Milestones August 2015


Hall—Thomas S. Hall, 93, in August 2014, in Bellingham, Wash., with family and friends around him in love and support. Tom was born in New York City and grew up during the Great Depression. Despite the loss of his mother to diphtheria when he was quite young, and changing schools many times before graduation, he excelled academically. A Methodist family he knew in his youth influenced him to embrace peace and justice, by demonstrating “the behavioral equivalent of consciousness,” as he would say. In World War II, he refused to register for the draft, serving an 18-month sentence in federal prison, where he was punished with solitary confinement for refusing racial segregation in the food line. He attended college and medical school at Harvard, graduating magna cum laude in 1949. He was a member of Summit (N.J.) Meeting.

One of the founders of American Medical Oncology, Tom’s career included medical research, teaching positions at many institutions (including 15 years at Harvard Medical School), guest lectures, oncological practice, and the founding/directing of cancer care centers around the country and in Vancouver, B.C. He wrote over 200 scientific articles, 43 chapters in medical books, and 8 medical textbooks and monographs. After having lived on the East Coast, the West Coast, and in Hawaii, where he was a member of Honolulu Meeting, Tom moved to Bellingham in 1992 and joined Bellingham Meeting. He was a member of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee for many years and was often found at the Saturday public market, staffing the Bellingham Meeting table with petitions available for signing to support peace and social justice. He was an active supporter of American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), and Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy (FCWPP). He habitually wore an FCNL button that said, “War Is Not the Answer,” and generally also had a few in his pocket, giving one to anyone who promised to wear it.

In Bellingham he initiated the local Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial and was medical director for several years at Whatcom Hospice. He and his wife, Lorina, traveled regularly all over the United States and Canada visiting family and friends. Traveling abroad as well, they recently visited Kenya and Tanzania, where they spent time with a Canadian friend working in Kenya and came to love the animals, birds, vastness, and colors of the Serengeti. He loved classical music concerts and the opera, and on his weekly calendar for many years was a lecture/discussion with the Bellingham ROMEOS (Retired Old Men Eating Out).

Tom is survived by his wife, Lorina Hall; eight children; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. In his memory, donations are welcome at Hospice House Foundation, 2901 Squalicum Parkway, Bellingham, WA 98225; and American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

Harris—Howard Leroy Harris, 97, on November 6, 2014, at home in Bellingham, Wash., with loving family members around him. Howard was born on October 9, 1917, to Leona Miller and Leroy Harris in Hereford, Texas, where his Quaker parents and grandparents were pioneering wheat farmers in the Texas panhandle. When he was two, the family moved to Iowa to live on the farm that his grandparents had bought in 1887. A lifelong Quaker who grew up in Center Friends Church near Newton, Iowa, he earned degrees from University of Iowa, University of Missouri, and Hartford Theological Seminary. He was a conscientious objector in World War II, meeting Rosemary Crist in 1943 at an American Friends Service Committee workcamp at Flanner House in Indianapolis, Ind., and they married there that year and took a 600-mile honeymoon bicycle trip through Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

Howard taught botany for three years at Friends University in Wichita, Kans.; spent five years in pastoral ministry in Congregational and Friends churches; counseled Whitman Junior High School students for six years in Livonia, Mich.; taught anthropology for three years at San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University at Northridge); and in 1966 became associate professor of anthropology at Western Washington University. That year he, Rosemary, and a friend started a weekly peace vigil in downtown Bellingham that continues today. He gradually retired from Western Washington in 1986–1992. During his long quasi-retirement, he wrote several self-published books about his philosophy, life experiences, and cross-cultural research on childrearing practices. Often saying that he was fortunate to get paid for doing what he loved to do, he continued to teach correspondence courses in anthropology until the summer of 2014.

