Gudrun Helga Schulz Weeks

WeeksGudrun Helga Schulz Weeks, 83, on May 29, 2018, in Hanover, N.H., of necrotizing fasciitis. Gudrun was born on January 25, 1935, in Baden-Baden, Germany, to parents who had met in England at Woodbrooke Quaker Conference Centre. Her family moved back and forth between Germany and the United States and were in Munich during World War II. Beginning in 1946 they lived in Gudrun’s grandparents’ 300-year-old house in West Chester, Pa.

She graduated from George School in 1953 and studied music in Munich for two years. In 1959 she graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied with Dorothy DeLay and about the Holocaust. Later she studied with Robert Koff of the Juilliard String Quartet. She worked in Brooklyn College and the Guggenheim Museum and trained with the National Orchestral Association. Then she studied at University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory. At a summer job teaching strings and chamber music at the Putney School in Vermont, she met her first husband, Larry Gay. They studied in Zurich, Switzerland, and then lived in Eugene, Ore., where Larry completed his doctorate. He found work at Marlboro College, and in 1969 they began a ten-year stay in Marlboro, Vt., where she with others started Brattleboro Music School.

In 1980 she and Larry divorced, and she joined old friend Sheldon Weeks, who had first brought her to Putney in 1956, in Papua New Guinea (PNG). In PNG she found exceptional pianists to perform with and taught many students at home. In 1991, they moved to Botswana and joined Botswana Meeting. Along with playing and teaching, she worked with Servas International and the Art of Living Foundation and organized fundraising concerts, particularly for the first women’s shelter in Botswana.

They returned to the United States in late 2013 and settled in a Brattleboro, Vt., duplex with their daughter. She played with the Windham Orchestra. Though they transferred their membership to Putney (Vt.) Meeting, they mainly attended West Brattleboro Worship Group. She mobilized her neighborhood to welcome a family seeking asylum. During the winters, they were rejuvenated by adventures to the Virgin Islands; Sausalito, California; Loja, Ecuador; and Mazatlan, Mexico. Some of her favorite lines from a Rudolf Steiner poem were “May wisdom shine through me / May love glow in me / May strength penetrate me / That in me may arise / A helper of [humanity] / A servant of [sacred] things / Selfless and true.” Friends will miss her smile and laugh, passion for music, sense of adventure, zest for life, love of nature, and concern for social justice in the world.

Gudrun is survived by her spouse, Sheldon Weeks; three children, Jennifer Odegard, Carl Gay, and Kristina Weeks; thirteen grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; a sister, Sonia Segal; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. Her sister Barbara Heather wrote a history of the Schulz and Hayes families, The Other Side of the Ocean. Donations in Gudrun’s memory may be directed to either the Community Asylum Seekers Project or the Brattleboro Music Center student scholarships.

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