Ann Andavall-Holder was born in New York City in 1921. After her father’s death, she spent much of early life constantly moving around the United States and England with her mother. At the age of sixteen, following her mother’s death, she appointed her mother’s doctor as her legal guardian. Andavall-Holder completed her secondary education in a Catholic boarding school.
At the insistence of her guardian’s wife, Andavall-Holder enrolled at the Pratt Institute to study Home Economics. After two years of instruction she dropped out to work for Liberty Aircraft in New York City. The Liberty war plant, a subsidiary of the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, manufactured ailerons for the F45-Wildcat fighter aircraft.
After working at Liberty Aircraft for just over a year, Andavall-Holder enrolled in the WAVES. She received her basic training at Hunter College, New York. She was stationed at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida. While stationed at Pensacola she served as an aerial gunnery instructor responsible for training male instructors for the GUN-AIR and 3A2 gunnery programs.
After the war Andavall-Holder returned to civilian life and received her bachelor’s degree at Syracuse University. While attending college she met and married her husband.