He had been a member or attender at meetings including Springdale Meeting at Scattergood Friends School in Iowa; Hartford (Conn.) Meeting; University Meeting in Wichita, Kans.; Xenia (Ohio) Friends Church; South Glens Falls Adirondack (N.Y.) Meeting; Detroit (Mich.) Meeting; Ann Arbor (Mich.) Meeting; and San Fernando Meeting in Sylmar, Calif. The Whatcom Peace and Justice Center established and awarded him the Howard Harris Lifetime Peacemaker Award in 2005. He joined Bellingham Meeting in 2006 after attending for more than 40 years.

Anthropology research and the Quaker experience of spiritual growth led him to believe in childrearing without punishment and education that enhances natural creativity and curiosity. A lifelong conservationist, he enjoyed hiking and backpacking, especially in the mountains. In a pamphlet on the meaning of love in Quaker thought, he wrote: “The love of a neighbor and the love of the natural world are not separable.”

Howard was preceded in death by his wife, Rosemary Crist Harris, in 2009 and their granddaughter, Anna Rosemary Harris, in 2013. He is survived by six children, David Harris, Heather Harris Ezrre (Andrew), Holly Harris, Timothy Harris (Ellen), Stanley Harris (Karen), and Stephen Harris (Margaret); 12 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; a sister, Fern Glass; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Bellingham Meeting and his family hosted an ecumenical memorial service on December 13, 2014, at First Congregational Church in Bellingham. Memorial gifts may be sent to the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center, P.O. Box 2444, Bellingham, WA 98227; American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102; or Friends Committee on National Legislation, 245 Second Street NE, Washington, DC 20002.

Harrison—Richard Gary Harrison, 83, on December 6, 2013, at home in Santa Ana, Calif. Gary was born on November 13, 1930, in Oklahoma, to Gladys and Ralph Harrison, and grew up in Corpus Christi, Tex. A lifelong lover of the air and sea, Gary entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1949, where he lettered in tennis and 150-pound football, sang in the choir, and played in the Naval Academy Dance Band. Upon graduation he joined the U.S. Air Force and became a pilot. In 1953, he met his future wife, Eleanor Cross, known as Onnie, in Tucson, Ariz., when she was a senior studying acting at University of Arizona. Gary drove two and a half hours each day to take Eleanor out for coffee after rehearsals and performances. When asked why he went to so much trouble, he answered that if he didn’t, someone else would. They married in 1954. Their son was born in 1955 and their daughter in 1059, and Gary was present for both births. After he retired from the military, he spend the rest of his career in the computer industry.

After stints in Arizona, Hawaii, San Francisco, and Seattle, the family came to Southern California and began attending Orange County Meeting in Irvine, Calif. Gary and Onnie became members in the 1974-75 membership year. Gary served on Ministry and Oversight, Finance, and Fellowship committees and as recorder. Although Gary called himself a conservative, he worked for Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign, fought in the workplace for women’s continued acceptance into the business world, encouraged his daughter’s love of math and business, and supported Onnie’s pursuit of higher education, even her decision to spend a year of graduate field work in Nepal. He was an excellent cook, who specialized in breakfast foods, bread, cookies, and pastries. His lifelong loves were steak, ice cream, tennis, airplanes (one of which he built in his garage), his family, and especially Onnie, his wife of 60 years.

Gary is survived by his wife, Eleanor Cross Harrison, called Onnie; two children, Rick Harrison (Terri) and Melanie Buckowski (Dan); 11 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Jorgensen—Mary Evelyn Jorgensen, 98, on July 23, 2014, at home in Nevada City, Calif., peacefully, surrounded by her family. Mary was born on July 12, 1916, in Wabash, Ind., and grew up without electricity on a farm where she milked cows, rode horses, and worked in the garden. She received a bachelor’s degree from Church of the Brethren Manchester University and taught for years as an elementary school and preschool teacher. She married Russell Fredrick Jorgensen in 1939. Mary and Russell worked toward racial equality through their efforts for fair housing and as Freedom Riders; took part in conferences and service work in Switzerland, Israel, Mexico, and Tanzania; and helped to create the John Woolman School, where peace studies, nonviolence, sustainability, and social justice resonated with their life concerns. They raised funds for the school, organized work camps, and rolled up their sleeves for projects on campus.

