Fetter—Elizabeth Ann Hutcheson Fetter, 82, on March 21, 2019, at Broadmead Retirement Community in Cockeysville, Md., after a short, complicated illness. Susie was born on October 2, 1936, in Kingston, Pa., the second of Marian Virginia Hornbaker and Allen Farrar Hutcheson’s three daughters. World War II rationing and blackouts began when she was five, and the death of one neighbor’s son, the propaganda films’ sense of impending doom, and the privation and terror of children in the war zones cemented her hope for a world free of war.
She attended Main Street School and graduated from Wyoming Seminary in 1954, receiving the Ruggles Award as the outstanding graduate. She earned a bachelor’s in biology from Goucher College in 1958 and a master’s in teaching from Johns Hopkins University in 1960, the year she married Robert Pollard Fetter. After teaching high school biology at Roland Park Country School in Baltimore, she was diagnosed in 1964 with ankylosing spondylitis, intermittent symptoms of which had first appeared when she was 16. As her joints painfully deteriorated and her spine began to fuse, she found that learning to manage and admitting her limitations made her a role model for others with limitations. She raised her children to be independent, teaching them early on to navigate the city by foot and public transportation.
A three-month stay in hospital traction with a broken leg from riding on skis broadened her perspective even more. Many fellow patients were poor and often from prisons and mental hospitals. One of her roommates was a stripper, and the clerk of Ministry and Counsel, paying a call, found her trying on the stripper’s wig.
She and Bob belonged to Stony Run Meeting in Baltimore, Md., where she twice served as clerk of the meeting; Roanoke (Va.) Meeting; and Gunpowder Meeting in Sparks, Md. Volunteering in the League of Women Voters, the Green Circle Program, Planned Parenthood, and debate at Roland Park Country School, she also taught hospitalized and home-bound students, often with disabilities, for Baltimore City Schools. Her own challenges helped them see their own possibilities, but she grieved that poverty and violence meant that some left the hospital only to die on the streets.
In 1992–1993 she and Bob coordinated the Friends Committee for National Legislation (FCNL) fiftieth anniversary jubilee; in 1994 they led a Friends General Conference (FGC) workshop “So You’ve Been Asked to Talk about Quakerism”; in 1996 they were Friends in Residence with Washington Quaker Workcamps in Greene County, Ala., helping to rebuild burned African American churches; and in 1997 they delivered together the Fiftieth Anniversary Carey Memorial Lecture “Leadings and Invitations” at Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s annual session. At one point saying that she was a bit “overboarded,” she served on the boards of FCNL, American Friends Service Committee, Refugee and Immigration Services, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and Literacy Volunteers. She also worked with Plowshares Peace Center, and during her 12 years at Broadmead was president of the Broadmead Residents Association (BRA); represented the BRA on the Broadmead, Inc., board; and co-edited the Voice of the Residents publication.
Susie’s struggles with ankylosing spondylitis were especially challenging during her last four years of life. She is survived by her husband, Robert Pollard Fetter; two children, Allen Hutcheson Fetter (Danielle Hermey) and Elizabeth Pollard Fetter Kellett (Paul); four grandchildren; two sisters, Eleanor Hutcheson Epler and Abigail Hutcheson Fair; many nieces, nephews, and cousins; and even wider family.
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