Milestones June/July 2014


Adams—Paul Adams, 65, on December 28, 2013, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Pauli was born on August 16, 1948, in Manhattan. At one point, he moved to Austin, Tex., where an elderly woman, Evelyn K. Boswell, whom he referred to as “Miz Dixie,” took him in. He cared for her in her final years, and after she died in 1994, one of her relatives let him stay on in the modest bungalow until that person also died. He began attending Friends Meeting of Austin in the late 1990s and became a member in 2000, with a steadfast and insistent ministry to do all the dishes at potlucks. He also served on committees, hosted spiritual discussion groups in his home, and took part in the meeting’s work against the death penalty. Several Austin Friends remember his heartfelt, loving vocal ministry and his sharp sense of humor. He returned to New York in 2005, living with his father in Brooklyn Heights and attending Brooklyn Meeting, where his vocal messages reminded Friends that God’s love is in each of us and is accessible at all times. He seemed to take inspiration from the children in the meeting, frequently offering his ministry after they came in from First-day school. He served on the Library Committee and offered individual ministry to many Brooklyn Friends. In poor health, he was in and out of hospitals often in recent years, and he had a tempestuous relationship with his father, who died in the summer of 2013. Pauli often went through dark times, and he sought to light that darkness through Brooklyn Meeting and through Sufi group Dergah al-Farah. He shared his messages of love and Light with many: through conversations—even with strangers on the street, phone calls, and letters; giving thanks to firemen and policemen for their service; and a friendly word with a neighboring nurse or deli owner. His voice and ministry shine in one of his letters to an Austin Friend: “We are the children of Creation, not the Creator. Although every child has a part of the Divine One within them, this does not mean we can reach or remain in the Presence without divine assistance. We cannot think or reason our way there anymore than the thought of water can quench our thirst or the idea of love can substitute for direct personal experience of being loved. No theory, no creed, no dogma, no degree of intellectual understanding, no amount of education of the mind can bridge the gap within us any more than a thimble is capable of containing the oceans. The best these things can do is lead us to the shoreline. God has not cursed us with the capacity to think by accident. But only the divine assistance of God’s good Grace and the Lord’s Love can bring us home to that Love of God we truly are. Thought is the servant, not the master, as we are the servants, not the Master of God’s Love.” In his final days, Pauli spoke reverently and lovingly of Miz Dixie. He had no survivors except for friends and the Friends in Brooklyn Meeting and Austin Meeting.

Boyce—Llewellyn Ezra Boyce, 67, on December 26, 2013. Lew was born on May 14, 1946, in New York City, the third child of Kathryn and Felix Boyce. His mother died soon after his birth, and he was left with developmental disabilities. He grew up in Brooklyn and became a Quaker when his family joined Brooklyn Meeting in 1961. From childhood, he knew dozens of hymns and songs and could sing all their verses by heart. He read music, played the guitar, and liked to use an occasional phrase in German or French (his father spoke five languages). Although he gradually accepted that he would never achieve high-school equivalency, for 25 years he worked as a messenger and clerical aide at New York University, and he met his responsibilities and managed chronic health problems, living in an apartment building that had a counselor and referrals to specialized help. He was active in the special needs resource and social center at Young Adult Institute, traveling to conferences and sharing information. Memorizing the transportation system, he traveled all over the city by subway and bus, both on his regular commute and to visit friends or attend events in remote areas. In his 60s, greatly slowed by arthritis and other problems, he relied on a cane and the Transit Authority buses for the disabled. He kept up-to-date on accommodations for the disabled, often advising others of the services and rules. In worship, he was sometimes led to read aloud from the Bible at the facing bench or to sing an old hymn or spiritual. With disabled friends on backup instruments, he performed seasonal and original songs at many Christmas Tree Festivals. He worked with Luncheon and Supper Committee and served many years on Flower Committee, meticulously providing receipts for the flowers he bought. He remembered birthdays and sent cards and gifts such as exacting handmade geometric polyhedrons whose names he was happy to teach people. The owners of many dodecahedrons and quasi-regular polyhedrons value their keepsakes even if they have forgotten what to call them. Lew strove all his life to master appropriate professional and social behavior, learning with the advice of confidants to comply gracefully if someone asked him not to telephone, persist in a habit, or prolong a conversation. He liked women, finding early on that an appropriate compliment was telling a woman that her hair was lovely, and he said that to some women weekly for many years. He gave his most generous and thoughtful attention to a woman more disabled than he, Lillian Ruchinsky, keeping his distance when she asked, and glowing with joy when she resumed seeing him. Some Friends gave him guidance, such as the right times for his generous hugs, but others felt less patience or ability to befriend him. Although Friends were supportive in many ways, sometimes they misunderstood his strengths and limitations or felt discomfort with his differences and mannerisms, which hurt his feelings. While he readily accepted his actual limitations, he was disappointed when he was unnecessarily excluded from volunteering. Patiently carrying burdens that people might assume would ruin a life, he took strength in his familiar parting line, “As we walk in the Light, God will guide us all the way.” His family cared for him steadfastly when a stroke left him unable to communicate beyond occasional basic gestures, and confined him permanently to a hospital and nursing care. With him on Christmas Day 2013, they sang the carols of the joyous season that he had loved to sing all his life. His father; stepmother; and brother, Henry Boyce, predeceased him. His sister, half-brother, and each of their children and grandchildren survive him.

