Our long-time, beloved member Sue Wood passed away recently. Her memorial service will be held on October 22. More details will be added here as they become available.
In loving memory of wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, Helen Cornelia Clarkson (Pratt). At the age of 96, on Saturday, July 16, 2022, she passed away peacefully in her beloved home on Flying Point overlooking Casco Bay.
She was born on August 21, 1925 in Somerville, MA, the oldest child of Albert Pratt and Marion Cornelia Pratt (Dwelley). The family moved to Brunswick, ME were she graduated from Brunswick High School in 1942. She then attended Bates College in Lewiston, ME were she graduated in 1946 with a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology. Helen then continued her studies at Washington State University in 1946 where she met her husband, Vernon Albert Clarkson, on the first day of her arrival. She graduated in 1947 with a Master’s degree in sociology. Vernon and Helen were married on August 2, 1947 at the Friends Meeting House (Quaker) in Durham, ME.
They proceeded to have two sons, Bruce and Robert, and a daughter, Joyce. After teaching for one year at Freeport High School, the couple moved to Corvallis, OR. At first Helen worked as a social worker for the State of Oregon, and then when the family moved to Raleigh, N.C., she became a professor of sociology at both North Carolina State University and Meredith College, a position she held for many years. In 1975, the family moved to Rhinebeck, NY in the scenic Hudson River valley where she became the Dean of Admissions of Dutchess County Community College, a position she especially enjoyed because she was able to assist many adult female students overcome difficult personal hurdles and complete their education.
Upon retirement, Vernon and Helen returned to Maine and built a home on a cherished piece of property her parents had purchased in 1946 on Flying Point in Freeport, ME, the home she occupied thereafter in happiness and contentment. Upon retirement, Helen continued to generously donate her time and energy to many worthwhile causes, including being a valued member for seventy-five years of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and equally important to her, the Durham Friends Meeting, the Friends Women Society, the Freeport Women’s Club, and making countless quilts for ABC Quilts and Project Linus to bring a ray of kindness to disadvantage and suffering children.
Helen was predeceased by her husband Vernon, sister Katherine, and grandson Lee Vernon Clarkson. She is survived by her three children, four grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Helen had a full and wonderful life, spanning wonderous events in history, and to the very end of this chapter on Earth, was an avid reader, maintained an unforgettable sense of humor, and an unwavering love for her family and friends, past and present.
She will be sorely missed, but never forgotten. Condolences and fond memories may be shared at www.stetsonsfuneralhome.com A celebration of a life well lived will occur at noon at the Durham Friends Meeting Hall on August 2, 2022. In lieu of flowers, Helen gratefully requests a donation to Bates College for the Vernon A. and Hellen Pratt Clarkson 1946 Scholarship, mailed to Bates College, Office of College Advancement, 2 Andrews Road, Lewiston ME 04240. Arrangements are under the direction of Stetson’s Funeral Home & Cremation Care 12 Federal St., Brunswick, 725-4341.
Long-time attender of this Meeting Karen Marston passed away on October 29, 2021.
With Bowdoin Baking Company, Karen had a booth at the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust’s Farmer’s Market. BTLT’s Executive Director, Angela Twitchell, has written a lovely reminiscence of Karen Marston on the BTLT website.
August 29, 2021, revised August 30, 2021
Our member Tommie Frye passed away this morning after a long period of ill health. A green burial will be carried out at Lunt Cemetery on Monday, August 30, at 5pm. All welcome to attend.
At worship this morning, thanks were expressed for Jeri Kemple and for the members of this meeting who cared for Tommie as his health declined. This meeting was his home.
Memorial Minute for Susan (Sukie) Bellows Rice, 1945-2020
Susan (Sukie) Rice was born in New Rochelle, NY on November 1, 1945 to Charles D. and Winifred Rice. She grew up in an old farmhouse in the countryside, about an hour by train from Manhattan. There, her love of music, theater, cats, dogs, and the world of nature took root in the warmth of a loving home. In the 1960’s, after earning a BA in Psychology at Hiram College, she went to work for an advertising agency in New York City. Simultaneously, she immersed herself in the Morningside Heights Friends Meeting.
The Society of Friends became a lifelong source of strength and inspiration for Sukie. As the Quaker values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship grew in importance for her, her work in commercial advertising held less and less allure. In 1969 she left New York City and moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she worked at two Boston area hospitals during the 1970s. Here, she threw herself into a host of nonviolent civil disobedience actions against the Vietnam War, some of which led to her arrest, and one to a couple of weeks in jail. As the Vietnam War was ending, she joined the staff of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). There, she allied AFSC with the anti-nuclear Clamshell Alliance, and helped train protesters and organize successive nonviolent occupations of the construction site of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant.
