Milestones February 2015


Elkinton-Stratton—Sarah Elkinton and Daniel Stratton, on October 12, 2014, at Langley Hill Meeting in McLean, Va. The wedding was jointly overseen by Langley Hill Meeting and Bridge City Meeting in Portland, Ore., which Sarah and Daniel attend. Sarah is the daughter of Steven and Deborah Elkinton, while Dan’s parents are Karen Stratton and Roger Golliver of Beaverton, Ore. Guests came from many corners of the United States, and members of Sarah’s birth family from Gimje, South Korea, were in attendance. Sarah and Daniel met at Earlham College. She has a degree from New England Culinary Institute, and Daniel is studying to be an accountant at Warner-Pacific College. Sarah and Daniel live in Portland, Ore.


Branson—Byron M. Branson, 84, on February 2, 2014, at home in Cincinnati, Ohio, of natural causes, with his wife and daughter at his side. Byron was born on June 24, 1929, in Guilford, N.C., the first child of Bessie Phipps and Quaker minister B. Russell Branson. Three months after his birth, the family moved to Clintondale, N.Y., for his father’s pastorate of Clintondale Friends Church. In 1939, when his grandmother died, they returned to North Carolina to care for his grandfather, and his father became pastor of New Garden Meeting in Greensboro, N.C. Byron graduated from Guilford College in 1951 with degrees in physics and religion. He became a car lover, beginning with a 1926 Ford Model T that his grandfather gave him. He attended the Young Friends Conference in Reading, England in 1952 and spent six weeks traveling and sharing experiences with young Friends from around the world: a turning point that deepened his Quaker commitment. In 1956, he met Wilhelmina Braddock at the Friends General Conference (FGC) Gathering in Cape May, N.J., and although he was living in Baltimore, and she in Cincinnati, by December they were engaged, and he moved to Cincinnati. They married in 1957 and began a life together in which Quakerism provided the rhythm and fabric of their lives. He was a devoted and playful father, building his children a playhouse, jungle gym, and swings. He worked for the U.S. Public Health Service at Taft Engineering Center in Cincinnati, measuring and documenting nuclear arms testing radioactive fallout in the Radiological Health Research Activities program and showing that it was higher than the military and United States Atomic Energy Commission were acknowledging. As a pacifist physicist in the early nuclear age, he was grateful that he could apply his knowledge for public health rather than for the military. In 1965, he and Wilhelmina moved to the racially and culturally diverse North Avondale neighborhood, and he joined PEP (Pupil Enrichment Program). A founding member of Community Meeting in Cincinnati in 1968, he served several terms as presiding clerk and advised the youth group. He counseled conscientious objectors, leading his family on peace marches in Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. In the early 1970s, he helped start a nuclear medicine laboratory in collaboration with University Medical Center in Cincinnati. He attended FGC, Indiana Yearly Meeting, and Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting gatherings; represented Quakers on the Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati (MARCC); and helped to plan and build Quaker Heights and served on the board for almost 25 years. He led his family on summer vacations to the West Coast, New England, and the Great Lakes and introduced them to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where they went several times. He owned a series of Studebakers, a Karmann Ghia convertible, an Austin-Healey 3000, and a Fiat 124 Sport Coupé, doing most of the repairs and maintenance. His 1941 Plymouth was a longtime favorite. He could fix most things around the house, and he was always helping neighbors and friends. Commenting on Barack Obama’s presidential election in 2008, he wrote: “[Election day] was truly one of the great days in my life. . . . I can hardly believe I have lived to see this day. Hallelujah.” Byron is survived by his wife of 56 years, Wilhelmina Braddock Branson; three children, Sara Homstad (Leigh), Hannah Branson, and Christopher Branson (Carolyn Bliss Branson); six granddaughters; and his brother, J. Clyde Branson (Lu Henley Branson).

