Maria Barbara Lenz Ladd

Ladd—Maria Barbara Lenz Ladd, 91, of Friends House in Sandy Spring, Md., on June 28, 2017. Maria was born on December 3, 1925, in Wittkow, Pomerania, Germany (now Witankowo, Poland). In 1945, she was the last to leave her family’s seed potato farm, where her parents, Martha Brose and Anton Lenz, had predeceased their nine children. Fleeing the Russians, she got a ride on the back of a truck to the local train station and eventually made her way to Bremen, where as a refugee she first encountered Quakers at a soup kitchen and clothing center. She attended college in Bremen to become a teacher and met and married Edward T. Ladd, a civilian working with the Allied Military Government. They moved to New Haven, Conn., in 1948, and to Atlanta, Ga., in 1958, when Edward became head of the Education Department at Emory University.

As an attender at Atlanta Meeting, she helped with work to integrate Atlanta public schools and beginning in 1978 worked part-time for the meeting coordinating outreach for social concerns with other community organizations, including the Christian Council. On behalf of the meeting, she acquired a film, War Without Winners, and showed it in many forums and workshops, including at the dedication of the King Center in Atlanta. She was also active in the southeast regional American Friends Service Committee, in local work for Friends Committee on National Legislation, and with the World Council of Churches. In 1984, with support from the meeting, Maria went to the Soviet Union as one of 262 church delegates in an exchange program between the World Council of Churches and the Russian Orthodox Church. When she offered her spiritual journey to Atlanta Friends she posed these questions: How do we meditate? How can we be still? For her, the answer was to let go of our attachments and our individualism. She remained active in the meeting until her move to Friends House in Sandy Spring, Md., for retirement.

A supporter of civil rights; a host for academic, political, and social gatherings; a potter; a graduate of Atlanta College of Art; a sculptor; an instructor of art history at Atlanta Area Technical School; an elegant dresser; and a gardener, she asked pointed questions and was committed to peace and justice.

Maria was predeceased by her husband, Edward Ladd, in 1973. She is survived by her children, Christopher Ladd (Christine) and Monica Ladd (Oliver Frederick Clark); and four grandchildren.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Maximum of 400 words or 2000 characters.

Comments on may be used in the Forum of the print magazine and may be edited for length and clarity.