Conklin—Robert Conklin, 91, on December 30, 2013, in Sandy Spring, Md. Bob was born on August 13, 1922, in Bridgeport, Conn., the youngest of nine children. Loving music from childhood, he played Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven while his father, working in his basement shop, banged on the ceiling with a broom handle in appreciation. Bob graduated with a degree in economics from Miami University in Ohio. After the war he went to France, and while he was studying at the Sorbonne, he met Phyllis Lee Pitroff, who was working in Paris with the Marshall Plan. Three months later, they married in a civil service, conducted in Parisian French that was spoken so fast that although they were both fairly fluent, they knew only to say oui! whenever there was a pause. They moved to Richmond, Va., where he managed Kelly Services. Their home was a haven for forward-thinking, anti-war, intellectual souls, filled with music, games, oil painting, furniture-making, bonsai, astronomy, cooking, acting, gardening, and poetry. He became a Quaker in 1968 when he joined Richmond (Va.) Meeting, serving on Ministry and Worship Committee. In 1979, he retired, and he and Phyllis bought a 40-acre farm near Ashland, Va., to form an intentional community. Six families live there, owning their homes separately but sharing and cooperating in many aspects of life. At Bob’s suggestion and following the tradition of the Bruderhof community in Germany, the community adopted a minute called the No Gossip Rule: “We aspire to speak of others without malice or self-serving interest and to speak directly and lovingly with each other about concerns.” This simple guideline has helped to maintain trust, friendship, and stability in the community, which although it abandoned some experiments, still has community dinner every Sunday, monthly business meetings, twice-yearly retreats, road workdays to fill potholes, a mowing and trimming schedule, and holiday traditions. Phyllis died at home soon after the community began, but Ashland Vineyard Community is a still-thriving intentional community, with children who grew into young adults now out of the nest forming couples and families of their own. Bob was a founding member of Ashland Worship Group, and he was clerk of Richmond Meeting in the 1980s. He grabbed onto new interests, read deeply, and threw himself into every project. Never having been a farmer, he attended a regional grape growers’ meeting; acquired grape roots, a small tractor, and a sprayer; pounded in metal stakes; strung hundreds of feet of wire for trellises; and cultivated grapes for sale to local grocery stores and amateur wine-makers. Known for his hearty roar of a laugh, he wrote poetry, trained blackberry vines, grafted new grape varieties onto the hardiest root stock, made his wood-heated house more energy efficient, read the Encyclopedia Britannica straight through, wrote his own theology, and identified birds by their calls. At 81, he moved to Friends House Retirement Community in Sandy Spring, Md. On his moving-in day, he met Millie Bender, also moving in that day; she became his beloved friend, his “winter love.” They had several sweet years together before his dementia and Millie’s health separated them. At Friends House, he studied poetry and mysticism, worked on his memoirs and family history, played his piano daily, and helped out in the nursing home. Bob is survived by four children, Jeff Conklin, Celeste Epstein, Spencer Conklin, and Peter Conklin; four grandchildren; and the members of the Ashland Vineyard Community, who are now three generations who loved Bob.