Bush—Harold Gilbert Bush, 99, on July 22, 2014, at Friends House in Santa Rosa, Calif. Harold was born on March 6, 1915, at home on a farm in Kent, Iowa, to Eva Reed Patterson and William Weston Bush. When Harold was eight, his father died of appendicitis, and his mother moved the family to southern California. Harold was a prankster as a child and later entertained his family with tales of his deeds, claiming to have been an innocent bystander when boys led a cow into the belfry of the one-room schoolhouse and when they dismantled farm equipment and reassembled it on the schoolhouse roof. He also described a mud ball incident involving passing cars, again claiming to have been a witness, not a perpetrator. He did admit to borrowing one of his uncle’s steers for an impromptu rodeo. Even as a young boy, he was baffled by physical violence and never understood why grown men tried to resolve their differences through combat. When his mother remarried, the family returned to Iowa, and he began helping out at his stepfather’s bank. He met Amy Frantz at the Grand Island Business College in Grand Island, Neb., in 1934, and took her to a Sunday movie (which Amy’s childhood church viewed as a sin) on their first date. In 1937 they married in Beatrice, Neb., and in 1939 they moved to Berkeley for him to attend night school at Golden Gate University and work during the day for the U.S. Soil Conservation Service. Living in Berkeley opened up new pathways for them. They were attracted to the arts and classical music and found like-minded pacifists and liberals. They began attending Berkeley Meeting. Harold was a conscientious objector during World War II, fighting forest fires in California for Civilian Public Service in 1943–1946. Although some of his relatives were critical of his choice, Amy’s family and many Quakers fully supported him. For decades, he worked with peace and social justice organizations, including the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the Friends Committee on National Legislation. AFSC Pacific Region was just starting, and he served on several committees, including the Finance and Executive committees. He became a certified public accountant and a partner in the John F. Forbes and Company accounting firm, working there until his retirement in 1978 at 63. He served a finance officer for Physicians for Social Responsibility for four years in the ’80s and was treasurer for the Pacific Horticultural Foundation. Harold joined Berkeley Meeting in December 2002, after attending for more than 60 years. Devoted to his family, he was kind and generous, and his relatives and friends could feel his boundless love simply by being in his presence. He and Amy made six trips to France, enjoyed walking in the Alps, and went to the Soviet Union. Amy died in May 2014. He is survived by two daughters, Kathleen Bush (Christopher Frazier) and Lisa Bush (Christopher Amelotte), and many relatives and friends.

Conrad—Joan Kirchner Conrad, 78, on December 5, 2011, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Joan was born on October 2, 1933, in New York City, to Mildred Lowell Mount and Hugo Kirchner. She attended high school in Lake Hiawatha, Queens, N.Y. At University of Connecticut, she majored in science, a path far from what was expected for women in the early ’50s. After graduation, she traveled across the United States with the American Friends Service Committee, joining Berkeley (Calif.) Meeting in 1955. When she entered Oregon State University to earn her master’s in horticulture, she was required to sign a promise that she would never teach agriculture or science. She met Eugene Conrad at Oregon State, and they married in 1956 at Westminster House in Corvallis, Ore. Taking the promise she had made to heart, she focused on supporting Gene in his work for the United States Forest Service and raising their three children: Mark Evan, born in 1957; Brian, born in 1958; and Anna Marie, born in 1960. Her turn came as her children entered high school and she returned to college at California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, to earn an unencumbered teaching credential. She was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother, and she and Gene supported each other for 55 years. Joan was survived by her husband, Eugene Conrad; Gene died on June 14, 2014. She is survived by two children, Mark Conrad (Laura Stein) and Anna Marie Allen (Brent); and four grandchildren.