After attending meetings in Pasadena, Berkeley, and Santa Rosa in California, she and Russell transferred their memberships from Redwood Forest Meeting in Santa Rosa to Grass Valley Meeting in Nevada City in 2002. Mary served on the Peace and Social Justice Committee and the Ministry and Oversight Committee and represented the meeting on Friends Association of Services for the Elderly (FASE). Her warm, full smile revealed her openness, acceptance, and compassion. In her joyful and spirited way, she brought the Light to a multitude of peace marches and protests; and if she was arrested, she danced. She had warm memories of life in an intentional community, Monan’s Rill, and her ministry during meeting for worship frequently spoke of the joy of communal living and her growth in nonjudgmental acceptance of others while living there.

She reminisced about family backpacking trips in the High Sierras, the John Muir Trail, Mount Kilimanjaro, and the Andes, and her daily walks nurtured her. Her appreciation for nature was evident until her last days. Grass Valley’s celebration of her life at her memorial meeting was a joyful time of thanking her for being an inspiration to all. As silence set in and a space cleared, one by one, people shared from their hearts how she had touched their lives.

Mary is survived by four children, Eric Jorgensen, Mark Jorgensen, Paul Jorgensen, and Lynne Dover; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and a sister, Miriam Bechtel.

McBride—Judith Elaine McBride, 77, on August 24, 2014, in Tucson, Ariz. Judith was born on January 16, 1937, in Oklahoma City, Ok., the first child of Edith Bernice Morris and James William McBride. Both sides of her family had been pioneers in Oklahoma: her widowed great-grandmother was a homesteader in the Panhandle and the first female postmistress in the state, and a grandfather was postmaster for the state. When Judith was three, her family moved to Arlington, Va. At 15 a grant enabled her to attend Goucher College, where she studied German and economics. She lived for a year when she was 17 with a family in Germany under Experiment in International Living, keeping in touch with this family for many years. She attended the Democratic Convention in Chicago as the delegate for Goucher Students for (Adlai) Stevenson.

In 1957, she married Herbert Weast, a labor attaché in the Foreign Service. They lived in Lagos, Nigeria, and in San Salvador, El Salvador. Judith managed their busy household, hosting dignitaries from many countries and developing a lifelong interest in and concern for social justice and equality. When their marriage ended after five years, she returned to the United States from El Salvador with her children and studied towards a doctorate at Columbia University and at University of Kansas, where she met philosopher and author Howard Kahane, whom she married in 1968. She taught philosophy and ethics for many years at Central Connecticut State University and joined Hartford Meeting. Her daughter remembers Judith as an advanced thinker and recalls as a fourth grader attending one of her mother’s classes at which a transgendered man spoke.

Judith and Howard divorced in 1972, and the next year she married math professor John Sinnock, a widower with three sons, and this marriage lasted for 11 years. She received her doctorate from Columbia, publishing Immanuel Kant’s Theory of Moral Responsibility, became a visiting fellow at Yale, developed a course on medical ethics, and reached out to advocate for those with AIDS. She gave her children an activist education, sharing with them her activities to support civil rights, oppose war, raise awareness for world hunger, speak out for equality, and have a garden. In the 1980s she became interested in the sanctuary movement, met Jim and Pat Corbett, and helped many Central American refugees to cross the border from Mexico, taking into her home for several months a Guatemalan family seeking refuge.

Moving from Connecticut to Arizona in 1992, she lived first in Tucson and then joined the Cascabel community and Saguaro-Juniper Corporation along the San Pedro River, where she built a straw bale home, in which the Cascabel Worship Group sometimes held meeting for worship, and offered insights in a Meetings for Reading study group series. In 1993 she transferred her membership from Hartford to Pima Meeting in Tucson and served on the Committee for Clearness for Membership and Marriage and the Committee for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Concerns. Judith’s depth of discernment brought richness to Pima Meeting’s struggle to define “inclusiveness” in the meeting community. Her later struggles with Alzheimer’s disease were especially poignant in light of her extraordinarily sharp intellect.

