Buitekant—Beth-Ann Buitekant, 76, on August 22, 2022, in Atlanta, Ga. Beth-Ann was born on February 15, 1946, to Rubin and Sylvia (Bickwit) Buitekant in Ridgefield, N.J. She was the younger of two children. Beth-Ann grew up with Jewish traditions and a focus on social action.
Beth-Ann attended Illinois Wesleyan University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1968, a pivotal moment for the U.S. antiwar and Black freedom movements, in which she became deeply involved.
Beth-Ann’s adult life was framed by her enduring commitments to racial and social justice, peace, and feminism. Those who encountered her knew Beth-Ann as a humanitarian, an uncommonly keen and kind listener, and a consistent voice of hopefulness and encouragement.
During her 20s and 30s, Beth-Ann worked full time as a nurse and as a farmer. She found joy and comfort in country living.
In 1981, Beth-Ann moved to Atlanta, Ga., where she continued her work as a nurse and as a peace activist. She met members of Atlanta Meeting at a peace demonstration and began attending the meeting in 1981. She said she found that “Quakers put words to what I already believed.” When the meeting began renting space to Congregation Bet Haverim for services, Beth-Ann became a part of that community as well.
In 1985, Beth-Ann volunteered for WRFG, where she founded and hosted Just Peace, a weekly radio talk show that continues today.
Beth-Ann realized a lifelong dream of becoming a mother when her daughter, Ruby-Beth Essra Yakira Ifetayo Buitekant, was born in 1987. Beth-Ann and Ruby enjoyed sharing their love of nature, going to Atlanta Meeting’s cabin in north Georgia, and camping in National Parks.
Beth-Ann returned to school in the 1990s, earning a doctorate in clinical psychology from the Georgia School for Professional Psychology at Argosy University. She was a counselor for Friends School of Atlanta and established a private family therapy practice, which she maintained until 2021. Beth-Ann was honored to help run the race-conscious parenting collective with Charis Circle, a feminist community with which she was connected for decades. She was a spiritual nurturer for Quaker Voluntary Service and opened her home to many young people needing support.
Beth-Ann believed that changes and advancements in justice and equality began with the family, which she called the ultimate grassroots organization. Her involvement flowed organically into her East Atlanta neighborhood. She was known for hiring neighborhood people in need to do odd jobs, including those she suspected of previously burgling her home.
In the early 2000s, as the neighborhood was seeking a new location for its library, Beth-Ann worked to find viable properties. Later, when a developer sought to build a cell tower on her residential street, she joined other community activists to prevent the tower from being erected. More recently, she participated in discussions around diversity and inclusiveness with the East Atlanta Business Association.
On August 10, 2022, Beth-Ann and her East Atlanta residence were featured on the premier episode of the Netflix show Instant Dream Home. Beth-Ann was nominated by her daughter, Ruby-Beth, and son-in-law, Taylor Grandchamp, to receive the show’s home renovation in honor of her decades of community activism. Before her passing, less than two weeks after the show’s initial airing, Beth-Ann welcomed her first grandchild, Lazuli Jaq, to the East Atlanta home and neighborhood she had loved so well for so many years.
As her physical health plummeted, Beth-Ann exchanged eyesight for insight with an optimism that was dimmed at times but never extinguished. She entered hospice care in July 2022.
Beth-Ann was predeceased by her brother, Michael Buitekant. She is survived by one child, Ruby-Beth Buitekant (Taylor Grandchamp); and one grandchild.