Darnell—John Hastings Darnell, 71, on October 15, 2014, in Silver Spring, Md. John was born just after midnight on January 1, 1943, in West Chester, Pa., to Doris Jessie Hastings and Howard Clayton Darnell. His birth date would have been December 31, 1942, except for year-round daylight saving time, or War Time. As a child he lived in the Philadelphia suburbs in houses his family renovated in lieu of rent. John internalized the Quaker integrity testimony when he lied about shooting out the family chicken coop’s windows in a game of cowboys and Indians and found his father more upset by the lie than by the damage. He graduated from Westtown School in 1960 and studied chemistry at Haverford College. At the end of his junior year he married Bryn Mawr student Regna Diebold, and they began graduate studies at University of Pennsylvania. They divorced in 1965. He and Swarthmore graduate Katrina Nourse van Benschoten, his mother’s secretary at American Friends Service Committee, married under the care of Westtown Meeting in West Chester in 1972 at Birmingham Meeting in West Chester, where John had spent a summer doing restoration. They lived in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia while John finished his doctorate in 1974 and Katrina earned a certificate in occupational therapy at University of Pennsylvania. He published his dissertation: Studies on the Sedimentation and Conformation of Procollagen: Factors Affecting the Formation of Triple Helix in Biosynthetic Precursors of Collagen. They lived in Frederick, Md., in 1975 for his work at Fort Detrick’s Cancer Research Center and then moved to Myersville, Md. He installed a Free-Flow stove in their home; covered three walls in stucco for insulation; and turned the fourth, south-facing wall into a passive solar Trombe Wall. He and Katrina started raised bed gardening and experimented with vegetarianism. They were founding members of the worship group that became Frederick (Md.) Meeting and took their baby daughter to Freeze the Arms Race marches. John taught science at St. John’s Catholic School at Prospect Hall and spent three years working for Arthur Kanegis’s Future WAVE (Working for Alternatives to Violence through Entertainment). He clerked Frederick Meeting in 1984–1987 as it transitioned from preparative to monthly meeting, Warrington Quarterly Meeting, and Warrington’s Ministry and Counsel Committee. In the late ’80s, he began work as a biochemist for Life Technologies/GibCo BRL, and beginning in 1992 he represented Frederick Meeting and Baltimore Yearly Meeting at Friends General Conference (FGC), serving on the Central Committee (1992–2013), Nominating Committee (2001–2007), and Friends Pension Plan Committee (2007–2013). He clerked the Development Committee during FGC’s first major capital campaign and sat on Friends Journal Board of Trustees in 2000–2009. Along with helping to found Frederick’s Community Alternative Mediation (CALM) in 2001, he enthusiastically supported the Banner School, joining the board of trustees and returning to the classroom as a middle school science teacher there. He and Katrina returned to vegetarianism a quarter century after their first attempt at it. After focusing a few years on his inventions, such as the Zoomering, he capped off his career as science and energy advisor to Congressman Roscoe Bartlett from 1998 to 2013, working with him to bring attention to the issue of peak oil. He retired when the congressman did, and then focused on prison ministry; helping friends with their own inventions; and caring for Katrina, who suffered from Alzheimer’s. They moved to Friends House in 2012. A little over a year into his retirement, he suffered the massive stroke that led to his death. He was a devoted husband; a proud father; and a lifelong thinker, dreamer, and tinkerer, with a deep faith in Quaker process, who could talk to anybody, anywhere. John was preceded in death by his mother, Doris Darnell; his aunts, Ruth Darnell Sawyer and Edith Hastings Meaker Leete; and two uncles, Frank Hastings (Frances) and Nelson Fuson. He is survived by his father, Howard Darnell; his wife, Katrina Darnell; two children, Katherine Darnell (Lauren) and Frances Darnell (Eduardo Ulloa); a sister, Elizabeth Darnell; a brother, Eric Darnell (Anne); two aunts, Shirley Hastings and Marian Fuson; an uncle, Warren Sawyer (Florence); many loving cousins, nieces, and nephews; and a multitude of faithful friends.