Gastil—Russell Gordon Gastil, 84, on September 29, 2012, at home in La Mesa, Calif., in the loving company of his wife, his children, one of his grandchildren, and three of his long-time geology colleagues. Gordon was born on June 25, 1928, in San Diego, Calif. The family lived in Encanto, Calif., when he was a child, and moved to Alpine, Calif., when he was in high school. From his early childhood, he wrote poetry and stories. He attended Grossmont High School, participating in debate, and enrolled in San Diego State University, but transferred to University of California, Berkeley, earning a doctorate in geology in 1953. After two years with the U.S. Army Map Service, he worked in petroleum geology and then in iron exploration in Canada. He married Emily Janet Manly in 1958. He and Janet both expressed their lifelong concern for peace and social justice as Quakers, beginning as attenders in 1961. In 1966, Gordon designed and built the family home in La Mesa. He taught geology at San Diego State University and was an active field geologist. Together with students and colleagues, he mapped thousands of square kilometers in Arizona, California, and Mexico, including Baja California. He and Janet became members of San Diego (Calif.) Meeting when it was formed in 1973. He continued to work in geology and politics throughout his life, running unsuccessfully for Congress in 1976 and managing Janet’s successful campaign for the La Mesa-Spring Valley School Board in 1977. He often took family members with him on geology field trips, usually to Baja California and other parts of Mexico. His insatiable curiosity and geological insight served as a model for hundreds of San Diego State University students who learned the art of geologic mapping during his five decades of teaching. After he and Janet traveled much of the world, they collaborated on the book Follow the Sun, a work of historical fiction that traces the path of an imaginary ancient traveler who circumnavigated the globe. They wrote much of it in Julian, Calif., where they helped maintain an orchard and enjoyed the company of their many friends there. Gordon was awarded the prestigious Dibblee Medal in 2002 for his extraordinary accomplishments in field geology and geological mapping. He spent his last days listening to his family share stories; read his poems aloud; sing selections from his Tremble Clefs songbook; and reminisce about their shared lives together in San Diego, on family vacations, and on geologic field trips. Gordon is survived by his wife, Janet Manly Gastil; four children, Garth Gastil, Mary Gastil-Buhl, George Gastil, and John Gastil; and three grandchildren.

Jacobs—Ruth Harriet Miller Jacobs, 88, on September 5, 2013, in Cambridge, Mass. Ruth was born on November 16, 1924, in Boston, Mass., to Jane Gordon and Sam Miller. Her mother died when she was ten, and she went to live with her grandparents. At 17, she was hired as a copy girl at the Boston Traveler and soon promoted to reporter. Assigned to interview soldiers returning from World War II, she met fit young soldiers who walked off the ship, kissing her because she was the first American girl they saw. But she also met soldiers carried off the ship on stretchers, and she rode with them on their hospital trains. They told her how they had fought, how they had received their wounds, and how they were haunted by the faces of the people they had killed. Although she didn’t become a Quaker until much later, this experience began a leading towards pacifism and universalism. She and Neal Jacobs married in 1948. Returning to college when her children started school, she earned a doctorate in sociology from Brandeis University in her 40s. She and Neal divorced in 1976. A researcher at the Wellesley Centers for Women for 20 years, she taught gerontology and advocated for seniors, writing the books Be an Outrageous Older Woman and The ABCs of Aging. She also taught the sociology of war, how soldiers are shaped to hate the enemy. She worked with Elise Boulding and other Friends in protests against the Vietnam War and eventually joined Wellesley (Mass.) Meeting at 60, serving on the Peace Committee and the Social Concerns Committee and taking part in the Bible Exploration Group, Tuesday night Women’s Group, and women’s retreats. During the Gulf War, she placed ads requesting anti-war poems and chose 300 from the 3,000 responses for her book We Speak for Peace. Ruth had had an experience of the presence of God that left her profoundly moved. Believing that the Inner Light is in everyone, she considered herself no less a Jew for having become a Quaker. Her vocal ministry was moving and spirited. Smart, funny, prodigiously kind, strong-minded, fearless, determined, and sometimes peppery, she did not hesitate to raise a difficult subject to engage and try to persuade others. Her battered car was plastered with bumper stickers offering a wide range of admonitions, and she often wore a dozen or more political or social cause buttons at once. Troubled by recent divisions among Friends in the meeting and in the wider Quaker world, she didn’t allow her strong opinions and readiness to dissent from orthodoxy to estrange her from Friends with differing views. In her final years, she was a part of both Wellesley Meeting and the Independent Quaker Worship Group of Greater Boston. Ruth was much loved, greatly appreciated, hard to miss, and impossible to forget. She faced sorrows in her life, including the loss of her young son, Aaron. She grieved over her losses, but whenever possible she met trouble with action. She often said that others had helped her, and she meant to pay it forward. At her memorial service, people rose one after another to speak of encouragement from her at critical times. Asked in an interview at 83 what comment she would like to leave for others to hear in the future, she had said, “Do what you can to work for peace.” Ruth is survived by two children, Edith Jacobs and Eli Jacobs.

