Passage Friends Meeting
Bainbridge Island & Kitsap County,
Memorial Minutes from Agate
Passage Friends Meeting, Pacific
Northwest Quarterly Meeting, North Pacific Yearly Meeting. Since
January, 4 Friends from our small meeting have passed on. Three
of these were "charter" members 5 years ago when we transitioned from
Worship Group to Monthly Meeting. The Friends are
Millie Royce, Roberta Wilson,
Lori Raschke, and Bob Major. Good Friends should be well treasured;
these were dear Friends.
Memorial Minute for
Millie Royce, 1929-2008
Bainbridge Island's former one room school house, Seabold
Hall, was over-flowing the Saturday afternoon of January 12, 2008. Millie
Royce's memorial service in the Quaker tradition was about to begin, and
the space had filled almost beyond capacity. In her quiet, caring,
dedicated way, she had touched many, diverse lives. All areas of her
interests seemed to be represented in the grieving crowd: Children or
their parents whom she had loved, taught or otherwise nurtured were
present, along with her 9 year old granddaughter, two sons and beloved
husband, Bob. Also in the assembly were other artists, a few amateur
musicians, and many folks from Agate Passage Friends Meeting. Many of her
neighbors came from the cooperative mobile home community that she and Bob
had helped found.
Millie had given generously of herself to our Quaker
community, (particularly in helping plan First Day educational programs,
or most recently, making artistic pillows for the hard seats worshippers
had been sitting on). Aspiring poets from her former poetry group were
heard from in the service, plus a contingent from the Nicaraguan street
kids rehabilitation project, "Si
a la Vida", that she and Bob had
helped found. Peace activists were also vying for space in the cramped
room, as the Royces had rarely missed a peace march or protest in years.
Some who had been drawn to the memorial service. knew
Millie primarily as a spiritual seeker, a student of Jungian depth
psychology, or a volunteer at YES Magazine. The turn out and the sense of
sadness for a significant loss were impressive! Equally so was the
entire service that followed, where many spoke of the important part
Millie had played in their lives and what she had meant to them! Although
Millie presented her humble, always caring, sometimes self-deprecating,
sides much of the time, it was evident that she had loomed large in the
lives of a significant number of people.
Hard circumstances in Millie's growing up years had
probably helped strengthen her self-reliance and resiliency. She grew up
as a shy, often lonely, child on her parents' farm in Eastern Washington.
There were no other playmates near her age, and she'd had no friends until
well into grade-school. Her older sister's problems also drew much of her
parents' attention away from her when the girls were little. (Mary Merle
had shown signs fairly early of the bi-polar mental illness that would
force her to live most of her adult life in institutional care.)
Nonetheless, Millie did well in her studies, and after high school she
went onto receive a B.A. degree in Education from Central Washington
College. In her senior year, in 1951, she met fellow-student, Bob Royce,
a veteran of the Merchant Marine in WWII. By the end of the war, Bob had
become a pacifist and was convinced that he wished to work for greater
equality, justice and peace in the world. Millie and Bob decided to marry
soon after they met.
In their getting-to-know-each-other process, they realized
their need to find a spiritual tradition they could both share. Bob had
learned of the Quakers through two mentor teachers in high school, so when
he saw a notice for a Quaker study group on campus, he convinced Millie to
sign up with him. After six months in the study group, they both felt
that they had found their religious "home." However, it was many years
later, after two and a half decades of living and working in Puerto Rico,
that they actually joined the Religious Society of Friends on Bainbridge
Puerto Rico was a busy, creative period in the couples'
lives. Bob worked as a Librarian successively at two different colleges
in PR while Millie taught First Grade and English as a second language for
periods. After contracting meningitis, she began experimenting with block
printing on fabric, adapting and integrating Puerto Rican (Taino) Indian
motifs. That in turn led her to open and manage a successful business,
featuring her textile and garment designs and Puerto Rican arts and
crafts. Their store not only featured Millie's original fabric designs and
clothing, along with accessories and toys, but also the work of local
artisans, including pottery, basketry, wood and gourd crafts, etc. Her
shop was honored in Town and Country Magazine as one of the, "Ten
best Shops in the Caribbean." She was also gratified to be helping a
number of struggling local artists, who became close friends.
