Elizabeth R.S. Richards

Richards—Elizabeth R.S. Richards, 98, on June 18, 2020, while residing in Friendship Village Tempe, Tempe, Ariz. Elizabeth was born on May 22, 1922, to Edward Carrington Mayo Richards and Elizabeth Veech Coan, both of whom were Quakers, in Elizabeth, N.J. She had two older brothers, William and Frederick, and one younger sister, Annette. Elizabeth never married, which left her free to pursue many interests.

During her childhood, Elizabeth lived in several states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, as well as abroad in Germany and Switzerland. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and a master’s degree (art) from Pennsylvania State University. She was adept at sculpture and pottery, and was a lifelong student of art.

Elizabeth was busy with many activities and jobs throughout her life. She taught autistic children. She was an avid reader and writer of poetry. She was a student of psychology and self-awareness, practicing yoga and meditation. She spent many years looking after her parents with patience and love until their passing in Tucson.

Travel figured largely in Elizabeth’s life. Living in Germany and Switzerland as a child was instrumental in Elizabeth’s learning to speak German. Over the years, she traveled around Europe and the Middle East, often with family members. She traveled to Mexico several times, and lived in Mexico City with her sister, Annette, for a year. When Annette’s daughter, Anne, was seventeen, Elizabeth took her to Europe for six weeks, a trip that Elizabeth always cherished. Elizabeth and Annette toured Russia while both were in their seventies.

Elizabeth was a member of a meeting affiliated with Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, and later attended Pima Meeting in Tucson, Ariz., for nearly 50 years. She had been raised by her Quaker parents to be a pacifist, which led her to demonstrate against war and the draft, beginning during World War II. She assisted refugees from Central America through Pima Meeting’s involvement in the 1980s Sanctuary Movement. Her last performance as a member of the Tucson Raging Grannies of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom was at the Tucson Army Recruiting Office in 2005.

During her time at Pima Meeting, Elizabeth taught adult education classes and was instrumental in starting and continuing “Friendly Eights” gatherings in Friends’ homes. She had an impressive breadth of knowledge of Quakerism, and often let her life speak through compassionate listening.

Elizabeth missed Pima Meeting following her move to Tempe in 2008 to join her sister, Annette, at Friendship Village Tempe, a retirement community offering all levels of care. Both sisters chose to live in Tempe to be near Anne. Elizabeth had difficulty attending Tempe (Ariz.) Meeting due to poor mobility. Instead, she participated in monthly worship group sessions held at Friendship Village. Elizabeth and her sister were both well-loved at Friendship Village, and both passed while living there.

Elizabeth was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, and her brothers. She is survived by ten nieces and nephews.

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