Mayes—Jeannie Mayes, 72, on May 27, 2013, in Tijuana, Mexico, in her sleep. Jeannie was born on April 11, 1941, in Detroit, Mich., and lived for many years in Urbana-Champaign, Ill., joining Urbana-Champaign Meeting in 1966. Imaginative and creative, she liked to attend sewing parties where she would make outfits such as a dancing costume from a pink-and-red India print bedspread. She was an avid contradancer, traveling to the United Kingdom with a group to perform international folk dances. When applesauce from apples in her backyard became unsealed and began to ferment, she brought hard cider apple crisp to potluck. As an activist, she set up a sprout farm on the site of a nuclear reactor; did guerrilla theatre with United Mine Workers in a McDonalds, mopping floors and singing protest songs; chained herself to a nuclear reactor; and spilled pig’s blood on the front stairs of a government building in Springfield, Ill. She earned a master’s in psychology from Eastern Illinois University and began private practice in Seattle in the early 80s. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987, she underwent the surgery and radiation of the medical-industrial complex, but she dealt with several recurrences using alternative treatments, including all-raw foods and wheat grass juice. Jeannie moved to Santa Fe, N.M., in 1990, sojourning in Santa Fe Meeting. She maintained the meeting’s Olive Rush garden and connected with the spirits of the plant world, creating gardens, planting trees, collecting seeds, and starting plants and giving them away. She led nonviolent training sessions and founded Nuclear Free Nation, stringing hundreds of petitions on black string to form a long winding queue around and through the aisles of the hearing room for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant that eventually opened near Carlsbad to bury the hazardous waste from Los Alamos. Sharing teaching from the Course in Miracles and the Essene Gospel of Peace, Jeannie was Resident Friend until 2003, when she and her husband, Richie DiCapua, bought an organic farm and began traveling around the country to sell arts and crafts at fairs and festivals under the name Celtic Dragon. They moved to Costa Rica in 2009, continuing their interest in organic farming and the healing arts, and Jeannie painted, made pottery, and did crafts. She enjoyed country and western music, swing dancing, song circles, and flute playing. Children were drawn to her, and she kept in touch with people both in person, with Quaker meeting, women’s circles, song circles, and dances, and from a distance, with hand-drawn cards, letters, phone calls, and emails. She loved wild places. Throughout the Americas, she communed with nature, hiking up mountains and along rivers and seacoasts. Known in Santa Fe Meeting as Jean Mayes, in 2012 she returned to her childhood name because she found “Jeannie” more playful and affectionate. Friends will remember Jeannie’s love, joy, creativity, integrity, generosity, bright smile, contagious enthusiasm, playfulness, and celebration of life. When her heart was failing while she was in Tijuana for treatment, she managed to type a single line: “I love and appreciate all that you are. When God joins with me I may lose you.” She leaves behind her husband, Richie DiCapua; two children, Heather Greenberg and Mickey Greenberg; six grandchildren; a great-grandson; and many dear friends and relatives.

Murphy—Emmett Jefferson Murphy, 86, on June 19, 2013, in Sarasota, Fla. Pat, as he was known, was born on July 2, 1926, in Thomasville, Ga. Graduating from high school in Lake City, Fla., he served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1946. He graduated in 1948 from Emory University with a bachelor’s in sociology and earned a master’s in 1949. For a year, he taught at the nonwhite University College of Fort Hare in South Africa before being expelled from South Africa for “undesirable behavior,” including dancing with black girls at college dances, speaking against apartheid in college lectures, and joining the African National Congress. Pat’s first marriage (1950–1956) ended in divorce. He worked for the African American Institute in Washington, D.C.; Accra, Ghana; and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He and Mildred Blackmon married in 1957, and their first two children were born in Ghana. After studying for his doctorate at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Chicago, he completed a doctorate degree in education and anthropology at University of Connecticut in 1973. A consultant on African and international programs at the Carnegie Corporation in New York, Pat wrote five books on Africa. In 1975–87, he was Five College coordinator for Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He and Mildred divorced in 1980, and he married Winifred WindRiver (known as Freddie) around 1989. In 1991, he retired from Smith as Five College professor of African studies. Early in retirement, work with Frances Crowe in the Northampton, Mass., office of American Friends Service Committee gave him an opportunity to meet Bayard Rustin. In addition to his work, Pat enjoyed sailing extensively in the Caribbean, a love he passed on to his children. He took a course as a retirement project at Shelter Institute in Bath, Maine, and with Freddie worked six months of each year in 1992–1996 to design and build their house in Shutesbury, Mass. He began attending Mount Toby Meeting in Leverett, Mass., and Northampton (Mass.) Meeting, joining Northampton Meeting in 1995. He transferred his membership in 2000 to Jacksonville (Fla.) Meeting and in 2004 to Sarasota Meeting, where