In 1971 Sukie met and fell in love with Lee Chisolm. Later, they would acknowledge to each other that it was indeed love at first sight. Through Lee she was introduced to Anthroposophy, the spiritual philosophy and teachings of Rudolph Steiner. From that seed, planted early in her consciousness and cultivated through study motivated by her deep love and admiration for Lee, together they formed a shared spiritual path. Steiner’s teachings came to be the cord that strengthened and infused their lives as a couple and produced meaning and purpose in their work together in the world. Anthroposophy, along with Quaker faith and practice, became the foundation from which Sukie grew in spirit and presence. And in Lee’s own words, “she drew ideas from the ozone. She was a natural conduit for spiritual inspiration.”
In the late 1970s Sukie and Lee moved to Maine, where Sukie joined the Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends in 1979. In the 1980s Sukie and Lee moved to Freeport, where they started a family. When their first child, Adam, was not quite three, Sukie and Lee resolved to start a Waldorf School. For the next several years, Sukie worked indefatigably. She held informational and fundraising events, pulling together a nucleus of founding parents, a teacher, and eventually a class. What began as a little kindergarten of a dozen students continues today as a mature K-12 school known as the Maine Coast Waldorf School.
As her children grew older, Sukie enrolled in the University of Southern Maine in the 1990s for a degree in music education, and for the next twenty years she was a full time K-5 music teacher in the Portland Public Schools. She also acted with the Freeport Community Players, later becoming their musical director. In this role, she worked on a handful of plays and annual performances of Amahl and the Night Visitors for seven years. Stepping away from the Freeport Community Players, Sukie next founded the Greater Freeport Community Chorus, which she directed for six years.
Sukie was an active member of Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends for four decades. She served the meeting in a variety of roles over the years, sometimes wearing multiple hats. For many years she was the music director for the meeting’s annual Christmas and Easter choirs. She also served on Ministry and Counsel, Peace and Social Concerns Committee, Finance Committee, and as both Recording Clerk and Presiding Clerk.
In 2001 Sukie was inspired by a small group of Quaker women from Kenya who were providing a feeding program to AIDS orphans in their community of Kakamega. Sukie volunteered her time extensively to support this program, ultimately founding Friends of Kakamega, a New England based program that partners with its Kenyan counterparts to support their grassroots mission. Through her work with Friends of Kakamega, Sukie spent the last two decades of her life helping to support the well-being and education of vulnerable children in western Kenya, giving hope to hundreds of young Africans. True to her character, she grew to know, love, and individually connect with both the children served by the project, and the Americans who embraced the opportunity that Sukie gave them to help. Her son John has continued that work at the Kakamega Care Center.
Trailblazer that she was, later in life Sukie also devoted time to exploring the topic of death and dying and the spiritual journey of the soul during this final passage. This in turn led her to the next frontier of green burial for herself as well as others. With the assistance of family, close friends and members of the Durham Friends Meeting, she realized her desire to be buried in this manner and so opened the way for others to follow in the newly dedicated lot for green burials in the Lunt Cemetery.
Sukie’s great energy, compassion, and integrity guided her life in remarkable ways. As one Friend described her so well, “Sukie has been the spark and flame of a better life for so many.” While her work and life were always filled with purpose and encouragement, particularly memorable was her joy. Sukie asked us to remember her joy. We do, Sukie. We surely do.
Sukie passed from this life on July 17, 2020. She is survived by her husband, Lee Chisholm, and sons Adam, Ian, and John Chisholm.
Mildred Alexander, long time member of Durham Friends Meeting, passed from this life on September 18, 2020. She was a resident of Pinkham Brook Rd. Durham and was born in Lisbon Falls, daughter of the late Louis and Annette (Boultbee) Dumas. She was educated in local schools. Mildred married Andrew Alexander in January of 1949, and they spent many happy years together until he passed in 2009. Mildred enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, her cats and most of all time spent with her great grandchildren. Mildred was an active member of the Meeting Trustees. While a trustee she was the Meeting janitor and went the extra mile to keep the building in good shape. One friends fond memory of Mildred was that she was good-natured with a great sense of humor. ‘Once when there was a jug of Babcock’s apple cider in the meeting frig Mildred drank a cup. I love cider, she said. The friend said, especially when it is about to turn. Mildred replied. ‘Me too! Look at us! Drinking hard cider in the Meetinghouse!’ Mildred was one of many from the Meeting who worked at the Maine Idyll for many years.
She is survived by her sister Laurette Chapman of Lewiston, four grandchildren: Thomas St.Germain of Durham, Carrie St.Germain of Lewiston, Angela Loucka of Tampa, FL and Johnell Ramos of Costa Rica, four great grandchildren and seven great-great grandchildren. She was predeceased by a daughter Pauline (Alexander) Harvey in 2006 and three sisters, Annette Tibbets, Beverly Craig and Bernice Curtis.
