Milestones March 2014


Holden—Martha Candlen Holden, 95, on October 18, 2013, in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., surrounded by her family. Martha was born on November 4, 1917, in Cartersville, Ga. She graduated from Brenau College and taught music in the Chickamauga, Tenn., school system before meeting and marrying James Holden in 1942. Following World War II, she and James moved north, living first in White Plains, N.Y., and in Dutchess County, before settling in Pleasantville, N.Y., in 1952. She and James were members of Chappaqua (N.Y.) Meeting. James was instrumental in the uniting of the Orthodox and Hicksite Meetings in Chappaqua (around 1960), and Martha helped in the forming of a prayer group that met regularly at Chappaqua’s historic meetinghouse on Quaker Road. She also enriched the social aspect of the meeting with her wonderful southern recipes, which she generously shared with many Friends. After James died in 1991, she moved to Kendal on Hudson, in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. Martha had an unusual ability to talk with just about anyone. She put people at ease and extended her hospitality and interest in people to both regular and new attenders of the meeting. Her love of music and art enriched the lives of all of who knew her, and she particularly enjoyed art museums. Travel being one of her passions, she visited six continents. Friends will miss her gentle southern ways and her love of people. One of Martha’s children, Charles Holden, passed away in 1988. She is survived by three children, James Holden Jr., Samuel C. Holden, and Martha H. Rendeiro; and seven grandchildren, to whom she was a loving grandmother.

Marchant—Peter Lawrence Marchant, 85, on October 26, 2013, in Fayetteville, Ark. Peter was born on May 14, 1928, in London, England, to Esther and Robert Marchant. His life of teaching and listening began at age 18, when he joined the British Army and was assigned to the Royal Army Education Corps. After graduating from the University of Cambridge, he taught English in Vancouver, B.C., for a year. He met his future wife, Arkansas novelist Mary Elsie Robertson, at University of Iowa, where he earned a doctorate degree. After publishing his thesis novel, Give Me Your Answer Do, he specialized in the nineteenth-century British novel, teaching at Pennsylvania State University and State University of New York in Brockport, where he received the Excellence in Teaching Award. Culturally, Peter was Jewish, but during the Vietnam War he was active in the peace movement and joined the Religious Society of Friends in the 1970s. He was passionate about reading and loved improvisational drama, animals, movies, classical music, dancing, and feeding others. He especially appreciated good food, and he excelled at ping-pong and Scrabble and earned a black belt in Judo while in Brockport. Peter’s family would agree, however, that he was both a bad winner and a bad loser. He could not resist crowing over a win or pouting over a loss. As a teacher and listener, Peter’s mantra was “Tell me more.” Peter could foster the trust that allows others to open up and share their stories. Writing about her experience in his memoir-writing workshop, artist Shelly Buonaiuto said that Peter made each student feel like his favorite. “We each . . . gather the appreciation, the love, in a basket. We offer it to Peter,” she wrote. Mary Elsie says that he never met anyone whose story he didn’t want to hear and that he could learn a person’s life story in an hour on an airplane flight. To Holocaust survivors, he extended this open ear. Through the course he taught on the literature of the Holocaust and through working with Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Visual History Foundation, he listened to many survivors, helping several to write their own memoirs. When he and Mary Elsie retired to Winslow, Ark., in 2005, he continued to teach memoir writing in several venues, including Fayetteville (Ark.) Meeting, where he began the class by interviewing each Friend. Patient, encouraging, and gracious, he had a way of revealing the lightness in our lives and the dark moral dilemmas that result from our shortcomings. Although he spent much time and energy exploring the darkness of human actions, he was actually fascinated by the grace and light that could be revealed in the midst of that darkness, a fascination evidenced by the preliminary title of the book he was writing at the time of his stroke: Amazing Grace. Peter is survived by his wife of 52 years, Mary Elsie Robertson Marchant, of whom he said a few weeks before the end, “When she’s here everything makes sense; when she’s gone there’s no more music.” He is also survived by two children, Jennifer Marchant and Piers Marchant (Audrey); one grandchild; a sister, Madeleine Benenson; a sister-in-law, Donna Robertson; two nephews; a niece; several cousins; many friends; and his dogs, Molly and Jessie.