he was a cherished elder and leader, writing articles for the newsletter on Quakerism, Martin Luther King Jr., Egypt, Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), interfaith solidarity, Muslims, and mosques, and he connected with Muslim neighbors and represented the meeting on the Sarasota interfaith council. He joined Progressive Secretary and wrote letters to government officials about the environment, peace, and justice. He was a leader in the Southwest Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice and the Sustainable Living Center of North Florida. He supported more than 30 other state, national, and international organizations, including the CIW, Veterans for Peace, and Florida Veterans for Common Sense. In 2008, he and Freddie moved to Bradenton, Fla. They demonstrated weekly for CIW and against war and other injustices in downtown Sarasota, in spite of Pat’s age-related reliance on a wheelchair. Supporting young people like those in the Occupy movement, he demonstrated against poverty and a hawkish foreign policy and worked to end prejudice, discrimination, sexism, collective greed, and rampant consumerism. Friends frequently sought his advice on tough issues and valued his thoughtful responses. Several Sarasota Friends said that coming to know Pat influenced them to continue to attend meeting. His intellectual energy and ability to articulate complex matters at his advanced age astonished all who knew him. Pat expressed his hope for Sarasota Meeting in his September 2011 newsletter article “Quakers and Activism: A Vision,” when he urged the meeting to embrace activism because “‘that of God in everyone’ implies a responsibility for Friends to advocate all enjoying a life free from want, from oppression, from hatred, from lack of education, from lack of good health care.” Pat is survived by his wife, Winifred WindRiver; three children, Therese Murphy, Kathleen Murphy DeGrenier (Steve), and Emmett J. Murphy III; three step-children, David Willoughby (Heidi), Mark Willoughby, and Barbara Willoughby; two grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Sollohub—Curtis John Sollohub, 66, on December 23, 2013, at home near Las Vegas, N.M., from cancer, surrounded by family and friends. Curtis was born on June 1, 1947, in El Paso, Tex., to Josephine Forman and Raymond John Sollohub. At 18, he entered a Catholic seminary. During vacations, he visited his family in Istanbul, leading to a formative year-and-a-day hitchhiking journey of discovery and self-discovery from Turkey through Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, which ignited a lasting interest in the Islamic world. He asked to be released from his vows just months before his scheduled ordination as a priest. He earned a master’s in counseling psychology from California State University, Hayward, and a master’s in computer science from San Francisco State University. He taught high school in Oakland, Calif., where he married Ishwari Immel in 1981. In 1987, the family moved to Las Vegas, N.M., and he joined the Computer Science Department of New Mexico Highlands University, eventually becoming a tenured professor. He helped to establish the Highlands Media Arts program and to form a faculty union, serving as its president. He spent a sabbatical year teaching in the United Arab Emirates, and made several visits to Palestine, including once to teach computer science to women. Soon after arriving in Las Vegas, he became a Quaker, joining Santa Fe Meeting. For the rest of his life he was clerk of Las Vegas Worship Group. He worked with the Las Vegas Committee for Peace and Justice, the Las Vegas Center for Peace and Justice, Community Peace Radio, and Amnesty International. He served a term as New Mexico representative to the general committee of Friends Committee on National Legislation. His greatest commitments were to Habitat for Humanity and to preserving water rights in northern New Mexico. He was president of the Acequia Madre de Los Vigiles and vice president of the Rio de Las Gallinas Acequia Association, negotiating water rights with the city of Las Vegas. He was president of the local Habitat for Humanity when he died. An introspective thinker, he also loved to have fun, often with a slightly mischievous sense of humor. He enjoyed cycling, hiking, skiing, back-country camping, and taking long road trips to visit his daughters. In the years before his death, he worked on a book based on conversations with people in the West Bank and Gaza about their lives under Israeli occupation. He helped with Junior Yearly Meeting campouts and organized a session on immigration for Intermountain Yearly Meeting. After he retired, his email signature had the words “Presently doing what I can for peace and justice around the world” after his name. In 2011, after having lived alone for a long time following a divorce from Ishwari, he met Martha McCabe, a writer and retired lawyer. They shared many interests and spent much time together, especially after the diagnosis of his cancer in May 2013. They were married at his home, after the manner of Friends, the day before his death. He was both caring and careful, insisting on analysis of actions to ensure they would meet worthwhile goals. Friends celebrated his life with testimonies to his dedication, intellectual rigor, commitment to social justice, and accomplishments. Curtis is survived by his first wife, Ishwari Sollohub; two daughters, Tekla Currie and Sierra Sollohub; his wife, Martha McCabe; three grandchildren; and three sisters, Jody Wilbert, Deborah Sollohub, and Cathy Sollohub.

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