On the night of October 27 Jane Walters passed from this earth leaving her family and beloved husband Bob.
More information to be sent out when details are learned of a memorial celebration of life.
May we keep Bob and his family in our prayers.
— Martha Sheldon
Our longtime member Mildred Alexander passed from this life on September 18, 2020. Below is an obituary and notice of her services.
Mildred P. Alexander 89, a longtime resident of Pinkham Brook Rd. Durham died Friday September 18, at Mid Coast Senior Health, with her family at her side. She was born in Lisbon Falls a daughter of the late Louis and Annette (Boultbee) Dumas. She was educated in local schools.
Mildred married Andrew Alexander in January of 1949, and they spent many happy years together until he passed in 2009.
Mildred enjoyed her jigsaw puzzles her cats and most of all enjoyed time spent with her great grandchildren.
She is survived by her sister Laurette Chapman of Lewiston, four grandchildren: Thomas St.Germain of Durham, Carrie St.Germain of Lewiston, Angela Loucka of Tampa, FL and Johnell Ramos of Costa Rica, four great grandchildren and seven great-great grandchildren. She was predeceased a daughter Pauline (Alexander) Harvey in 2006 and three sisters, Annette Tibbets, Beverly Craig and Bernice Curtis.
The family would like to send a very big thank you to the entire staff at Mid Coast Senior Health for the exceptional care given to Mildred, especially in her last days.
You are invited to offer condolences and pay tribute to Mildred’s life by visiting her guest book at www.crosmanfuneralhome.com
Visitation Crosman Funeral Home Thursday 9/24 from 10-11:30 am, with a graveside service to follow at Pleasant View Cemetery at 12 Noon. Those wishing to make memorial donations in her memory may do so to Midcoast Humane Society 30 Range Rd, Brunswick, ME 04011.
Phyllis Wetherell was born in 1936 in Portland, Maine, the first child of John and Mary Curtis. She grew up in Durham Friends Meeting and remained a member here all her life – one of our many beloved members of the family Curtis. With many friends in both communities, she oscillated between Durham, Maine and Richmond, Indiana all her life.
After her first husband, Ira Donald White, and her daughter, Lisa, passed away, she married David Wetherell, the pastor of Durham Friends. They moved to Richmond, Indiana so that David could attend the Earlham School of Religion. After David graduated, they moved to Bar Harbor where Phyllis and David helped start Acadia Friends Meeting. About a decade later they moved back to Richmond, Indiana.
Phyllis became receptionist/secretary at the Earlham School of Religion, a position she held for fifteen years, from 1985 to 2000. Hers was the first face that prospective students, faculty, and staff encountered. She welcomed them and treated them graciously and with a kindness that came from her heart. Phyllis always believed she had “the best seat in the house” at the front desk at ESR. She wrote,
“What an education to listen to people wrestling out loud about their beliefs or lack of beliefs, to see the profound impact a feisty professor has on someone who finally sees and feels the Light, to watch as a programmed Quaker meets head on an unprogrammed Quaker, when neither one knows anything of the other’s practices. Do you know how exciting it is to listen to folk trying to sort out their beliefs and try and figure out where those beliefs will lead them?”
David passed away in 1990. When Phyllis retired from ESR she came again to live among us in Maine, and then returned to Friends Fellowship in Richmond, Indiana in 2013 for the last seven years of her life. We were always glad to see her when she came back to Durham Friends.
A bright presence in all places and seasons, Phyllis will be deeply missed by all who knew her. She is survived by her children Susan (Dale), Linda (Rick), and David John (Jennifer); her sister Charlotte, brother Johnny (Mildred), and stepdaughter Lynne. Her grandchildren that will carry on all she taught them: Hickory (Trisha), Ryder (Amanda), Rossy, Marjorie, Korey, Brandon (Jenna), Ashton (Wyatt), Nate and Genesee. So, too, her great-grandchildren: Jack, Mason, Max, Samuel, Lumen, and (due in July), Sawyer. Those already passed on include her parents John and Mary Curtis, brother David, daughter Lisa, and the two loves of her life, husbands Donny and David.
Phyllis passed from this life, in Richmond, on April 25, 2020.
Edith Mary Whitehead May 22,1923 – April 18, 2020
Edie Whitehead died from natural causes, Saturday, April 18, 2020, at Horizons Living and Rehab Center, just a month before her 97th birthday.