Millie and Bob moved back to the Northwest in1987. They
attended University Friends Meeting in Seattle for much of the decade, and
became Quakers officially after retiring to Bainbridge Island in 1998.
Whether attenders or members of a Quaker meeting, Millie gave her love,
talents and deep concern for the world to her several communities.
Millie's passing leaves a large hole in our small Agate Passage Meeting,
and probably not a Sunday or week goes by that a number of our community
do not think of her and consciously miss her gentle presence among us.
--Virginia Hoyte, May 22, 2008
Memorial Minute for
Roberta Wilson of Agate
Passage Meeting died of an infection of the pancreas which effected her
heart in late April, 2008. Because she had been on this planet only 53
years, her community took her death as unduly tragic. Almost since her
birth in Orange County southern California, her friends had counted on her
for leadership as a social activist. She did not fail them.
Roberta's childhood was spent
in Southern California where her father worked for Lockheed. She received
her bachelor's degree at Chapman University in Orange California and after
graduating wrote for several community newspapers before taking a
technical writer's job and moving to Seattle in 1989.
Both in California and in
Seattle where she attended Friends Meetings, Roberta Wilson was what her
partner of 14 years, Jeff Moore, called a "self-made" social change
advocate. She had been one of the starters on "The Great Peace March" from
Los Angeles to Washington D.C. in 1986. At its finish there were many less
walkers than the 1200 who had undertaken to do the walk, but Roberta was
one of them. The conclusion of the walk had countless difficulties, but
Roberta was one of those who endured all its hardships and was present at
After a technical writing job
at Microsoft, Roberta resigned and gave particular energy from the late
1980s to the early 1990s to co-founding the "Winslow Cohousing" community
on Bainbridge Island outside of Seattle. The some 30 homes on five acres,
half of which remain forested and undeveloped in a land trust, are in part
a memorial to her leadership and persistence. Owners of the cooperative
have a communal kitchen and share the work of maintaining and living
lightly on the land. Merely achieving consensus from the early owners of
this project required from Roberta unusual skills and endurance. She
Roberta served a term as
recording Clerk of Agate Passage Friends Meeting. As the new millennium
came upon her Roberta began her role as a mother by adopting a daughter.
Because Agate Passage Meeting has so few other children and Roberta
particularly wanted her daughter to have an experience of other African
American children, she urged our Meeting to seek out more diversity. When
there were no other children at Agate Passage, Roberta began taking Dova
to another island First Day School. We understood and accepted her
When our Meeting was seeking
new solutions to our difficulties, Roberta was always creative in helping
us find new ways. It is a great loss to her family and her immediate
community that she is no longer with us.
Memorial Minute For Lorita Elaine Rashke
Lorita Elaine Raschke, a native of
Montclair, New Jersey, moved to Bainbridge Island in 2001. She became an
attender at the Agate Passage Friends Meeting at Seabold Hall shortly
Lori, as she was known by her
friends, was a Quaker from childhood and had belonged to the Mountain View
Friends Meeting in Denver, Colorado, before moving to the Northwest.
Lori held a B.A. in chemistry from
Tulane University and worked for many years in environmental chemistry for
URS Consultants both in Denver and Seattle.
Although she was generally quiet in
meeting, she was known personally by several members with whom she
socialized outside of Meeting as bright, highly intelligent and very
witty. Lori had no trouble with the word ‘Liberal.’ She was an outspoken,
open-minded person and was happy to share her political position whenever
the situation to do so arose. Lori had a big heart and cared deeply about
the world’s suffering and saw clearly the uselessness of war as a means of
solving national problems. It is not surprising that she was active during
the Sixties with anti-war and civil rights movements. Lori was involved in
many environmental programs locally and donated to the Sierra Club,
Greenpeace, and numerous other such organizations.
She was highly valued at Islandwood,
the Outdoor Education Center on Bainbridge which offers week-long
experiences to underprivileged children from Seattle and other communities
across the water from Bainbridge Island. Her work with children there will
long be remembered and she will be sorely missed. It was Lori to whom the
children went with their questions and feelings of insecurity or confusion
at spending several nights away from home in a strange place with other
children, most of whom they had never met. Lori took control of their
belongings for them, oriented them to their unfamiliar environment, and
saw them peacefully into their beds when that time came.
