Foss—Roberta Hanser Foss, 85, on April 18, 2023, after a long struggle with cancer, at Medford Leas, a Quaker continuing care retirement community in Medford, N.J. Roberta was born on February 4, 1938, the only child of Robert and Gertrude Hanser, in Edwardsville, Ill. She grew up in Edwardsville.
Roberta graduated from the University of Illinois. She met and married Fritz Levenbach and moved to Japan with him. While there, Roberta learned to speak Japanese and fell in love with the language and culture. She returned to the United States after several years, where she and Fritz divorced. Roberta received a master’s degree in East Asian studies from the University of Michigan, and returned to Japan to work at Expo 1970 world’s fair as a bilingual guide.
Roberta’s first position with American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was in the early 1970s as an international affairs associate in Tokyo. She later moved into the role of Quaker international affairs representative. In 1975, Roberta returned to Philadelphia, Pa., where she soon became the director of East Asia programs for AFSC. There she met Terry Foss. They lived together for several years and married in 1984.
Terry and Roberta shared a love of dogs, the outdoors, and canoeing, spending summers in Maine for more than 40 years. In 1992, Roberta retired from AFSC and pursued her love of painting, producing many beautiful works of art.
Roberta and Terry became members of Chestnut Hill Meeting in Philadelphia on January 8, 1989. Roberta was recorder for the meeting for several years.
In 2014, Roberta and Terry moved to Medford Leas. Roberta enthusiastically jumped into various activities at Medford Leas. They enjoyed canoe rides on the Rancocas Creek that runs through the Medford Leas campus.
Roberta and Terry transferred their memberships to Medford (N.J.) Meeting on September 20, 2015. As a new member of the meeting, Roberta devoted time and energy to committees and activities. Although Terry Foss died in 2016, Roberta carried on with meeting work. She served for four years on the Ministry and Counsel Committee, and her adept guidance as clerk of the Outreach Committee led to the popular annual Plant Swap. After serving as assistant clerk of Medford Meeting, Roberta was named meeting clerk in 2022. She was a skillful clerk, using all her Quaker knowledge and experience, although her illness cut that short in September of that year.
Roberta was predeceased by her spouse, Terry Foss.