Edie Mary Lamb was born on May 22, 1923, in Dublin, Ireland, the youngest of three children. After training as a physical therapist, she came to the United States to care for a cousin. She met Macy Whitehead in Phippsburg through a mutual friend, Albert Bailey, and they were married on April 22, 1952 in the “manner of Friends” at the Quaker meeting in Westtown, in West Chester, Pa. They shared a commitment to each other, family and community for 60 wonderful years; raising four children and numerous dogs, cats and horses. Throughout their lives, they stayed rooted to the simple things.
Her husband’s various positions, as an ordained minister, took them to South Portland (1955-60), Eagle Butte, South Dakota, (1960-73) and Kent, Connecticut, (1973-78). From Connecticut, they moved to New York while Macy earned a pastoral counseling degree, and Edie supported her family by working in a hospital. In 1982 they moved to Bath, Maine.
Edie was an avid quilter and member of Kaleidoscope Quilt Guild in West Bath for many years. She and Macy started attending Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends after they moved to Maine and after several years among us, became a member in 2000. She was active in USFW and in the Durham Friends Women’s Society. We at Durham knew her as an active member and knowledgeable about Quaker History and the Bible. She had an infectious smile, a wry sense of humor, sometimes irreverent, loved to engage in conversation and was not afraid to challenge people.
Edie took hostessing very seriously, and put on a spread of food that was delicious, and also beautifully presented, with every detail attended to carefully. Her dishes, the doilies, the little knife for spreading, and of course flowers, were all perfectly arranged. She delighted in doing it and wanted people to remember her for it. She loved to quilt and shared this love of hers with the women at Durham Meeting.
She and Macy shared a family camp in Brightwater, which is a summer colony in Phippsburg, and they would hold worship time with family and friends in their summer community, which included many hymn sings. Edie is survived by her family- Deirdre, Harris, Heather (Philipand Tom; Camilla and Carla; five grandchildren Celia, Kai, Sam, Bevan and Lionel; and a large extended Irish family.
Edie was a gracious, welcoming and loving person. She was fun to be around – always full of good ideas and projects needing doing. She had a beautiful singing voice and was a creative, talented fabric artist. Her working years involved helping people in need or in creating something beautiful. Her twinkling eyes and capable hands will be sorely missed.
Memorial in Solitude — From Derek Parker, Pastor, First Friends Meeting, Richmond, Indiana — April 26, 2020
Saturday night Nancy Tyndall phoned me, to let me know that Phyllis Wetherell had died. Phyllis died in hospice care at Reid Hospital, from non-Covid causes.
As of the morning of Sunday, April 26 about 54,000 people in the United States have died from the coronavirus. Other people like Phyllis also die of non-Covid causes. If you are reading this you may only be one or two degrees removed from somebody who has died from coronavirus, or from other causes. With social distancing, funerals will likely be limited to small groups of 5-10 people, outdoors, and graveside. It can hurt to be apart when we need our family and friends; and when we need an opportunity to say goodbye.
Many of us say, “I will pray for you.” And I have no doubt that we do that. But most Protestants get little instruction about how to do this. It is easier to follow through on our prayers, when we have a plan.
So today I got out the prayer-books in my office to make a plan for how to pray for Phyllis, and for others whose memorials I may not be able to attend. I recommend finding a quiet place to make your plan, and then carry it out.
O Thou kind Lord! Thou hast created all humanity from the same stock. Thou hast decreed that all shall belong to the same household. In Thy Holy Presence they are all Thy servants, and all humankind are sheltered beneath Thy Tabernacle; all have gathered together at Thy Table of Bounty; and all are illuminated through the light of Thy Providence. – Amen
After that first prayer I’m going to take a silent moment to think about Phyllis. I’ve known her for a long time. She was finishing her employment at ESR when I was a prospective student over 20 years ago. As a student at ESR we had a picnic table dedicated in celebration of her years of service.
She was a member of West Richmond Friends Meeting, but I reconnected with Phyllis through the Thursday First Friends Book Group that met at Friends Fellowship. Her thinking about the books was sharp, and her humor was bright. I can still picture her sitting in her chair at Book Group. Her sudden departure from this world is a bit of a shock.
At some point I will need to end my silence. And close with another prayer.
O Lord, support us all the days of this life, until the shadows lengthen, the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in Your mercy grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last. AMEN
I plan to pray this way. I would even appreciate somebody else praying for me this way, after my life comes to an end. I suggest that you make a plan for how to pray in memory of others who have died. You don’t need to use the same prayers I used. You could substitute the Lord’s Prayer, or Psalm 23, or Psalm 24, or a more spontaneous prayer. In the face of terrible news in a time of solitude, respond with faith and prayer.
May God give us strength in times of sorrow, whenever those times come. And wherever we are, may we be inspired to pray with those who mourn.
Juli Fogg was a beloved member of Durham Friends Meeting.
