Shotwell—Patricia Shotwell, 90, on July 27, 2018, in Weston, Mass. Patsy was born on August 6, 1927, in New York City, and was adopted in infancy by Harriet Anne Parsons and William Morgan Kendall, who lived in Buffalo, N.Y. Although an only child, she had several close cousins whose company she enjoyed and reported a happy childhood and a rich spiritual experience in a large Presbyterian church. She attended Cornell University, served as editor of the Cornell Sun, and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1949. In her junior year she met World War II veteran Stuart Shotwell, and they married. Proving early on that a woman can have her education and a family, she delivered twin girls a week after graduation.
In 1954 she and Stuart moved to Weston, Mass. By then they had two more children, with three additional children to come, so she was a full-time homemaker during these years. Long active in the League of Women Voters and various churches, she found a home for her spirituality and commitment to social justice as a Quaker, joining Wellesley (Mass.) Meeting in 1978. She liked being responsible for contact with the Holy Spirit and her own religious experience. She loved the close-knit Wellesley Friends community and served on several committees, edited memorial minutes, twice served as presiding clerk of the meeting, helped found a vital social and spiritual women’s support group, called the meeting’s attention to the need for childcare training and safety practices, and helped institute Crones and Cronies luncheons for Friends over 80. Her vocal ministry was laced with humor as well as concern for the youngest, most wiggly Quakers. In the inevitable times of discord in the life of the meeting, Friends could count on her to have a grounded understanding stated clearly. Attending the New England Yearly Meeting sessions, she was clerk of Permanent Board and Sessions Committees, served 12 years on Clerks Nominating Committee, and joined and helped facilitate an annual New England Yearly Meeting Women’s Spiritual Retreat.
After her divorce in 1985, she generally lived alone, though she always welcomed the children who came back for periods of time. Meanwhile she earned a degree in communications at Simmons College, which led to a 17-year stint managing elderly housing facility Brook Hill Apartments. After retiring, she delivered Meals on Wheels, managed an elderly Weston resident’s care, ran a Weston Public Library program that takes books to the homebound, served as warden for the town Election Board, and worked with Friends of Weston’s Council on Aging. Her intellect was as great as her spiritual depth.
Many Quakers hope to live in a state of grace, to be so close to God that it appears God is living through them at all times. Few are able to live in this way, but Patsy did. Even when largely shut in, she kept in touch with frequent and welcome handwritten notes. When she stopped driving due to failing eyesight, members vied to give her rides, one person saying, “Who wouldn’t want a half hour alone with Patsy?” Friends remember the twinkle of her blue eyes, her humor, and her steadfast integrity, and feel privileged to have known her, effortlessly spiritual as she walked cheerfully in the Light of God.
Patsy is survived by Stuart M. Shotwell; seven children, Judith Shotwell (Thom Fortson), Jennifer Shotwell, called Jenny, Deborah Shotwell, Peter Shotwell (Mary Dunn), Mary Shotwell, William Shotwell, called Will, and Tricia Concannon (James Concannon).