Ilardi—Sandra Jean Allee Ilardi (formerly Bartram), 76, on August 24, 2014, in Leesburg, Fla. Sandy was born on July 24, 1938, in Greencastle, Ind., to Virginia Richeson and Cedric Allee. During the Great Depression, her family lived in small towns in eastern Indiana, where her father ran a grocery store or worked with tools and dies, and her nurse mother worked in hospitals and with disabled children and taught physical therapy. Sandy’s interest in Quakerism began during her early teens when her family lived near a meetinghouse. She was led to attend meeting and later told her family that she had always felt comfortable there. During the late 1950s, she studied psychology at Earlham College, where she met her first husband, Stephen Bartram, a Friend whom she married in 1962. The young couple and their growing family lived first in Dayton, Ohio, and then Pittsburgh, Pa., where they attended meeting. Stephen worked in medical research, bringing home a left-handed rat, which Sandy promptly adopted. She worked in reservations and training at Trans World Airlines (TWA), winning a number of awards and developing a love of travel. Her first marriage ended amicably in 1980, and she lived in Columbus, Ohio, and Kansas City, Mo., working in computer systems for TWA. In Kansas City she met and married her second husband, Ignatius “Nat” Ilardi. The couple moved to Leesburg, Fla., in 2004. In central Florida she returned to the Quaker world, joining Orlando Meeting and serving as clerk of the Worship and Ministry Committee. Her marriage to Nat ended in 2014. Friends appreciated her smile, her quiet enthusiasm, and her contribution toward a sense of community in the meeting. She was a good listener, not expressing opinions unless asked to do so. Inspired by the many books she read, she had an open, welcoming heart and created lasting ties with people. Meditation comforted her, and she admired the wisdom of Buddhist nun and writer Pema Chödrön. Sandy is survived by three children, Pamela Hubble, Gregory Bartram, and Wendy Bartram; two stepchildren; four grandchildren; a step-grandchild; and a brother.

Morse—David How Morse, 59, on July 12, 2013, of myelodysplastic syndrome and complications of AIDS. David was born on September 27, 1953, in Bryn Mawr, Pa., to Helen Louise and Elliott How Morse. He was a lifelong Friend, having been brought up as a member of Merion (Pa.) Meeting, where he is still warmly remembered. He attended Lower Merion High School from 1968 to 1971 and Wesleyan University College of Letters, majoring in European philosophy, literature, and history, and graduating in 1975 magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He also earned a master’s from Columbia University School of Library Science in 1976, graduating with honors and Beta Phi Mu. He worked for Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1976 to 1977 and joined University of Southern California Norris Medical Library in 1979, beginning to attend Orange Grove Meeting in Pasadena, Calif. At Norris Medical Library, he was associate director for collection resources from 1986 until his medical retirement in 2005. Although David professed to not being a good teacher, people at both his work and his meeting found his dry wit, incredible memory of facts, great intellect, and restless curiosity to be instructive as well as endlessly entertaining. His good friends Bill Clintworth and David Arriola helped him get through 28 years of medical challenges. He joined Orange Grove Meeting in 2004. When Joe Franko and David fell in love, they asked for their marriage to be taken under the care of the meeting. David became Grandpa David to Joe’s granddaughter, Jennalise, and a constant companion of Joe’s dog, Monster. He was a well-loved and respected member of the meeting, serving as co-clerk with Joe and as assistant clerk. He was also archivist for both Orange Grove Meeting and Pacific Yearly Meeting and clerk of Ministry and Counsel for Southern California Quarterly Meeting. In recent years he helped to gather Orange Grove Meeting history and gave a series of well-attended and much applauded lectures based on that history. He volunteered at American Friends Service Committee’s bookstore and brought selected titles to Pacific Yearly Meeting for many years. He received the Louise Darling Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Collection Development in 1995 from the Medical Library Association and in 2006 was made a fellow. Four years after their marriage in Orange Grove Meeting, when California’s Proposition 8 was struck down allowing same-sex marriage to proceed, Joe and David legally married in the ICU of Kaiser Hospital, though both felt that God had married them long before. In the end, the failure of his bone marrow took this beloved friend, companion, and husband, and he rests, finally and peacefully, in God’s arms and the hearts of all who knew him. David was survived by his spouse, Joe Franko, who passed away five months after him; and his brother, John Morse.