Janet Douglas, a long-time member of Durham Friends Meeting and mother of member and former pastor Jim Douglas, passed away on September 10, 2018. A memorial service was held in the Meetinghouse to celebrate her life on November 10 with her family and members of the Meeting present. Janet was well loved and appreciated for what she taught those who knew her through her life work.
January 18, 2015
Memorial Minute: Richard Reeve Wood, Jr.
March 30, 1932 – June 5, 2010
Richard Reeve Wood Jr. was born March 30, 1932, to Richard R. and Nancy Morris Wood in Moorestown, New Jersey. He grew up surrounded and seasoned by Philadelphia Friends. He attended Moorestown Friends School and received a B.A. in English from Haverford College while it was still an all male school. He loved playing soccer at Haverford or anywhere else he could round up a game!
Richard’s fascination with farms, farm animals and aesthetics of the land grew ever more important when he began working summers on a Quaker farm along the Delaware River. As a Conscientious Objector he served two years at the Earlham College dairy farm.
Following his stint at Earlham, Richard married Elizabeth Hoag. They bought the Goddard farm, a small farm in Brunswick, Maine, which had been bequeathed to Durham Monthly Meeting. There they had four children: Rebecca, Gilbert, Anna and Susan. They also built a Jersey herd of some note. After their divorce Richard continued to farm and provide hospitality to folks from various walks of life who were passing by. His was a compelling and welcoming presence and he connected easily with all sorts of people.
Richard loved cows and spent much of his time as he worked in the barn thinking and dreaming of the emerging contemporary small farm movement. He was ahead of his time, like Wendell Berry whose writings inspired him. Later he was given an opportunity, when hired by the Maine Department of Agriculture as coordinator for the Agriculture Viability Program, to travel and write on behalf of the small farm movement in Maine. Richard was a gifted writer and published articles in Small Farm Journal, Maine Times, Times Record. There was a memorable piece in the Boston Globe reporting on Richard’s visit to war torn Nicaragua as part of an Oxfam delegation.
Richard was a beloved and active member of Durham Friends Meeting, serving in various capacities including Monthly Meeting Clerk, Trustee, on Ministry and Counsel, and occasionally giving the message. He was Clerk of Falmouth Quarterly Meeting for a time.
One First Day at Durham Friends Meeting, Richard and Susan McIntire rose in the midst of silent worship and he declared, “Before God, my family and friends, I, Richard, take thee Susan to be my wife. With divine assistance and help from my friends, I will be unto thee a loving and faithful husband.” Susan responded in kind. The clerk read the marriage certificate aloud and invited each of us there to sign as witnesses. Those present witnessed a traditional Quaker wedding, and Richard and Susan went on to have a real Quaker marriage.
Richard and Susan eventually sold the Brunswick farm, moved to Western New York in 1990, and bought another farm. This one had Holsteins and draft horses. Here they continued raising their children Reeve and Isaac. They were assisted in this new venture by local farm folks including those in the nearby Amish community.
In 2000 Richard was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which he managed with characteristic grace and optimism. Richard and Susan returned to Maine in 2003 to be closer to family and friends.
Those of us who are privileged to have known him and listened to his deep penetrating voice, marveled at the almost effortless way he established close rapport with others. His Quaker roots and seasoning were embedded in his presence. He was profoundly steady and comfortable. Children loved him. He loved dogs. He wrote mystery stories. He loved his family. For many of us he was a compassionate listener. There are myriad tender memories of cups of tea with him at the kitchen table.
No Hallmark Angels,
they asphyxiate me.
Send me one like
Richard Wood in
floppy rubber boots.
His large hands
cracked and gnarled
from washing cow’s
udders on winter days.
This cold Maine morning
The barn smells of burnt
rushes. A holstein heifer
is down dead in her stall.
He backed the old John
Deere into the barn and
dragged the carcass past
the restless herd, breath
rising like incense smoke.
He kicked a heap of snow.
“At least she’ll freeze out here
in the dooryard till I can think
of some place to put her”.
Inside we had a dirty mug of
tea and were as close as
those cows in the barn.
Approved by Durham Monthly Meeting of Friends, Meeting for Business, January 18, 2015, Sarah Sprogell, Presiding Clerk.
By Sukie Rice
We need to mark the passing of three members of Durham Monthly Meeting.
It is with real sadness that we announce the passing of Eileen Babcock, who had been a member of Durham Friends Meeting for the greater part of her life. Eileen grew up in the meeting as a part of Sunday School, vacation Bible School and then, as an adult, leading Meeting youth in these same activities. She participated in most of the committees of the Meeting and was consistently committed to doing the best job she could for the Meeting and seeking God’s will. She will be especially remembered as a team leader for the Tedford Shelter meals, her contributions to the Meeting’s benefit dinners for the Kakamega Orphans Care Centre, and for always being there to lend a hand in whatever was needed. Eileen died of cancer at the age of 66 on March 20.
