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Mary Hodgson Albertson Thom

ThomMary Hodgson Albertson Thom, 92, on June 24, 2017, in State College, Pa. Mary was born on October 5, 1924, near Burlington, N.J., the youngest of four daughters of Quakers Maria Moon and Henry H. Albertson, who ran Green Hill Farm and worked to heal the Hicksite and Orthodox split. She grew up attending tiny Burlington (N.J.) Meeting and Westfield Meeting in Riverton, N.J., where she attended First-day school. She loved outdoor sports; after she graduated from Westtown School in 1942, she went to Middlebury College, where she could ski the Vermont mountains and skate on the local ponds. Hope that promoting cultural understanding would make a more peaceful world led her to major in geography. After her bachelor’s in 1946, she earned a master’s in cultural geography from University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1948. She also studied teaching at Harvard University and taught at Abington Friends School.

Her love of adventure and foreign places inspired a youth hostel bicycle trip across the Canadian Rockies in 1947 and a trip around the world in 1950. After working in cartography, textbook publishing, and teaching, in 1959 she married William Thom, a child psychologist with the Children’s Service Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and worked at the Pennsylvania State University Wilkes-Barre campus library. In Wilkes-Barre she was instrumental in starting North Branch Meeting, and in the 1980s she helped to revise Faith and Practice. Known for her good cheer, warmth, and wit, she belonged to the League of Women Voters, rallied many times for peace and justice, and enjoyed artistic, educational, and outdoor activities. She privately shared that her motto for a Quaker motto calendar would be “God is here.”

In 1994, she and Bill moved to Foxdale Village in State College, where she volunteered at Schlow Library. She and Bill joined State College Meeting, and she served on the Worship and Ministry Committee and AFSC Clothing Committee. Bill passed away in 2004. Mary is survived by two daughters, Margaret Thom (O’Neill) and Rachel Thom Haverkos; 13 nephews and nieces; and dear friends. Memorial donations may be made to American Friends Service Committee or Foxdale Village.

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