Miles—Frank Vernon Miles, 90, on December 25, 2013, at Kendal at Hanover, N.H. Frank was born on September 16, 1923, in Salem, Ore., the middle son of Laura and Ross Miles, and spent his early years in Hazel Green, Ore. He grew up in the Pacific Coast Association of Friends, one of the forerunners of Pacific Yearly Meeting. After graduating from high school in 1941, he entered the engineering school at Oregon State University, but when the United States entered World War II, he enrolled in Guilford College for training in international relief and reconstruction. When this training was discontinued, he joined Civilian Public Service and cut trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, served as a guinea pig for jaundice experiments at University of Pennsylvania, and worked as an attendant in two psychiatric hospitals. (Frank’s two brothers also served as conscientious objectors during World War II.) After the war, Frank worked in China with the Friends Ambulance Unit. He helped to rebuild three hospitals damaged during the Second Sino-Japanese War and worked as a medical mechanic at the International Peace Hospital in Yenan. Evacuated from the hospital when the Nationalists attacked Yenan, he moved for the next 14 months with his team from village to village, establishing mobile hospitals, often under cover of night. During a time of repeated changes in Nationalist and Communist control, he served in the village of Chung Mou. In 1948, he was chairperson for Friends service groups working in China, and after his term ended, he sought to return home. Eight months later, the U.S. government allowed him to pass the naval blockade of Shanghai, and in 1950, he returned to the United States. He enrolled in Haverford College, where he met Patricia Beatty, who was teaching in a public school in Wilmington, Del., and they married in 1951, spending the next 10 years in the Philadelphia area. Frank earned a bachelor’s in economics and sociology from Haverford in 1952 and worked at Lee Tire and Rubber in Conshohocken, Pa., until 1962. After losing their firstborn, Douglas, to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), he and Pat were blessed with four healthy children. In 1962, he earned a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Villanova University. When Lee Tire was acquired and liquidated, he joined Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, serving in Venezuela; France; Tunisia; and Canada (Quebec and Ontario). Active in Radnor (Pa.) Meeting for several years, he and Pat often held meeting for worship in their home when there were no meetings close by. In 1978, he began work for Firestone Canada, in Hamilton, Ont., and he and Pat transferred their memberships to Hamilton Meeting. After retiring from Firestone in 1982, he served as Canadian Yearly Meeting’s general secretary and treasurer until 1989. When he retired for the second time, he and Pat moved next door to their son Dan’s family in Kaslo, B.C., joining Argenta Meeting. In 2000, they moved to New Hampshire, living for two and a half years with their daughter Cathy’s family at Brock Farm in Pierpont, N.H., where Frank helped with farm projects, volunteered at the Piermont Library, enjoyed the ephemeral spring wildflowers, and explored the surrounding hills by bicycle and on foot. He served on the Building Committee as a member of Hanover Meeting. Later, at Kendal at Hanover, where they moved in 2003, he sang with the Bach Study Group and the Kendal Chorale and worshiped with the Kendal Worship Group. He generously supported those in their advancing years who had been robbed of independence—and grew with grace into his own time of increased dependence on the help of others. He carried himself in an unassuming way that didn’t broadcast his lifetime of rich experience in Quakerism and his international work and service, but many knew him for his ready ear for listening, sense of perspective, and warm smile and chuckle. Frank was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia Beatty Miles. He is survived by his children, Stephen Miles (Ingrid), Rebecca Miles (Ward Broderson), Dan Miles (Shelley Stickel Miles), and Catherine Miles Grant (Charles); his brothers, Ward Miles and Rodney Miles, and their extended families; and eight grandchildren. A memorial service in the manner of Friends will be held on Saturday, April 19, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. at Kendal at Hanover, N.H., under the care of Hanover Meeting. In the summer, Frank’s ashes will be buried next to Patricia’s in a memorial garden near Argenta Meeting. In lieu of flowers, Frank’s family asks you to please consider making a contribution in his memory to a charity of your choice.

