Betty Hutchinson

Hutchinson—Betty Hutchinson, 99, of Friends House, in Sandy Spring, Md., on May 16, 2019, in Olney, Md. Betty was born on October 16, 1919, in Argentina, to American parents. Growing up bilingual, she attended Methodist schools in Argentina and Uruguay until the family moved when she was 13 to Lincoln, Neb., where she attended public schools and the University of Nebraska. During a summer job at Lake Geneva, Wis., she experienced sailing for the first time and grew to love it. In her last year of college, World War II erupted, and she became friends with two young men who were conscientious objectors. Their ideas strongly influenced the rest of her life. She attended graduate school in social work at the University of Nebraska and joined the American Red Cross, serving in hospital service in India, the Philippines, and Korea, which led her to focus on medical social work, in which she eventually received a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.

Eventually she bought a summer cottage near Annapolis, Md., where she could keep a small sailboat. After a job in Denver, Colo., where she learned to ski and enjoy the mountain outdoors, in 1952 she began work as a medical social worker consultant to the International Cooperation Administration (now AID) in Panama. After working in Delaware and Mexico, in 1960 she accepted work in the Anne Arundel County Department of Health so she could finally live in her cottage on the water. During the Kennedy Administration, she took the job she loved the most: a staff position with the Peace Corps. She did education work in Colombia, evaluated programs in Chile, and became the Peace Corps director in El Salvador. Later she consulted on family planning with the Westinghouse Learning Corporation and worked in geriatrics and drug and alcohol treatment for Anne Arundel County.

Joining Annapolis Meeting in 1971, she also became interested in Transcendental Meditation, and she continued her twice daily meditation practice for many years. She called Transcendental Meditation the best decision she ever made for her well-being.

Retiring from paid work in 1981, she volunteered for many years with American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), serving on committees in the Mid-Atlantic region, on the national board, and as interim director of Davis House, AFSC’s international guest house in Washington, D.C. She attended many peace demonstrations, and after she moved to Friends House, where she lived for over 30 years, she could be found on Saturday mornings at a local busy corner carrying a peace sign.

In 2001, she transferred her membership to Sandy Spring Meeting. However, Annapolis Friends never quite let her go, and some visited her regularly. They remember with loving humor her occasional grouchiness as well as her impeccable integrity and her inspiring devotion to peace. Upon hearing about her death, many Annapolis Friends emailed Sandy Spring Meeting about the personal support she had offered them and the ways she had inspired them, including her sizable interest-free loan to Annapolis Friends to help buy the meetinghouse, a large portion of which she ultimately forgave. Betty touched many lives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Maximum of 400 words or 2000 characters.

Comments on may be used in the Forum of the print magazine and may be edited for length and clarity.