Milestones June/July 2015


BallusJane Ott Ballus, 81, of Winston-Salem, N.C., on February 18, 2015, following a brief illness. Jane was born on June 5, 1933, in Edmond, Okla., to Elizabeth Levering and Charles Nelson Ott. She grew up in Greensboro, N.C., graduated from Guilford College, and worked at Western-Electric Company in Winston-Salem before taking time off to raise a family with her husband, Gus Angelo Ballus. Later, she enjoyed a long career as a reading specialist for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System.

She was a lifelong member of New Garden Meeting in Greensboro, N.C., and took part in Quaker activities nationwide. She served as president of United Society of Friends Women, on the corporate board of American Friends Service Committee, and as a member of Friends Emergency Material Assistance Program and the Helen Binford USFW Circle. She also belonged to philanthropic groups through the Winston-Salem Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, including the Philoptochos Society, the Daughters of Penelope, and the Warm-Up America Knitting Group.

Her favorite activities were traveling the world with her lifelong sidekick Martha Wellons Dentiste, and spending time and sharing meals with her great friend Zana Cranfill. She enjoyed being a wife, mother, grandmother, and aunt, and spending time with family at Levering Orchard near Ararat, Va. Thanks in part to her Quaker upbringing, she welcomed a diverse group of coworkers, fellow worshipers, foreign exchange students, friends met on her travels, and anyone who did not have other close relatives living nearby. She enjoyed listening to their stories.

In addition to her parents, Jane was preceded in death by her husband, Gus Angelo Ballus; and her brother, Richard Ott. She is survived by her children, Tom Ballus (Paige) and Emily Ballus (Lothar Osiander); two grandsons; and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins from the Depperschmidt, Mellos, Ott, Dentiste, and Levering families. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Mary Hobbs Hall Renovation Project, c/o Guilford College Office of Advancement, 5800 West Friendly Ave., Greensboro, NC 27410, or Athena’s Run, Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center Foundation, 3333 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27103. Online condolences may be made at


CollierElizabeth Brick Collier, 94, on January 22, 2015, at home in Chesterfield Township, N.J. Bettie was born on May 21, 1920, in Crosswicks, N.J., to Clara and Arthur R. Brick, and spent her life in the Crosswicks and Chesterfield area. She graduated from George School and earned a bachelor’s from Connecticut College. With her husband, G. William Collier, she established the G. William Collier Agency in Robbinsville, N.J., and was active with the company for over 50 years.

Bettie was a member of Crosswicks Meeting, serving as treasurer for many years and also serving on the George School Committee. She enjoyed her life on the Chesterfield Township farm and spending the summers in Harvey Cedars, N.J. She played tennis and bridge avidly. She was devoted to her family and friends, had a genuine affection for all people, and touched and inspired the lives of many, who will miss her.

Bettie was predeceased by her husband of 66 years, G. William Collier, and two brothers, Kenneth Brick and Robert Brick. She is survived by two sons, William S. Collier (Fran) and John P. Collier; four grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; and a sister, Margaret Robjent.


FongAnne Curtiss Fong, 83, on December 28, 2014, in Kailua, Hawaii. Anne was born on January 9, 1930, in Buffalo, N.Y., to Edna Sutter and John Shelton Curtiss, a scholar of Russian history and interacted with the Soviet Union for the U.S. government during World War II. During her childhood and young adulthood, she sailed on the Hudson River and off Long Island and became quite accomplished as a sailor. She earned a bachelor’s from Barnard College in 1951, married Merwin Fong in 1954 in New York, and moved to Hawaiʻi in 1956. The academic world was important in her life for many years. After she and Merwin divorced in 1968, she raised their children, worked, and earned a master’s in 1970 from University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and a doctorate in French literature from Duke University in 1974.

Her politically progressive parents had given her a sense of justice and a concern for women’s rights that came especially from her mother, and living in the South raised her awareness of work needed toward better race relations. She began attending Quaker meeting in North Carolina and attended Honolulu Meeting when she returned with her children to Honolulu, joining in 1977. Over the years, she held nearly all responsible positions in the meeting. Always happy to lend assistance where it was needed, she had little patience for those who claimed lack of time to help, reminding them that she had served on committees at her North Carolina meeting even while working, raising three kids, and earning a PhD.

She began a long period of farming when she moved from Nuʻuanu to a farm lot in Waimānalo. Later she sold that lot and bought another on the Hāmākua coast of Hawaiʻi island, where she raised dairy goats. Retiring from that work, she resettled on Oʻahu in Kailua. A translator, teacher, nurse, medical transcriptionist, mother, grandmother, farmer, and leader, Anne was alert and insightful to the end. She was noted for her humility; she did not flaunt her many accomplishments and careers. She cared for family, friends, people, and her meeting and was always grateful for her blessings. She is survived by her children, Loki Feliciano, Peter Fong, and Mary Frasier; four grandchildren; a brother, John Curtiss (Lynne); two nieces; and two nephews.


HavilandPeter Robbins Haviland, 83, peacefully, on November 15, 2013, at home in Rockland, Maine, with his wife and children at his side. Pete was born on September 6, 1930, in Pittsburgh, Pa., the first child of Frances Larimer Miller and Harris Goddard Haviland. He attended Friends Select School in Philadelphia and Haverford College, graduating with a bachelor’s in English in 1952, and married Deborah Wisner Phillips in 1954.

A conscientious objector during the Korean War, his alternative service as an orderly in a New Hampshire hospital opened his eyes to the possibility of a new career and led to a master’s in hospital administration in 1957 from University of Minnesota. After seven years in the Midwest, he and Deborah moved to Summit, N.J., where they raised their four children. He worked for many years at United Hospitals in Newark, N.J., eventually becoming executive director.

