Walton—Meredith Walton, 83, on June 11, 2020, peacefully at home in Springvale, Maine, surrounded by family and her life partner. Marty was born on June 30, 1936, in Media, Pa. Her childhood was spent in greater Philadelphia, Pa., and Deerfield, Ill., where she graduated from Highland Park High School in 1954. Marty was a proud descendent of George and Emily Walton and their daughters, “the Five Walton Sisters.” Marty’s mother, Alice “Allie” Walton, was a feminist, activist, and Quaker leader, and she—along with her sisters Jean, Dora, Ruth, and Peg—modeled the strength, independence, grit, and integrity that shaped the full course of Marty’s life.
Marty was passionate about geology and the natural world. She graduated from Earlham College in 1958, with a bachelor’s in geology. Marty and Wayne Vinson met while at Earlham. They married in 1958 in Richmond, Ind., and had four children together before divorcing in 1976. Marty and Wayne remained good friends throughout her life.
Marty met Linda Lyman in the late 1980s. Marty and Linda were life partners for the remainder of Marty’s life. They lived in Kennebunk, Maine, and, since 2004, in Springvale.
Marty was a lifelong Quaker, serving on numerous committees, attending many gatherings, and developing countless deep friendships with Quaker connections. She was an excellent communicator, serving as a customer service manager for MPI Labels in Ohio and California from 1979 to 1985. This combination of business experience and Quaker volunteer involvement led to her selection as the general secretary of Friends General Conference in Philadelphia, Pa., a position she held from 1986 to 1992, and one in which she grew as a leader and mentor. Throughout Marty’s adult life, she was a member of Quaker meeting communities. In both Bellingham (Wash.) Meeting and Southern Maine Meeting in Biddeford, Maine, she nurtured the spiritual growth of each blessed community.
Marty was strongly influenced by her Walton family heritage. She felt that family history should be preserved and shared. In the mid-1990s, Marty and Linda started the Storehouse Collection of Memories, a business devoted to the creation of unique and personalized life story books. This led to Marty’s involvement with the Association of Personal Historians, of which Marty was a founding member, treasurer, and operations manager from 2004 to 2011.
Marty contributed her time and talents to numerous causes for social justice over the years, including Hands Off Washington in Bellingham in the early 1990s. Also in Bellingham, she and Linda created the “Brown Bag Lunch” series, which offered a voice and platform to various grassroots organizations. In the Sanford, Maine area, Marty volunteered for various political campaigns, offering support as treasurer as recently as 2018.
Marty traveled the United States several times. Some of her greatest joys were these road trips, and meandering routes were preferred. She also traveled to Colombia, Canada, and Europe.
Marty was known for her warmth, love of family and friends, spirit of adventure, openness, and her remarkable ability to listen and support others without judgment. Without question, Marty’s greatest love was her family. In her later years she forged loving relationships with her seven grandchildren, of whom she was extraordinarily proud.
Marty is survived by her life partner of 31 years, Linda Lyman; four children, Doug Vinson (Carla Cabibi), Dean Vinson (Tracy), Scott Vinson (Patricia Smith-Vinson), and Julia Vinson Ladd (Butch Dymkowski); seven grandchildren; two sisters, Eleanor Merritt and Jaiyh Amatuli; first and second cousins; nephews and a niece; and her former husband, Wayne Vinson. Donations may be made to Friends General Conference, 1216 Arch Street 2B, Philadelphia, PA 19107, in memory of Meredith Walton.