Wills Passmore

Passmore—Wills Passmore, 88, on October 13, 2015, at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Chester, Pa. Wills was born on August 25, 1927, in Wilmington, Pa., to Dora McKee and Pusey Passmore. A lifelong resident of Delaware, he grew up working on Lynthwaite Farm, his father’s dairy farm on Concord Pike, which produced and delivered milk in the Wilmington area in the 1930s and 1940s and served homemade Lynthwaite Farm ice cream. Wills graduated from Wilmington Friends School in 1945 and would have celebrated his seventieth high school class reunion in late October. In 1953 he married Joanne Ouweneel, and ten years later they bought a farm in New Castle County south of Odessa, Del., also named Lynthwaite Farm, which they operated until her death in 2005. They were instrumental in helping establish agricultural preservation districts in Delaware and permanently preserved Lynthwaite farmlands for agriculture and its forests and marshlands for wildlife.

In 2006, he married Grace Shorts Caulk, a farmer and fellow Grange fraternal organization member from Woodside, Del. Together, they continued to be active in the statewide agricultural community and maintained Lynthwaite’s historic barns and its farmhouse that dated from the early 1800s. Wills was a leader in the 4-H Club, master of the Delaware State Grange in 1980–1986, and trustee of University of Delaware. He served governors’ appointments on the state Farmland Evaluation Advisory Committee in 1995–1998 and 1999–2002, the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Farmland Preservation in 1980, and the Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation.

He attended Appoquinimink Preparatory Meeting in Odessa, which is under the care of Wilmington (Del.) Meeting. He was the heart and anchor of that modest place of worship for many years, helping to preserve its facilities and spiritual community. When an ancient grave in the burial grounds collapsed, Wills, at age 87, with a helper, brought dozens of five-gallon buckets of soil from his farm to fill the sink holes. His stewardship of the land, dedication to a productive life, and unfailing fair-mindedness made his little corner of the world a better place. His family, friends, and community will miss him. He is survived by his wife of nine years, Grace Caulk Passmore; three daughters, Cynthia Passmore Rolfe (Andy), Judith Passmore, and Susan Passmore (Malcolm Bedell); a grandson; two step-granddaughters; and a sister-in-law, Laura Beane. Donations in Wills’s memory can be made to either Appoquinimink Meeting House Fund c/o Wilmington Friends Meeting, 401 N West St, Wilmington DE 19801 (please note for preservation of Appoquinimink Preparatory Meeting in memory of Wills Passmore) or Wilmington Friends School (please note for financial aid or Class of 1945 Fund in memory of Wills Passmore) Alumni/Development Office, 101 School Road, Wilmington, DE 19803.

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