We also want to recognize the passing of Lavada Caton and Angelo Pane, both beloved members of the Meeting. Angelo, who for years fixed the leaky faucets, doors and windows, pounded hammers and tended lovingly to the meetinghouse, died in September in Florida with his family close by. Lavada passed away on April 9 in North Port, Florida where she lived with her husband, Don. Lavada was known for her kindness, generosity, strength of spirit, and real spunk. Durham Meeting wishes the God’s comfort and love for the Pane and Caton families. We have no doubt that Angelo is up there with his measuring tape and plans to build a new wing on the angel’s canteen where Lavada has everyone entranced by her sweetness and stories.
Don Caton, Lavada’s husband, can be reached approximately through July at: c/o Laurie Caton-Lemos, 770 Pinkham Brook Rd, Durham, ME 04222
Barbara (Bobbie) Jordan, a member of Durham Friends Meeting, Durham, Maine, died January 16, 2011,
after a two-year journey with ovarian cancer. Prior to transferring her membership to Durham Meeting
in 1996, she was a member of Mt.Toby Meeting in Leverett, Massachusetts, since about 1987. Bobbie was
born in Bakersfield, California, on September 28, 1942, but grew up in Denver, Colorado, the eldest
daughter of Lorne and Helen Jordan. Family life in the Jordan household consisted of regular camping
trips to fish the mountain streams of the Colorado and its neighboring states. Bobbie visited and
knew all of the best fly-fishing locations, thanks to her father’s avid interest in this sport. Her young life was
filled with outdoor activity, from helping her grandfather on his farm to taking the ski train into the Rockies for
lessons and eventual work on the Ski Patrol. She worked on a dude ranch in her early years, cooking for the
cowboys, and loved entertaining her family with many stories of the cowboys’ pranks. Sports were an early
interest for Bobbie, and she was drawn to a career in Health and Physical Education, graduating from Colorado
State University at Fort Collins in 1964. Her first year of teaching was in rural Wyoming and included teaching
classes at the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Throughout her life, Bobbie seemed to know her path forward, making decisions and taking on tasks and
responsibilities that served to steadily expand her experiences, skills and interest in education. Early in her
teaching career she accepted a summer job as the waterfront director at a Camp Tappawingo, a girl’s camp in
Harrison, Maine. While in Maine, she applied to a Master’s Program at University of Maine at Orono, where
she both studied and taught, and from which she graduated in 1967. Upon graduation she continued teaching at
the college level, working at the State University of New York in Albany teaching and coaching, then moved to
Wellesley College from 1969-1977. At Wellesley she coached the college crew team, staying one lesson ahead
of the team by reading the manual as the season progressed. She had never taught the sport previously, but
Bobbie was always game for a challenge, and failure was never an option. Needless to say, the crew team was a
During her years at Wellesley College, Bobbie continued to work summers directing activities at a girl’s
camp in Hanover Mass., where she made many life-long friends. With no tenure track at Wellesley, Bobbie
found employment directing an alternative high school in Plymouth, Mass., for two years. The work was
challenging, with many troubled students, but once again Bobbie met the challenge head on. Once again,
failure was not an option, and she created many real-life situations to assist the students with developing skills
they could relate to. It was with some relief, however, that she returned to more traditional education at
Brookline High School, serving as Curriculum Coordinator and Teacher of Health and Physical Education from
1977 to 1982.
Bobbie’s love of education kept her advancing in her career, enrolling in advanced studies at University of
Massachusetts in Amherst in 1982, and serving as principal for the Leverett Elementary School from 1985 to
1990. Her continuing commitment to the education of children led her to a job in Maine, as principal of
Williams-Cone School in Topsham where she worked from 1990 to 2001, and later to Augusta where she
worked until her retirement in 2008 as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Augusta Public
Schools. During this time, Bobbie also enrolled and graduated in 2001 from Nova Southeastern University,
Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with a Doctorate in Education.
Bobbie was a leader and an educator in all facets of her life. She served in leadership positions in many
professional organizations, and worked to support peer review among teachers and mentorship programs for
teachers and principals. Bobbie traveled to Eastern Europe, Sweden and Japan to learn and observe teaching
methods of other cultures. Rather than truly retire, Bobbie took on the task of developing an after-school
program for at-risk children in the Augusta area, through the Boys and Girls Club. She traveled to Kenya to
visit and help with a summer camp for AIDS orphans run by the Quaker group Friends of Kakamega. Indeed,
even through the last months of her life Bobbie eagerly took on the supervision of six student teachers, fulfilling
one of her long-time career goals.