Enjoying work with his hands, in 1977 he changed to the business of carpentry and home repairs, using his talents as a craftsman, engineer, and builder, and later renovating an 1850 saltwater farmhouse on the Maine coast in Cushing, Maine, where the family moved in 1987. A pacifist and humanitarian whose Quaker roots were a cornerstone for his life, he served Summit Meeting in Chatham Township, N.J., and Midcoast Meeting in Damariscotta, Maine, as clerk, recording clerk, committee clerk, and respected elder. He was also clerk of works for two new meetinghouses.

In his community, he served ten years in Cushing on the local school board and four years as a selectman. He made his voice heard on social and political issues, participating in peaceful antiwar and human rights demonstrations.

His love of words and language was a trademark. He delighted in discussing a favorite author or book, eliciting input on his favorite Double Acrostics, and delivering a play on words with a twinkle in his eye. He was a keen observer of human nature, exerting a quiet influence. Appreciating the natural world and the water, he took his family on camping, canoeing, and hiking vacations. He was a skilled outdoorsman and sailor, spending many hours on his 22-foot yawl Curlew.

After 25 years in Cushing, his declining health caused him to move to a small retirement community in nearby Rockland, Maine, but he kept his good spirits and sense of humor and continued to sail until two years before he died, the last summer with oxygen on board. He loved life and wanted to continue to be a part of God’s world. Near the end, when he was bedridden, he once said, smiling, “Isn’t this a wonderful life!” And he meant it.

Pete is survived by his wife, Deborah Wisner Haviland; four children, Rebecca Dinces (Nathan), Sarah Haviland (Jonathan Blunk), Andrew Haviland (Holly), and Matthew Haviland (Lynn); seven grandchildren; a great-grandson; and a sister, Lydia Winkler.


PalmerStuart Mervin Palmer, 91, on October 28, 2014, at Medford Leas, near Willingboro, N.J. Stuart was born on August 23, 1923, to Esther Allen and C. Mervin Palmer. He attended George School, where he met his future wife, Martha Reeder. A conscientious objector during World War II, he did milk testing for alternative service, and he and Martha married in 1946. His interest in farming having been encouraged by his alternative service, he took over management of Bellevue Farm, the Reeder family farm, near Columbus, N.J.

After several years, his interest in biology and science led to a 20-year career at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, where he worked in the education department as part of the Traveling Science Show, which served greater Philadelphia area schools with programs on topics such as liquid air and electricity.

He was a member of Crosswicks Meeting in Fieldsboro, N.J. Warm, generous, and likable, Stuart had a great interest in railroads, trains, and trolleys, volunteering his services as conductor at farm fairs and festivals around the country. Stuart is survived by his wife, Martha Reeder.


SandbergSusan Loeb Sandberg, 97, on November 26, 2014, one day before her 98th birthday, in Doylestown, Pa. Susan was born on Nov. 27, 1916, in New York City, to Marjorie Content and Harold Loeb. She attended University of Chicago and received a bachelor’s from University of California. Developing an early interest in modern dance when she worked with modern dancers at summer camp, she later joined the Marian Van Tuyl dance troupe at Mills College in California and kept this interest her whole life.

She began work as a secretary with the Army Transport Service on the Pier in San Francisco just after Pearl Harbor and later worked at Camp Pocono and at Burpee Seeds in Doylestown.

Susan became a member of Wrightstown Meeting in Newtown, Pa., and was active in the meeting for the rest of her life. She also volunteered at Peace Valley and had a lifelong interest in children and their education, helping to start Wrightstown Nursery School and serving as treasurer and on the board.

Her many interests included her family, reading, knitting, dogs, dance, cooking, and traveling. Susan is survived by four children, Marian Sandberg, Michael Sandberg, Eric Sandberg, and Keith Sandberg; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren, with a third on the way.


ThiermannStephen Thiermann, 98, on March 19, 2015, in State College, Pa. Stephen was born on December 30, 1916, in Milwaukee, Wis., and graduated from Haverford College and University of Wisconsin Law School. He served as director of Quaker Conferences and Seminars for diplomats in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1968 to 1972 and directed American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) International Affairs Division from 1972 to 1978, receiving the Haverford Award in 1975 for his contributions to international reconciliation and disarmament.

As UN Quaker Representative during the early 1980s, he helped create the National Committee on U.S.-China relations, a public interest agency that helped lay the groundwork for an official United States rapprochement with China. Also at the UN, he served as chair of the Non-Governmental Committee on Human Rights, encouraging forthright exchanges at privately hosted off-the-record gatherings for diplomats from contentions nations.

Serving AFSC for 35 years, 20 of them as the director of the San Francisco office, Stephen wrote three books: Welcome to the World (1968), a history of AFSC’s groundbreaking work in California on the frontiers of social change; Across the Divide: Peacemaking in a Time of Cold War, chronicling Quaker international efforts to end Cold War rivalries; and Always Loving, a memoir describing the childhood, marriage, and spiritual life of his wife, Mildred Hunter, including her service as admissions secretary for Quaker research and retreat center Pendle Hill.

He lived happily in State College for the past 25 years and was a member of State College Meeting. He had been a member of Swarthmore (Pa.) Meeting; Milwaukee (Wis.) Meeting, which he and his mother helped start; Palo Alto (Calif.) Meeting; and Geneva (Switzerland) Meeting.

Stephen was predeceased by his wife, Mildred Hunter Thiermann. He is survived by four children, Susan Giddings, Jennifer Sheridan, Emily Doub, and Carl Thiermann; seven grandsons; and one great-grandson. Contributions in his memory may be made to American Friends Service Committee, Pendle Hill study center, or American Civil Liberties Union.

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