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↑ Return to REMEMBERING OLD LESBIANS

IN REMEMBRANCE…

Lee Freilinger May 2003 | Andy Marchant  January 2006 | Mary Meigs November 2002 |

Betty Shoemaker July 2002 | Shevy Healey December 2001


Lee Freilinger
May 2003

Those who attended the 1996 Gathering in Minneapolis will remember Lee, the woman who arranged a remarkably orderly transportation from the airport to Minneapolis, which we have not been able to achieve since.  She died on May 8, 2003. She was concerned about and worked on issues related to women, particularly alcoholism and battering.

by Annalee Stewart, 75

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Anyda Marchant
1911-2006

Marchant, who died in January 2006, was born in Brazil and moved to Washington, DC as a child. As a lawyer, Marchant served the World Bank as an attorney in the Legal Department for 18 years. After retiring in 1972, Marchant, under the pen name of Sarah Aldridge, and her partner of 57 years, Muriel Crawford, started Naiad Press. 11 Aldridge novels were produced along with a wide selection of other feminist and lesbian literature. Her last publishing enterprise (A&M Books) was release of the novel Celebrating Hotchclaw by literary icon Ann Allen Shockley in 2005.

Carol Seajay, former editor of the Feminist Bookstore News, wrote this to Marchant: “Anyda, it was your vision of a possible world in your first lesbian novel and your vision that we could have such books, and your vision and skills that launched our first, grand lesbian publishing house — and published books that have gone out all over the world, changed countless women’s lives, given hope and opened doors.”

A lengthy article about Marchant’s life and the importance of her accomplishments appeared in the Washington Post on Tuesday, February 7, 2006.

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Mary MeigsMary Meigs
November 2002

With great sadness OLOC mourns the passing of Mary Meigs at age 85 on November 15, 2002, at her home in Montreal. Those who attended the OLOC Gathering in San Francisco will remember her as a presenter on the Death and Dying panel. She was a long-time member and generous supporter of OLOC. In addition to her work as a writer and artist, she will be remembered for her starring role in the documentary film “Strangers in Good Company.”  Her books include “The Medusa Head,””The Box Closet,””Lily Briscoe: A Self Portrait,””In the Company of Strangers” (about the making of the film) and “The Time Being,” (an autobiographical love story about two old lesbians). At the time of her death she was working on a new book about aging titled “Beyond Recall.” She will be greatly missed by her friends in the OLOC community. Her ashes will join those of other women she loved in the urn in the Peace Garden at Sugarloaf Women’s Village.

by Sally Duplaix

More about Mary Meigs at http://www.brynmawr.edu/library/speccoll/guides/meigs.shtml

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Betty Shoemaker
July 2002

Elizabeth (Betty) Shoemaker was a member of the first ad hoc committee, which met in San Diego,1989. After preparing a mission statement we decided on a name that ultimately became Old Lesbians Organizing for Change (OLOC). Betty served on the OLOC Steering Committee for over a year.

Betty Shoemaker, a respected leader in the local lesbian community, died from pancreatic cancer at home in Santa Barbara in the arms of her loving partner, Vashte, on July 16, 2002. Betty was born in Philadelphia on July 7, 1918. Her life path took her from Philadelphia to San Francisco to Santa Fe and finally to Santa Barbara, where she lived her last twenty years. Along the way, this adventurous, courageous woman worked as a taxi driver during World War II, as an exhibition dancer for Arthur Murray, as a sardine packer, and eventually as an administrator at French Hospital in San Francisco.

She staunchly supported human rights, donating her time and resources to support the Black civil rights movement; feminism; the rights of gay, lesbian and transgendered people; recognition of the old; and the movement for world peace. Throughout the 1980s she provided an alcohol-free gathering place for lesbian events in her home, Starshadows. Betty owned and operated Choices bookstore, offering feminist, lesbian and gay literature to the community. As a member of OLOC, she worked tirelessly. For her last five years, she co-hosted, with Vashte, a weekly lesbian salon in their home, providing a forum for personal and political discussion and a welcoming environment for newcomers to the lesbian community. In 1984 and 1990 she was nominated as Woman of the Year and received the Liberty Award. In 2000 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gay and Lesbian Business Association.

Her courage showed in her eagerness to take a cruise down the Mexican Coast in June, when her health was failing. She and Vashte took the opportunity to get in the water and be kissed by a dolphin. She, who hated cold water, was in heaven–and how she enjoyed the gourmet food, as well as traveling on the ocean.

Just nine days before her death, Betty celebrated her 84th birthday, looking beautiful and serene, surrounded by many devoted friends and family members. She will be greatly missed for her humor, her intelligence, her generosity, her stubbornness, and her willingness to love almost anyone who needed nurturing.

Betty is survived by her life partner, Vashte Doublex, of Santa Barbara; her pets, Amber and Mocha; her older sister, Margaret Wark of Philadelphia; nieces and nephews; and many loving friends.

Donations in Betty’s honor can be made to the Pacific Pride Foundation; the Southern Poverty Law Center; the Live Oak Unitarian Church; the Santa Barbara Humane Society; and the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Caucus. These are only some of the many organizations she supported.

by Vera Martin, 1923

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Shevy Healey
December 2001

What Shevy has meant to us

Shevy Healey was born 29 January, 1922, in Russia and came to this country as a toddler around three years old with her mother and father. Very shortly after their arrival Shevy’s father passed away. She and her mother became a team of two. By the age of five Shevy was on street corners passing out flyers for the labor movement and social change. Shevy always told such wonderful stories about her childhood and growing up in the care of her mother.

I met Shevy in 1987 when plans were being made for the 1987 West Coast Celebration of old lesbians. At this time Shevy was a psychologist, with her practice in Santa Monica, California, and her home in Idlewood, California. We developed a lasting bond and remained in close touch until her death. Shevy was active and involved in many political and social issues most of the years prior to my meeting her. When we met, Shevy’s focus was onageism, and subsequently she was the force that organized OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change). This became a reality in November of 1989.

Shevy was the program chair for the first OLOC Summer Gathering held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1996. This was a memorable event and very successful. She was the keynote speaker at the 1999 Summer Gathering in San Francisco. OLOC was a terrific gift to old lesbians from Shevy. This organization has been and is still a major support system for old lesbians. We are most grateful to Shevy for her vision and focus. Many articles have been and are being written by numerous organizations about Shevy and her contributions to our society. Shevy left many articles, published and non-published, for our edification and enjoyment.

My purpose here is to acknowledge Shevy’s gift to us as old lesbians, to respect and cherish her presence while we had her with us and to keep in place the wonderful memories she left us as well as improvements in our lives. For me and others who worked closely with her over the years, we are making every effort to keep her dream alive and survive our loss.

Shevy passed away on 8 December, 2001, in Mesa, Arizona, at a rehabilitation facility following a heart attack and a seizure. She is survived by her daughter, Donna, her grandson, Alexander of Massachusetts, and her life partner, Ruth Silver, of Apache Junction, Arizona. The celebration of life for Shevy was held on 27 January, 2002, in Zolo Hall at the park where she and Ruth lived since 1994. Friends and family came from many places to honor Shevy’s life.

by Vera Martin, 1923

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Permanent link to this article: http://oloc.org/oloc-projects/remembering-old-lesbians/in-remembrance/