Oldham—Alison Davis Oldham, 85, peacefully, on September 4, 2014, in Seattle, Wash. Alison was born in Mineola, N.Y., on March 12, 1929, the second of three children of Edith Bunker and Paul Ernest Davis. She grew up in a loving family during the Great Depression and World War II, which profoundly influenced her later views on war and peace, economic justice, and the transformative power of love. Both parents were active in the community; their home was a gathering place for neighbors, relatives, friends, and visitors from around the world. Alison graduated from Oberlin College in 1951. In 1952 she travelled alone to Europe, where she bicycled, hiked, and travelled by train through England, Scotland, France, and Germany. Alison married Neild Oldham in 1953, with whom she raised three sons, living in Rumford Falls and South Freeport, Maine; North Kingstown, R.I.; and New London, Conn. They divorced in 1982, and Neild passed away in 2007. Throughout her long and active life, Alison worked as an English teacher, librarian, writer, editor, and activist, combining her varied professional work with raising her children and increasing activism. She worked for the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), first as field secretary and then as legislative action coordinator, from 1981 until her retirement in 1995, living in Washington, D.C., during most of those years. Alison joined the Religious Society of Friends as a young adult and remained an active member for the rest of her life. She attended and was a member of meetings at Providence, R.I.; New London, Conn.; and Takoma Park, Md. She also briefly attended Salmon Bay Meeting in Seattle near the end of her life. She was a dedicated advocate for peace and social justice, volunteering for her local meetings and Quaker organizations such as the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), where she served on the national board of directors; Friends General Conference; Friends World Committee for Consultation; and New England Yearly Meeting. She also volunteered with the League of Women Voters and other community organizations and gave her time to a number of causes, including peace, challenging racism, fighting economic injustice, and protecting the environment. She travelled to Guatemala and Costa Rica in 1989 and to Kenya and South Africa in 1991, to promote peace and international friendship, to build connections in the global Quaker community, and to make personal connections with the peoples and cultures of the world. Alison was widely known as a kind, patient listener and friend, a welcoming host, and a wise counsellor. She served as an informal mentor to many younger Friends, relatives, and co-workers. She loved books, nature, family, and music, singing in community choirs in each new place she lived. After her retirement Alison lived in Takoma Park and Silver Spring, Md., and Seattle, Wash. She lived for many years with dementia, which she endured with patience and grace. Her essential core of compassion and kindness remained unchanged. Alison’s younger brother, Fred Bunker Davis, passed away in 2010. She is survived by her sister, Virginia Davis Hodge; her sister-in-law, Janet Davis; her three sons and daughters-in-law, Kit Oldham (Colleen O’Connor), Jim Oldham (Linda Barca), and Davis Oldham (Julie Alexander); five grandchildren, Rebekah Broady (Nick), Alexis Oldham Barca, Edith Angela Oldham Barca, Sophie Segel, and Jemma Alexander; her stepdaughter, Patricia Namerow; Patricia’s daughter, Dana Harrell and family; numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and -nephews, and many more friends and relations. The family will announce a celebration of her life in the coming months. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to FCNL or AFSC.

Wood—Mary Alice Marshall Wood, 88, on September 21, 2014, in West Chester, Pa. Mary was born on August 17, 1926, in Whittier, Calif., to Elma and Harold Marshall, members of Friends Church in Whittier. Acres of lemon and orange trees surrounded her childhood home. In 1942 she traveled cross-country on the train to Westtown School, from which she graduated in 1944. She attended Whittier College and William Penn College, graduating cum laude from Whittier in 1949. The day after her nineteenth birthday, she married Robert Azeltine, whom she had met while he was a conscientious objector at a southern California forest service camp. She worked as director of religious education at Friends Church in Whittier. Robert died in 1962, leaving her with two children. She returned to the east coast, studying for a year at Pendle Hill Quaker study and retreat center in Wallingford, Pa., before settling with her second husband, Howard Reed, in Storrs, Conn., and joining Storrs Meeting. She taught atypical preschool children and served on the board of the Meeting School in Rindge, N.H. When her second marriage ended, she became head resident at Pendle Hill (1984–1988) and transferred her membership to Media (Pa.) Meeting. Mary was a lover of silence and solitude. Her capacity for deep listening and her keen intellect made her a friend to many. She joined Kendal Meeting in Kennett Square, Pa., when she moved to Kendal at Longwood. In her retirement she served as clerk of the Pendle Hill executive board and volunteered with hospice. She was a voice for equality and a student of religion, physics, and neuroscience. She loved to write, never left home without a good book, and took time to wonder at the beauty that surrounded her. Mary is survived by her children, Nancy Worobey and Michael Azeltine; two grandchildren; a brother, Alan Marshall; and many who were honored to count her as a friend.

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