Lori lived at Chatham Cove, a lovely
condo complex where she had many friends and was on the Board of
Directors. There were frequent dinner parties and pot-lucks, often in
Lori’s home. Lori was also a member of a cancer support group, a book club
and she volunteered for various theater organizations. Lori was something
of a world traveler, having taken extensive trips to Europe, China,
Thailand, Malaysia and Turkey. Wherever Lori went, she had music as a
focus. She belonged to choral groups, beginning in Denver and then with
the Bainbridge Chorale. When she wasn’t listening to NPR to keep up with
the latest news, she could be found singing along with one of her many
records or CDs.
Agate Passage Friends Meeting will
miss Lori and those who attended the Celebration of her life will long
remember the wonderful film made by her son and daughter-in-law which
showed the fun-loving spirit of Lori from the time she was a child, young
mother, to her last days when she took a trip to Amsterdam where she could
hold her grandson, Kes, and laugh and play with him.
Lori is survived by her son, Erik
Raschke, Grandson Kes, and sister, Dolores Arrington. Erik graduated from
Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.
Memorial Minute for Bob Major
Robert Major was with our Meeting from 1987 while it was a small worship
group on the West side of Puget Sound under the care of the University
Friends Meeting in Seattle. Over the years, as we progressed and grew to
be a small Meeting "Old Bob" as he always identified himself, was a
constant well-spring of gentle wisdom, playful humor, wit, inventiveness
and generosity of spirit.
Up Meeting House steps
Old, staid, worn by countless
A Voice within speaks
Born in Cranston, R.I. on August 9,1920, he spent his happily remembered
childhood in Wickford, R.I., moving to Columbus, Ohio during the
depression then graduated from North High School in 1937. He served in
the Army Air Corps during World War II, then studied at Georgetown
University in Washington D.C. earning a degree in Foreign Service.
He worked for the U.S. Government in D.C. and in Montreal for several
years. He then worked for many years as an editor for McGraw Hill in New
After moving to Seattle to be close to his family he again worked as an
editor in the Publications Department of the University of Washington.
And there he earned a degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis on sculpture.
After retirement he moved to the West Side of Puget Sound on the Kitsap
Peninsula to help his sister caring for their blind Mother, and enjoying
the pleasure of retirement.
While living in Seattle and a member of the University Friends Meeting he
was instrumental in establishing the Peace Park there, with a sculpture of
Sadako now draped with thousands of origami cranes continually renewed.
Retirement gave him time to pursue his many interests -- their breadth and
depth was "off the chart". He was intensely interested in gardening,
always thinking of new and innovative projects: integrating his ceramic
work to build a "Fuchsia Pole" (6 inch pots mounted on all 4 sides of a 4
inch X 4 inch pole 8 foot tall, upright and cascading on opposite sides).
He planned and was starting a small water garden, learning and sharing
books and plants with a close friend, knowing and naming a vast variety
Another interest was in birds, sharing books and publications with
childlike enthusiasm. His musical appreciation ranged from Symphony and
Opera to Scott Joplin Rags, playing in a private studio while doing his
ceramic work. He was painting in "Plein Aire" in oils with a group of
friends, and doing Rug-hooking with another group interpreting his
original designs in wool.
His signature interest was Haiku Poetry. He published several collections
and won international awards. New ones were always springing up in his
mind and the twinkle in his eye as he told us his newest one lit up our
Meeting. This one and the one above are remembered by Friends:
Sunday morning silence
Outside the window
Roses lean in to listen.
Never married, he lived his later years with his sister, Betty Major, and
enriched the lives of his nieces and nephew with all his interests and
generosity in sharing them. He was always brimming over with interests,
projects, and books to share so that his enthusiasm spilled over on all
who came his way. His was truly a life of simplicity, generosity and
kindness. Our Meeting is boundlessly enriched with the Memories he left
Virginia Barnett - 1913-2010
Virginia Barnett. Who died in Turlock, California on
March 11, 2010, at the age of 96, was the last to survive of the
founders of Seattle’s University Meeting. Born in Seattle on July 4,
1913, she was the daughter of William Robert and Elizabeth Norwood. She
lived in the Seattle area most of her life, graduating from the
University of Washington with a major in Fine Arts. It was at the
University of Washington that she met law student Arthur Barnett, who
became her husband in 1936. Arthur was an Irish immigrant, though born
in Glasgow. His Scotch-Presbyterian, ROTC background was very different
from her more liberal family background. They explored various churches
together and were most impressed with the University District worship
group then affiliated with Seattle’s Friends Memorial Church.
