Cora Jane Walters Peers

Peers—Cora Jane Walters Peers, 97, on April 19, 2021, in Encinitas, Calif. Jane was born on June 15, 1923, to Agnes Marie Rose Kost Walters and Frederick Robert Walters, a Friend since birth, in Philadelphia, Pa. She attended Friends’ Central School and Swarthmore College.

During World War II, Jane married Otto Shablinski. They had one daughter, Melody Joan, and lived on a houseboat in Florida. After their divorce, Jane married aeronautical engineer Richard Gilmore Peers. Their daughter, Mary Jane, was born in Mojave, Calif., where Jane taught in a one-room schoolhouse and attended the Congregational church. The family moved to Encinitas, where they attended the Methodist church; to Ohio, where Jane was active in a Friends meeting; to Los Angeles, Calif., where she attended an Episcopal church and cared for Gil’s dying mother; then back to Encinitas, where she became a member of La Jolla (Calif.) Meeting. While completing her bachelor’s at San Diego State University, Jane cared for her father until his death and opened her home to people in need of end-of-life care. She was employed by a residential center for bright children with behavioral and learning problems. Jane earned her master’s in counseling from United States International University in San Diego, and for many years taught women’s studies at MiraCosta Community College.

Jane served two terms as clerk of La Jolla Meeting, and was presiding clerk of Pacific Yearly Meeting (PYM). She served on countless committees for La Jolla Meeting, Southern California Quarterly Meeting, and PYM, as well as a representative to Intermountain Yearly Meeting. She participated in demonstrations at nuclear bomb sites in Nevada, and traveled to Mexico on behalf of the yearly meeting to aid Mexico City Meeting, where she was a beloved liaison with Casa de los Amigos.

Jane wrote articles for Friends Bulletin, Western Friend, and Friends Journal; coedited PYM’s 1984 edition of Faith and Practice; and was instrumental in publication of the Spanish edition, Fe y Practica.

Jane had the ability to make each person with whom she interacted feel uniquely cherished, respected, heard, and loved. During her first term as clerk of La Jolla Meeting, she met individually with more than 70 members in their homes, which she felt was an important part of her pastoral care. Although Jane consciously resisted having an unduly influence on meetings for business, Friends always looked to her for quiet wisdom, compassion, and guidance.

Jane’s interests included poetry, philosophy, theology, gardening, women’s issues, racial and social justice, science fiction, and literature of all kinds. She loved to keep her bird feeders well stocked. Jane was unfailingly honest and intellectually curious; loved long, deep conversations; and cultivated her friendships with great love and faithfulness. She made her little, blue cottage and flower-filled garden a beautiful sanctuary where friends could enjoy her courteous and generous hospitality.

In her later years, Jane facilitated bimonthly worship sharing at her home in Encinitas. These meetings were cherished by those who were able to attend. She also enjoyed monthly poetry reading groups with Friends.

Jane’s daughter Mary Jane lived with her during her last 21 years. Jane regularly visited Melody and her husband, Dave McCormack, in New Mexico, and was close to their twins, Marlon and Sara. Marlon’s daughter, Janie, lives in China.

Jane was committed to integrity, simplicity, honesty, and the Friends way of life. She had a wealth of information about Friends customs, history, and practices, and used plain speech on occasion for Friends who wished to hear the old Quaker form of address.

Jane is survived by two children, Mary Jane Peers and Melody Peers McCormick (David); two grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

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