Van Breemen—Eileen Barbara “Pat” van Breemen, 88, on January 6, 2013, at her home in Salisbury, Md. Pat was born on December 31, 1924, in Iowa City, Iowa, the youngest of two children of Leona Fisher and Dr. Henry M. Hines. She received a bachelor’s in zoology from University of Iowa and a master’s in zoology from Mount Holyoke College. Pat married Verne L. van Breemen in 1948. (They would later divorce.) Before settling in Salisbury, Md., in 1966, the growing family lived in Iowa; California; Denver, Colo.; and San Antonio, Tex. In Denver, Pat was dismayed when the Denver Public Schools failed to accurately diagnose her eldest son’s learning disability; this experience led to a life of support and advocacy for learning-disabled children and their families. Throughout her life, Pat was a spiritual seeker. She first became attracted to the Religious Society of Friends after becoming aware of the work of American Friends Service Committee. In Denver, she occasionally attended Mountain View Meeting. In San Antonio, which did not have a Quaker meeting then (1964–66), she attended a Universalist Unitarian Fellowship. Unable to agree on who to hire as their new minister, the fellowship experimented with Quaker-style silent worship. While in Denver, San Antonio, and Salisbury, Pat volunteered as a precinct worker in the Democratic Party and for the League of Women Voters. At the same time, she expanded her work in political, social, cultural, educational, and environmental causes. But it was her support and advocacy for learning-disabled children and their families that produced her greatest satisfaction. In Salisbury, she was the volunteer coordinator and public relations director for Holly Center, a state facility for the developmentally disabled. Pat was a founder and former member of Wicomico River Meeting in Salisbury. Although Friends had tried more than once to form a Quaker worship group in the area, none survived until a small worship group began to meet in Pat’s home. Encouraged by its growth and the strong backing of Third Haven Meeting in Easton, Md., where Pat was a member, the group achieved its goal to become a monthly meeting, and Wicomico River Meeting was founded. The meeting experienced growing pains, during which a few disagreements arose. Believing her concerns had been ignored, Pat stopped attending and later resigned her membership. After a few years, during which she attended a short-lived worship group in Somerset County, Pat saw an opening to return to worship at Wicomico River Meeting. Her health had begun to decline, and her son Howard had moved back to help her. When she returned to worship at Wicomico River, she was warmly welcome by Friends in attendance. Although she did not rejoin the meeting, she continued to attend worship when able and was in attendance for the opening worship at a new meetinghouse on Dykes Road. She appreciated Friends recognition for her contributions to the meeting’s founding. At her memorial service, those in attendance spoke affectionately of her dedication to her family, to Friends, and to children, especially those with disabilities. Pat was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Howard H. Hines. She is survived by three children, V. Howard van Breemen, Peter A. van Breemen, and Richard B. van Breemen; and four grandchildren.

Welch—George Dale Welch, 89, on January 10, 2014, at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. George was born on November 12, 1924, in Peru, Ind., to Charlotte and Berne Welch. After serving in the army in World War II as a meteorologist, he met the love of his life, Barbara (Bobbie) Ann Brown, whom he married in 1949, when he was a certified public account with a private accounting practice in Miami, Fla. After earning a bachelor’s and master’s in business administration from University of Miami, he earned a doctorate from Indiana University in 1964 and returned to University of Miami as an associate professor of accounting. In 1967, he joined the faculty of the College of Business at Drake University, where he worked to develop the MBA program, which he directed; earned the rank of professor; and served as associate dean of the College of Business. He retired in 1992. He and Bobbie supported Scattergood Friends School and were active in Des Moines Valley Meeting, Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative), and human and civil rights struggles. He was also a patron of the arts, especially the symphony and the opera. George loved animals (especially dogs), children, and sports, particularly when Drake played—go Bulldogs! Most importantly, he loved and was loved by his family. He was preceded in death by his wife, Bobbie, in 1995. He is survived by his children, Dale Ann Watkins (Tony), Robert Berne Welch, Jean Marie Holschlag (Doug), and Ted Bliss Welch; and seven grandchildren. Memorial contributions can be made to Des Moines Valley Meeting (4211 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312); American Friends Service Committee; or Scattergood Friends School (1951 Delta Ave, West Branch, IA 52358).

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