Along with a growing career, Bobbie also deeply valued her friends and family. Over the years of job
changes and professional growth, Bobbie developed a wide family of friends, and regularly stayed in touch with
them. Trusted colleagues often became life-long friends. In 1982 Bobbie met her life-partner, Sarah Sprogell,
and together they raised Sarah’s two sons. Their life together was filled with trips to Colorado, camping and
canoeing, a string of family pets, and the joy of seeing both boys grow into fine young men with beautiful
families of their own.
Durham Friends Meeting was Bobbie’s spiritual home, and a place where her leadership and strong work
ethic also found tasks to accomplish. She served on Ministry and Council for six years, and also on Finance
Committee, serving as clerk for both committees. She also served as Meeting Treasurer at a time of transition
for the Meeting. Bobbie was often sought out to serve on Pastoral Support Committees, Pastoral Search
Committees, and Pastoral Evaluation Committees. She served on the Christian Education Committee and
taught Sunday School classes, where she shared with Durham youth her gifts for relating to and understanding
young people; Bobbie served Durham Meeting’s young friends well. While Bobbie’s natural inclination to be
of use to the Meeting kept her actively involved and admired for her leadership, she felt at her core that the
Meeting was most importantly a place of refuge from the busy outside world, and a place of worship that
resonated deeply within her.
Beyond pursuing her career in education and finding her spiritual home with Quakers, Bobbie also sang in a
local women’s chorus, Women in Harmony, for more than 10 years. True to her participation in any group,
Bobbie was involved in the board of directors, serving as chairperson, as well as on the production of
committee, search committee, and as administrative assistant to the director. As with all her endeavors, she
made important and lasting friendships through her involvement with this singing group.
The last two years of Bobbie’s life were years of spiritual deepening and strengthening, as she developed
her own style of living with cancer. As with so many of her personal and professional challenges over the
years, giving up was never an option. There were still things to do, trips to take and people to see. There was
still life to live and work to be done. She continued to face life and its challenges head on, maintaining her
grace and courage until her last days. Many of the nurses and aides at the Gosnell House, where Bobbie spent
the last week of her life, marveled at her spiritual equanimity and lack of agitation as she drew closer to death.
The strength of Bobbie’s spirit was evident at her memorial service, when over 200 people gathered to profess
their love and admiration for a woman who touched them deeply and from whom they had learned much. Her
generosity of spirit was clearly evident in the many testimonials heard on that day.
Our dear Bobbie is survived by Sarah Sprogell, her loving partner of 29 years, their son, Agostino Petrillo,
and his wife, Allegra, and daughters Ariel and Thalia of Northampton Mass., as well as his two daughters
Chelsea and Emily Craine of Blacksburg Va., their son, Dominic Petrillo, and his son, Lincoln, of Freeport,
Maine, her sister Pamela (Jordan) Costa, of Littleton Colo., her niece Angela (Costa) Hawes and her husband
Jason of Littleton, Colo., and her nephew Frank Costa and his wife Sarah of Pensacola Fla. Bobbie is
predeceased by her father Lorne Jordan. Her mother, Helen Irene (Hall) Jordan, passed away six months
following Bobbie’s death, on July 17, 2011, at the age of 100.
BATH — H. Macy Whitehead, died Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at his home in Bath, just two days after his 88th birthday.Born May 14, 1924, in Mt, Vernon, N.Y., to the Rev. Robert Charles Whitehead and Miriam Macy Whitehead. Named for his grandfather, Rev. Herbert Macy, he was known to everyone as “Macy.” Though he grew up in New York his ties to Maine developed quickly when his parents became part of the Brightwater summer community in Phippsburg in 1926.
Over the next decades he and most of his siblings, aunts, uncles, father and mother all moved to Maine. In later teenage years he worked as a summer volunteer at the Three Fevers work camp run by Albert Baily in Phippsburg, helping low-income families in the nearby Sebasco village with improved housing and economic development. Many of these families were the descendants of the 1912 Malalga Island Expulsion. After graduating from high school in Mt. Vernon, Macy went to Haverford College in Philadelphia, where he reconnected with the values of his Quaker ancestors who settled on Nantucket in the 1670s. Intending to become a clergyman like his father and two grandfathers he received a clergy deferment during World War II.