Virginia worked for the YWCA while Arthur, after a few years with a law
firm, established his own practice. Both were much involved in the
Friends Center run by the University District group and had joined
Friends in time to help establish University Meeting in 1940. Through
the friends center, they became active in assistance to
Japanese-Americans torn from their homes in a misguided World War Two
policy. This led to the establishment of the AFSC Regional office.
Arthur’s heroic defense of Meeting member Gordon Hirabayashi, though
originally decided against them by the Supreme Court, was later
vindicated when the Court reversed itself in 1988.
Another conscientious objector Arthur assisted was a young artist named
Morris Graves. Virginia, with her fine arts background, immediately
recognized what a fine artist he was and the friendship which developed
led not only to continuing professional representation of Graves but of
other artists as well, including Mark Tobey, who, like Graves became a
good friend. Often paid in paintings rather than cash, and guided by
Virginia’s taste, the Barnetts gathered a superb collection.
Though raising three sons, Gordon, John and Frederick and a daughter,
Molly, Virginia remained active in numerous organizations:
University Meeting, where among much else, she taught the
high-school-aged Sunday School class for several years; the Women’s
University Club, where she arranged a number of course sequences and
frequently gave book reviews; the AFSAC, where she was much involved in
organizing yearly Interracial Family Camps and then was on the original
Indian Committee, visiting many northwest tribal groups to interview
high school students in hopes of aiding them to attend the University.
In 1963 after the death of the Regional Executive Secretary Harry Burkes
in a tragic auto accident, she became Acting Executive Secretary while a
replacement was sought. She served until 1965 when John Sullivan was
appointed to that position.
In 1962, again for the Indian Committee she was central to the group who
collected, for exhibition and sale, Indian craft materials from all over
the U.S. both to call attention to the work of many highly successful in
both its aims, receiving considerable attention in the Seattle press. In
addition to her work in the region, Virginia also served on the AFSC’s
National Board and carried out at least one assignment that led to her
visiting most of the other regional offices.
In 1960 the Barnetts had moved from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. They
had spent summers there for some years and found it an easy commute to
their Seattle obligations. They gave up their summer cabin and bought a
home on Fletcher Bay where they then proceeded to develop a community on
the acreage around them. Calling it Fox Cove Lane, they provided lots
for a number of homes, including one they built for themselves with
ample wall space to display their fine paintings.
It was in the Barnett home that the Bainbridge Island worship group
first met, the group which ultimately developed into Agate Passage
Meeting. Virginia remained active with them as long as her health
permitted, though she retained her membership in University Meeting when
Agate Passage was established, no longer able to be active in either.
For a number of years in the 70s and 80s Virginia arranged tours for
small groups of interested friends. She and Arthur led such tours to
Hawaii which she knew well, having frequently visited her brother there,
to Alaska and to Europe, the last of these concentrating on art
galleries. They kept their friendship with Mark Tobey, visiting him in
Switzerland after he moved there.
Virginia’s mind remained sharp while Arthur’s memory began to fail and
she now dependent on a wheelchair, they moved to a care facility on
Bainbridge. She stayed on there for a time after Arthur’s death in 2003,
but it then seemed best that she move to a facility in Turlock to be
near one of her sons. These last years were unhappy ones for her.
Arthur’s death was followed quickly by that of their daughter and this
second blow was almost more than she could bear. She missed her
Bainbridge community and longed to return, though she knew it was not
possible. Her sons visited regularly and her Turlock daughter-in-law
gave her loving attention, but she spent most of her time with others
with whom she found little in common. She who had spent her life
discussing books and ideas found herself as she quietly complained with
women who had little interest beyond bingo.
Virginia’s last few months were spent in hospice care. She is survived
by her son’s eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. She had
been away from her Meeting for so long that only a few remain active
there who had the privilege of knowing her. For those few, that
privilege is a cherished memory.