George Willoughby, Quaker activist, 1914-2010

Repost of a War Resisters International article on George WIlloughby, Quaker peace activist that died this week. The original version is at I had an email chat w/WRI's Howard Clark after George's passing and know Bob Smith, the Philadelphia activist who wrote the piece, and I'm pretty sure they'd be fine with this reposting. If anyone knows of other remembrances, please add them in the comments. George and his wife Lillian were big influences on American liberal Quakerism and it's re-emphasis on the peace testimony from the 1950s on.

George Willoughby (December 9, 1914 – January 5, 2010) – Presente!
08 Jan 2010 — warresisters

George Willoughby died on 5 January 2010. He was 95. His death came just short of the one year anniversary of the passing of his wife and partner in peace, Lillian, who died on January 15, 2009, just a few feet from where George spent his last minutes.

George and Lil were always there for peace, and it seemed would always, like rocks, be there for us. They were our touchstones and our teachers. Now, both are gone.

In the year since Lil's death, George kept at being George, even planning for yet another trip to India next month. Lil and George had for nearly seventy years travelled the world teaching and conducting workshops in nonviolence. They travelled to India many times continuing the legacy of Gandhian nonviolence, to which I was first introduced by George and Lillian Willoughby in early 1968 prior to deciding to refuse to register for the draft that resulted in my first time in jail. I understand that now two of Lil and George's grandchildren will travel to India in his stead to dedicate a fund bearing Lillian's name.

Just after the publication in 2007 of A Biography of Lillian and George Willoughby: Twentieth-Century Quaker Peace Activists ( ) by Gregory A. Barnes, at a Brandywine Peace Community potluck supper and program there was a reading by the author that was followed by comments from the book's subjects: Lillian and George Willoughby. George had this wonderfully easy, albeit challenging, way of bringing all the theory of nonviolence down to earth where it belongs. I can still hear him saying rather matter-of-factly without bluster or self-consciousness "well, we saw the need to do something, so we did."

Lillian and George taught us the way peace is done. George Willoughby, Presente!

With love, Bob Smith, Staff, Brandywine Peace Community

Views: 98

Comment by Martin Kelley on 1st mo. 9, 2010 at 12:53pm
I followed up with my own remembrance, just posted to Quaker Ranter, "Remembering George Willoughby."


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