Rebecca Broomell Gatchell McIlvain

McIlvain—Rebecca Broomell Gatchell McIlvain, 103, on December 29, 2021, peacefully at Foxdale Village, a Quaker retirement community in State College, Pa., where she had made her home since 2006. Becky was born on June 18, 1918. She grew up on a dairy farm in Peach Bottom, Lancaster County, Pa.

Becky attended and loved George School, a Friends boarding school in Bucks County, Pa., where she made lifelong friends. She maintained a close connection with the school by serving on the George School Committee (Board) and attending annual reunions as long as she was able. After graduating from George School in 1935, Becky earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. She taught at the Bethlehem Day Nursery in New York City and later at Westfield Friends School in Cinnaminson, N.J.

Becky and William Edward McIlvain were married in 1942. She was a wife, mother, educator, and both a Friend and friend. She enjoyed gardening, knitting, listening to PBS radio and TV, and reading. Becky had a passion for forging and maintaining connections with friends and family by phone and written correspondence. She was loyal to her friends and nurtured those relationships to the end.

Becky’s Quaker heritage was at her core. She was active in Friends meetings in Wakefield, Pa.; New York City; Rancocas, N.J.; Moorestown, N.J.; and Birmingham/West Chester, Pa.

Becky was predeceased by her husband of 62 years, William Edward McIlvain (2004); their son, Jon Edward McIlvain (1945); and her two sisters, Elizabeth Gatchell Naghski and Janet Gatchell Wollaston. Becky is survived by two children, Joan Bradley (John, deceased 2021) and Judith Lewis (Donovan); four grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and ten nieces and nephews.

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