Graduating in 1946, he volunteered to join up with the American Friends Service Committee’s post-war relief effort in Italy. In an interview with The Times Record in 2007 he said, “If there was an opportunity to work in a different way, to heal the wounds of war and to show a different attitude toward people, that was important for me to do that. I didn’t want to just have a free ride through this. If I didn’t participate in the destruction, I wanted to be part of the reconstruction.” In the spring of 1946 he began working with other AFSC volunteers on community-building projects in villages located in the Abruzzi Mountains on Italy’s Adriatic Coast. In 1947, he arrived in Montenerodomo, a mountain village almost entirely devastated during the war. He set up a small work camp and rallied villagers to build a day nursery for the children, enabling their parents to tend their crops in the lower hillsides. The AFSC and its counterpart in England were named co-recipients of the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize. For Macy, that was “no big deal” — he considered it a far greater honor that in 2005 the citizens of Montenerodomo named him an “honorary citizen” in gratitude for helping their village in its time of need.
Completing his divinity studies at Yale Seminary School, he graduated with a Master’s of Divinity degree in 1950. Macy was ordained by the Maine conference of the United Church of Christ and began his ministry back in Phippsburg, where he served three parishes in Popham, Small Point and Parker Head. He also worked as a “character-building teacher” in Phippsburg and other local schools, teaching music and arts and crafts.
It was in Phippsburg that he met his future wife, Edie Lamb, an Irish Quaker, who had come to care for her cousin, a friend of the Baily family, which ran the Three Fevers program where he had worked as a teen. He had heard that this “charming Irish gal” could sing, so he invited her to perform at a service. After a short, but earnest courtship (Edie had to return to Philadelphia), they were married April 22, 1952, in the “manner of Friends” at the Quaker meeting in Westtown, in West Chester, Pa. They remained deeply committed to each other over the 60 years of their marriage, sharing interests in music, theater, animals, the outdoors, and most especially the lives of their children and grandchildren. They became an inseparable team, sharing in the challenges of raising four children in often very challenging environments, and working together in the work of the Church.
Though Macy was often the more public figure, in the pulpit and elsewhere, Edie was both the rock and the glue that held everything together. After they finished their work in Phippsburg, Macy accepted a post at the First Congregational Church in South Portland from 1955 to 1960. In 1961, the family made a big decision when Macy’s ministry took him to Eagle Butte, S.D., the tribal headquarters of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation — at the time, one of the most impoverished communities in the United States. In addition to serving his parish, he was chairman of the South Dakota Commission for Indian Mission and served on the board of directors of the South Dakota conference of the United Church of Christ.
From 1966 to 1973 the Whitehead family served the Beresford and Centerville communities in eastern South Dakota. In 1973, the family decided to move back to the East Coast, to be closer to Maine and so ended up at what would be Macy’s final parish in Kent, Conn. During his entire pastoral career, Macy was always deeply involved with youth groups and youth-related activities. He ran Sunday schools, organized church-run summer camps and trail rides in the Black Hills, including 10-day backpacking trips for older students in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. He once led a group of college students and his family to a very poor section of southern Missouri, where they helped to build and repair housing.
Macy was a life-long learner and he constantly challenged himself and his convictions about how to best serve humanity. In 1978, he felt his effectiveness in the Church environment was waning, so he returned to school and earned a degree in pastoral counseling at Blanton-Peale Institute and Counseling Center in New York City. During this time, Macy and all four children were in college and Edie supported Macy through her work at a hospital. After finishing this training in 1982, he and Edie then returned to Bath, where he developed a family-counseling practice during the 1980s and into the 1990s. He also continued work on a thesis he had developed while at Blanton-Peale, and this work eventually earned him his Doctor of Divinity degree. Macy’s counseling work evolved over time to include: individual and family counseling; helping people suffering from chronic pain; and those with terminal illnesses. He also worked as a hospital chaplain at the former Bath Memorial Hospital, and continued to officiate at weddings, funerals and other celebrations when asked.
In his later years both he and Edie reaffirmed their Quaker roots and joined the Quaker Meeting in Durham, where he served as the clerk (chairman) of the Meeting for a number of years, and continued to play the organ and give messages to the Meeting right up until he died. He had a great love of animals, once raising a wild mustang from a foal. For a brief time, he raised chinchillas for their fur … then the market crashed.
More recently, upon returning to Maine, he raised Angora rabbits for their wool, which he would spin into yarn, dye and knit hats and other items for sale at craft fairs. An accomplished musician, he played the piano, organ, zither, recorder and auto-harp. He also sang in the Downeasters Barbershop Chorus, the Oratorio Chorale and most recently the Macy Family Band. He is survived by his wife, Edie Whitehead; their four children and spouses, Deirdre Whitehead, Harris Whitehead and Carla Seekins, Heather Whitehead-Sampinos and Phil Sampinos, and Tom Whitehead and Camilla Dunham Whitehead; and five grandchildren, Celia and Kai Whitehead, Sammy Sampinos, and Bevan and Lionel Whitehead. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Macy Whitehead’s honor to The American Friends Service Committee, AFSC Development, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, Pa., 19102. Please make check payable to “AFSC.”