Judith Wright Favor

Favor—Judith Wright Favor, 83, on December 8, 2023, of congestive heart failure, peacefully, at home in the company of her loving family in Claremont, Calif. Judith was born on February 25, 1940, to Jim and Mildred Wright in Portland, Ore. As a child she was close to her grandmother, who nurtured her appreciation for quiet communion and the joy of stillness—a spiritual love that continued throughout her life.

After high school, Judith continued her education at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., where at age 19, she met and married fellow student David Favor, with whom she shared the joy of raising three children. She continued her formal education at California State University, Chico, with a master’s degree in psychology, and at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., where she earned a master’s of divinity. She studied journaling and spiritual direction at Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington, D.C.

As a young woman, Judith skied on Mount Lassen; backpacked in the Sierras Cascades and the Trinity Alps; swam in mountain lakes; and sailed on Lake Tahoe. Her career journey had unusual twists and turns. She earned a private pilot’s license, managed a hot air balloon business, and co-led a dozen trips to Haiti to immerse privileged White Americans in the gritty realities endured by the poorest people in the hemisphere.

Following divorce in 1977, Judith embarked on a transformative path. Her calling led her to pastor United Church of Christ congregations in the San Francisco Bay Area, leaving an indelible impact on the communities she served.

Judith led Stillpoint courses at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. She worked for a time with an Area Agency on Aging, and often led contemplative writing workshops. She taught at Claremont School of Theology in Los Angeles, and spent many weekends at prisons, teaching convicted felons to settle disputes nonviolently through the Alternatives to Violence Project.

Judith’s spiritual practices included participation with Unitarian Universalists, Buddhist meditation, spiritual guidance with a United Methodist pastor, and a brief time with former Carmelites and then with a Quaker family.

In 2001, Judith became a member of Claremont (Calif.) Meeting. She found in Quaker silent worship a welcome way to open more intimately to God and to become more faithful to God’s guidance. Through her many decades of spiritual exploration and practice, Judith not only deepened her own spiritual life, but also nurtured the spiritual growth of others. In traditional Quaker terminology, Judith was a gifted elder, able to recognize the spiritual gifts of others and support them in realizing those gifts more fully.

Judith was a skilled and successful writer. She published seven books in three genres; her titles included A Spiritual Guide to Sabbath Economics; the novels The Edgefielders, Silent Voices, and The Beacons of Larkin Street; and Friending Rosie: Respect on Death Row. She wrote most of her books while a member of Claremont’s Joslyn Senior Center’s writers’ group. Judith wrote many book reviews for Friends Journal (her final one appeared posthumously in the February 2024 issue). Her intellectual and creative contributions resonated with a wide audience, enriching the lives of those seeking spiritual guidance and a strong character.

In 1998, Judith moved into Pilgrim Place, a senior living community in Claremont, where she found love again with Pete Nelson. They married in 2007 and navigated life together until his passing in 2020.

Judith was predeceased by her husband, Pete Nelson; a son, Ray Favor, in 2019; and a brother, Jim Wright, in 2006. She is survived by two children, Michael Favor (Kathy) and Penelope Wyllie (Doug); one stepson, Kahlil Nelson; three grandchildren; one great-grandchild; one brother, Bob Wright (Robbie); and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

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