who grew up Greater New Haven, now lives in Durham and teaches music at several institutions, including Charter Oak State College and Wesleyan University.
He was with Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Green as he spoke on the phone with a New Haven Register reporter Saturday, he said.
Greene and Marquez-Greene were not interested in talking about their loss, Baerman said.
Baerman declined to discuss how the family was coping with the loss. But “this is one of the most loving and caring families I’ve ever known, and it’s incomprehensive that this could happen,” he said.
The Greene-Marquez family just moved to Newtown earlier this year so Jimmy Green, a Hartford native who grew up in Bloomfield, could take a job as a music professor and assistant coordinator of the Jazz Program at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. He previously had spent three years teaching at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.
Nelba Marquez-Greene grew up in Puerto Rico.
Several other friends of Jimmy Greene were stunned by the news
“It’s just devastating – it’s horrible,” said saxophone player Kris Jensen of Hamden, a onetime music teacher and good friend of Jimmy Green who said he has known Ana’s father since Greene was 14 or 1
Peter Hum, a jazz blogger for the Ottawa Sentinel, said Smith posted an acknowledgement of his daughter’s passing on his personal Facebook page, which could only be viewed by Greene’s Facebook friends.
“Thank you for all of your prayers and kind words of support,” Greene wrote, according to Hum. “As we work through this nightmare, we’re reminded how much we’re loved and supported on this earth and by our Father in heaven. As much as she’s needed here and missed by her mother, brother and me, Ana beat us all to paradise. I love you sweetie girl.”
According to several members of the Connecticut music community who asked not to be identified, Ana’s brother Isaiah, attended the school and was there at the time of the shooting but was unharmed.
The Sun News Network in Canada reported that Ana’s grandfather, Jorge Marquez, is the mayor of Maunabo, Puerto Rico.
He told the El Nuevo Dia newspaper that he and his wife were hoping that Ana had just been wounded but were later informed by Ana’s parents that she didn’t make it.
Christian Sands, a jazz pianist performing in Connecticut, tweeted his support for Greene Friday night.
“My prayers and heart go out to my brother, Mr. Jimmy Greene,” Sands tweeted. “Your loss cannot be compared. I'm praying for you and your family.”
In 2009, Greene released an album called “Mission Statement.” The ninth track is a song driven by a clear, lilting saxophone and supported by light, harmonizing notes from a piano.
It starts quiet and careful, then explodes into a joyous melody The song is named “Ana Grace.”