Judith is survived by two children, Thomas Estes Weast and Antonie Elaine Weast Genovesi; four grandchildren; two brothers, James William McBride Jr. and Thomas Edward McBride; and a sister, Elizabeth Elaine McBride.

Moon—Agnes Lawall Moon, 95, on June 11, 2014, quietly, at the Friends Care Center in Yellow Springs, Ohio, after a two-week period of hospice care, with her son at her side. Agnes was born on March 17, 1919, to a Quaker family in Richmond, Ind., the youngest of five children. She graduated from Wayne State University, where she met and married her husband, Edwin O. Moon, in 1941. She loved children and worked for a time as a nanny and then in an orphanage. She was a kindergarten teacher in the Cincinnati Public Schools from 1954 to 1984, most of those years at Rockdale Elementary School. A principal who worked with her called her “the Rock of Rockdale.” Some of her students stayed in touch with her all her life.

After moving to Cincinnati in 1953, she was active in the formation of East Cincinnati Meeting and a founding member of Community Meeting in Cincinnati. She taught First-day school for many years and was active on the Community Committee. She showed up regularly to help clean the meetinghouse on work days and always reached out to help others in the meeting, especially the children. She served as the meeting’s statistician for many years, maintaining membership records and reporting to both Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting and Wilmington Yearly Meeting. She attended Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting faithfully through the years, and served as registrar for a time.

Gentle and generous with sharing her knowledge and experience, she served as a mentor to many, living out her Quaker values in her daily life and giving her children and grandchildren a powerful example of love, service, and simplicity in a life lived in the Light. Agnes was preceded in death by her sons Lewis Moon (Sharon) and Roy Moon (Lyn) and in 1996 by her husband, Edwin O. Moon, whom she cared for with great devotion through his struggle with Parkinson’s disease. She is survived by three children, Tom Moon (Cathy), Sam Moon (Katherine), and Susan Hyde (David); eight grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Steelman—Ronald S. Steelman, 87, on December 16, 2014, peacefully, at his home in San Clemente, Calif., after a long illness. Ron was born on June 5, 1927, in Los Angeles, Calif., to Margaret Thompson and Joseph Champion Steelman. He grew up in Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, graduating from Hollywood High School, a member of the band that played at Shirley Temple’s prom. He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and graduated from University of Pennsylvania and Curtis Institute of Music, where he met his future wife of 64 years, Lee Trobaugh. He played double bass with the Cleveland Symphony before returning to school for his law degree at Harvard. In Philadelphia he and Lee explored various faiths but did not become Quakers until they moved in the 1950s to Cambridge, Mass., and a chance encounter with a Congregational minister high school friend of Lee’s who recommended that they try Quakers. They joined Cambridge Meeting in 1957. While attending Harvard, Ron and Lee helped establish the Boston Chamber Players.

From Boston, they moved to Orange County, Calif., and settled in San Clemente. For many years, Ron was a Commissioner of the South Orange County Municipal Court. He and Lee were founding members of Orange County Meeting in Irvine, Calif., and during his 50 years of membership he served as clerk; on Ministry and Oversight, Finance, Religious Education, Nominating, and Hospitality Committees; and as treasurer, recording clerk, and newsletter editor, for which he established the name Quaker Qourier.

The meeting also knew him as an accordionist and tap dancer, a humorist, a songwriter, and, with Lee, the host of meeting Christmas parties for many years. Intelligent, honorable, and known for his ability to persevere, he was a humanitarian, family man, fabulous cook, witty writer, and wizard of wordplay, in his later years often seen with a crossword puzzle or cryptogram in hand.

Ron is survived by his wife, Lee Trobaugh Steelman; three children, Joseph Steelman (Melody Guiver Steelman), Marlee Steelman-Mitchell (Mark Mitchell), and Kory Steelman; four grandchildren; and a soon-to-be granddaughter-in-law.


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