Pat Habicht

Habicht—Pat Habicht, 90, on July 10, 2023, utilizing the New Mexico End-of-Life Options Act in Taos, N.M. She was a pioneer until the end, choosing the place, time, and method to die.

Pat was born on April 28, 1933, to Hugh and Rene Hinxman in London, England. She loved to travel, and enjoyed learning about other cultures and making lifelong friends. After training as a physical education teacher in England and teaching there, she traveled by ship to Canada where she learned from a fellow passenger about Quakers. She taught in Montreal before traveling to Western Canada, then south through the United States and onto Mexico City, Mexico. She made contact with Casa de los Amigos, a Quaker center for peace and international understanding. She joined an American Friends Service Committee workcamp in the countryside and met Jean-Pierre Habicht while digging latrines in San Salvador el Verde.

Pat and Jean-Pierre married in 1959 in a meetinghouse in Banbury, Oxfordshire, England, where George Fox had once spoken. They had three children: Heidi (born in 1962 in ZĂĽrich, Switzerland), Christopher (1964, Boston, Mass.), and Oliver (1967–2020, Guatemala City, Guatemala). They raised their children in Switzerland, Guatemala, and various places in the United States, attending Quaker meetings wherever they lived, and learning languages and the local culture along the way.

While in Guatemala City, Pat and Jean-Pierre were among a small group of Quakers who started the Progresa Guatemala Friends Scholarship Program, a Quaker organization that supports education for indigenous Guatemalans, in 1973. Later, while living in Reston, Va., Pat started a worship group under the care of the Langley Hills Meeting in McLean, Va.

Pat was an independent person who was not afraid to set new courses in life. After a family life where she saw all the children off to college, she decided to “find Pat” by going off on her own. In 1987, Pat and Jean-Pierre separated (and later divorced), and she moved to New Mexico to start a new chapter. Here she helped build one of the first Earthships (passive solar homes made of natural and upcycled materials) with architect Michael E. Reynolds, and then co-designed and built a second one. She became a contractor and a public relations person for Earthships. She hosted her two English nephews (Quintin and Tristan Hinxman) in the building of Earthships for a summer each—a treasured experience. She later designed her forever house at Plaza de Retiro in Taos, where she spent her last 22 years.

Although Pat never saw herself as an artist, she created artworks in multiple media, including paper, paint, wood, pottery, and textiles. She also gave back to people by volunteering at Community Against Violence during its early years and at Taos Hospice (for ten years each) and through her work with Progresa granting scholarships to indigenous Guatemalans.

Pat attended all of her grandchildren’s births: Elizabeth, Peter, Karen, and Cadence. She enjoyed visiting her children’s families whether in New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Alaska, or some faraway vacation spot. She visited 52 countries in her adventure-filled life.

Pat was a member of Santa Fe (N.M.) Meeting and an attender of the Clearlight Worship Group in Taos.

Pat was predeceased by a son, Oliver Habicht; and a brother, Gerald Hinxman.

She is survived by two children, Christopher Habicht (Penny Crane) and Heidi Habicht Peterson (Randal Rockney); a daughter-in-law, Amelia Bischoff Habicht; and four grandchildren.

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