Marian Oakleaf

Oakleaf—Marian Oakleaf, 104, on April 3, 2016. Marian was born on January 22, 1912, in London, England, a twin daughter to Lily Marian Burton and Robert Oakleaf. Her mother was British, and her father was the son of German immigrants. As a young woman, she was a member of Hampstead Meeting—Friends House (Preparative) in London Yearly Meeting. She graduated from St. George College in 1931 and served in the British Red Cross during trying war years from 1935 to 1941.

She took the Civil Service exam at 37 and was assigned to the British Foreign Office. In 1949 she began assisting with information exchange at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., transferring her membership to Friends Meeting of Washington and traveling that same year to Lima, Ohio, with a Quaker work team to build a recreation center in a deprived area. In 1950 she visited school and church groups between Washington and Florida with four others to talk about international Quaker activities for American Friends Service Committee. She began working in 1954 for the International Monetary Fund, traveling with a team of economists to Bolivia and Brazil to assist with currency stabilization and spending a month also on a mission in in Uruguay. She became a U.S. citizen in 1958 and worked for the National Institute of Health until 1980, except for 1967, when she set up and operated the Peace Corps office in Seoul, Korea. She joined Bethesda (Md.) Meeting, serving on the Philanthropic and International House Committees.

In 1983, she retired to Burnsville, N.C., gathering volunteers and founding the Yancey County Humane Society, for which she served as resident from 1984 to 1989. She was an advocate for horses, cats, and dogs—even the wildest of creatures. The dog, Snoopy: the feral cat, Sam, hiding under the couch; and the raccoon at the back door all got food and water. She used her skills from years of administration to write letters to the editor of both the Yancey Common Times Journal and the Asheville Citizen Times. She took on difficult projects and followed them through, striving for good will and working for positive social change.

Now resting in the Light, Marian was kind, diligent, and persistent. Although she did not have any surviving relatives, a close friend, Robin Bovey, survives.

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