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Passages: Quaker Obituaries – May/June 2013

MOTT Jeremy Hardin Mott, 66, died of an intestinal hemorrhage on September 2, 2012 in Roanoke, Virginia. Jeremy was born on December 3, 1945 in New York City to Kathryn Hardin Mott and John Colman Mott. He was the eldest, with three younger sisters. When Jeremy was still a baby, his parents joined Ridgewood Friends Meeting as convinced Friends and also added him to membership. Growing up in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and Rochester, New York, he actively participated with the rest of his family in the local monthly meetings as well as New York Yearly Meeting. Summer sessions at Farm and Wilderness Camps, Vermont, and three years at Sandy Spring Friends School, Maryland (class ‘63) also shaped his early Quaker experience. During the late 1950s and early 1960s he attended the Easter peace vigils in Times Square and in the summer of ‘63 he joined the March on Washington, just before attending Harvard University for two years. Since early childhood, Jeremy was fascinated with trains. At age eight, after being interviewed by the station master in New York City, he was allowed to take the train by himself to visit grandparents in Florida. As a teenager he once rode the entire New York subway system on one token, and also began a collection of timetables which enabled him to give detailed advice on passenger routes for any destination. When he took a break from Harvard, he followed his life-long love of railroads, working for the Erie Railroad.

No longer protected by a student deferment, he was drafted in October 1966. He obtained conscientious objector status and joined the Brethren Volunteer Service, serving three months at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and four months at Bethany Brethren Hospital in Chicago. However, to strengthen his protest against the Vietnam War and the draft, he burned his draft card at the April 15, 1967, Mobilization Against the War in New York City. Together with others, he founded the Chicago Area Draft Resisters (CADRE), whose members still treasure how much they learned from him about Quaker ways of working well together in groups. In his individual witness, he resigned from BVS writing: “Both the joy which comes from acting in accordance with one’s conscience and the agony which comes from facing the risks of such action obscure the real agony of the Vietnam situation…By affirming the value of the lives of people and denying the righteousness of murder and slavery we can at least help keep some vestige of brotherhood a reality among men.” His letter to the Selective Service System stated “My job, as a pacifist and as a person opposed to this war in Vietnam, is to resist our warring government, including the Selective Service System, rather than to seek special privileges from it.”

In December 1967, he was one of the first in the country to go to trial for resisting the draft. He was the first to receive the maximum prison sentence of five years, which was reduced on appeal to four. Upon his release from prison in 1969 on parole after 16 months of imprisonment, he worked for more than three years for the Midwest Committee for Draft Counseling, the Chicago office of the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors. There he wrote and published a regular newsletter about draft law, which was sent to 5,000 counselors nationwide who helped young men consider alternatives to military service. He and his new wife also were living below-taxable income in order to avoid supporting the military. Both before and after prison, he was an active member of the 57th Street Friends Meeting. Jeremy met Judith Franks at New York Yearly Meeting in 1969. They married in 1970 under the care of Summit (New Jersey) Friends Meeting and settled together in Chicago. Their daughter, Mary Hannah was born in 1974. Jeremy obtained his BA from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 1975. The family moved to New Jersey in 1976, living in Hoboken, Ridgewood and then Hackensack. He worked for Amtrak, as a dispatcher. During this period he rejoined Ridgewood Friends Meeting and was active in New York Yearly Meeting. He also served on committees for what is now the Center on Conscience and War in Washington, D.C., and also for the Farm and Wilderness Camps in Vermont. Besides his wife Judith Franks Mott and his daughter Mary Hannah Mott, he is survived by his mother, Kathryn Hardin Mott, his sisters Margaret Mott, Jessica Mott and Bethany Joanna Mott and their families, and Mary’s partner, Jacob Wise.

LEONARD Bonnie V. Leonard, 93, died October 25, 2012, in Crawfordsville, Indiana. She and her husband, Garnett, were members of Tangier Friends Meeting in Tangier, Indiana. She was born on a farm in Edgar County, Illinois, on December 9, 1918, the daughter of Charles E. and Lottie M. (Tresner) Hall. The family moved to a farm in Greene Township, Parke County, Indiana, where Bonnie graduated from Greene Township High School in 1936. On December 31, 1936, she married Garnett D. Leonard and began a farming life of 64 years together that ended with his death on December 8, 2000. She also worked for 13 years in the Tangier post office. After Garnett’s death she moved to Crawfordsville to be closer to her children. Her greatest satisfaction was working with Garnett on the farm and raising her family, but she had many interests. She was an avid reader to the last, when she was almost blind and used a magnifying machine to see individual words. She enjoyed and was known around the community for her crocheting, rug weaving, and quilting. At Crawfordsville she created quilts for the Binky Patrol, a firefighter support group, who gave them to children whose homes had burned. She also made them for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as long as she could do that. In addition, she liked stamp collecting and researching family history. She especially enjoyed the visits of her family and friends from Parke County and the Tangier area. Preceding her in death were her parents; brothers, Don L. and William D.; sisters Mildred Johnson and an infant sister, Virginia Ruth. Surviving are her children: Robert (Barbara), Virginia Van Hook, Vivian Bartley, David (Joyce), and Gary (Gayle); 14 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren, all of whom she enjoyed immensely.

ROBINSON Betty Lou Robinson, 91, (May 26, 1921–March 21, 2013) Betty Lou Robinson, left this earth on March 21, 2013 at the age of 91. She had recently been residing at the Kansas Christian Home in Newton, Kansas. Betty was born May 26, 1921, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. She graduated from the League City High School and subsequently married John L. Robinson on June 28, 1939, in Richmond, Texas. John and Betty became the parents of five children who survive: Rebecca (Larry) Edwards, David (Jan) Robinson, Karen (Johnny) Schmidt, Cindy (Guy) Hood and Daniel (Debbie) Robinson. Also surviving are 11 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and five great great-grandchildren. Betty also became “mother” to the younger siblings of her husband John; Annie Robinson Riley, Daniel D. and Clint Robinson. Betty was homemaker, mother, Sunday School teacher and an effective minister for the Lord. She served alongside her husband in ministry for more than 58 years in seven Friends Churches in Kansas, Texas, and North Carolina, and through the Church Office of Mid America Friends in Wichita.

Along the way, she was able to touch lives through her loving remembrances of cards and letters. She loved her rose garden and became widely known for her delicious sourdough cinnamon bread, affectionately called, “Betty Bread.” In her later years, Betty accepted the ministry of prayer, devoting herself to praying fervently for her family members, her church family and for missionaries around the world. Betty was preceded in death by her parents, Otto H., II and Louise A. Haardt; husband of 60 years, John L. Robinson; brothers, Otto H. Haardt, III and Albert F. Haardt; sister, Gene Norton; five grandchildren; three great-grandchildren.