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Memorials: South Mountain Friends Meeting

Barbara Boggs

Date of birth

June 11, 1921

Date of death

May 16, 2013


South Mountain Friends Meeting

Memorial minute

Barbara M. Boggs was born on June 11, 1921 in Cedarville, Modoc County, California.  She lived there with her parents until she was almost three years old.  Her home was a one-room homesteader’s cabin shared with a younger sister. This was a desert claim, farmed for alfalfa and winter wheat, harvested with a team of horses and one mule.

The family eventually moved to Las Vegas, where Barbara graduated from high school in 1938 . Las Vegas weathered the depression better than most, due to the building of the nearby Hoover Dam.  Barbara remembered visiting frequently as construction was completed during her father’s employment there.

After graduation from High School, Barbara attended a photography school in Los Angeles and from 1940-1943 worked in a photo studio in Ashland, Oregon, where she had family.  At that time she was motivated to serve her country. Barbara enlisted in the Women’s Army Corp.  Working in the chaplain’s office influenced her to go into religious education.  With the help of the GI Bill, she earned a degree in psychology at William Jewell College in Missouri, followed by a year of special training in social group work, Christian education, Bible study, and nursery school education.  Her interest in spiritual education led her to volunteer for service to the Methodist church.  She spent five years in Robstown, Texas teaching preschool and English to Spanish-speaking children.

It was during this period she decided to become a social worker.  Barbara enrolled in the Boston University School of Social Work.  Her choice of Boston was influenced by her love of early American history.  She spent ten years in Boston, working in a settlement house and a family service agency. Her drive for service included the Methodist church and community organizations.

Barbara loved Boston and her work there, but she also loved the spirit and outdoor opportunities of the West.  She moved west in 1969, in part to be closer to her family.   

After seeking work unsuccessfully in Las Vegas and in Ashland, Barbara accepted a position in the Linn County Mental Health Clinic in Albany, Oregon in 1969, and worked there for nineteen years. From a life of concerts, theater, sports events and touring colonial sites, Barbara’s recreation became camping, fishing, and visiting ghost towns, Indian country, and western historic and scenic sights. She belonged to “Wild Women Adventures,”  group of adventurous women.  In 1978 she acquired a duplex, where she could enjoy her garden and all the activities of canning and sharing abundance.  At her retirement in 1987, she was honored by her colleagues for her dedication, humor, and “no nonsense matter-of-fact, yet supportive approach to counseling.”

It was in Albany that Barbara found Quakers, being invited by a friend to visit the Friends Meeting in nearby Corvallis, where she soon became a regular attender. Her membership in Corvallis Friends Meeting, was approved April 1, 1984, and it is noted that she joined by convincement. During the 26 years of her membership, she was an active and central member of Corvallis Friends Meeting, frequently reporting to Meeting for Business as the clerk or a member of a committee. Barbara was a member of the oversight committee for Boise Valley Friends as they went through worship group and meeting formation under the care of Corvallis Meeting.  She regularly attended quarterly and yearly meeting sessions, and was a particularly enthusiastic planner for the spring campout at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, which Corvallis held jointly with Boise Valley Friends.  She happily camped and picnicked with meeting members at the Oregon Coast.   At potlucks in the fall she was famous for the plentiful grapes shared from her back yard.

Her passion for Peace  was not just local, but expanded to Russia, where she traveled with other Quakers to encourage and support woman activists to work for universal peace.

In 2010, she moved to the Avamere Assisted Living facility in Medford, Oregon, to be near a sister. She transferred her membership to South Mountain Friends Meeting in nearby Ashland on June 13, 2010. Failing in body but not in mind or spirit, she continued to attend regularly, becoming a solid anchor for Meeting for Worship and often contributing witty and valuable remarks to adult education discussions. Barbara made her transition on May 16, 2013 at 91 years of age, shortly after falling and breaking her hip. She moved quickly and efficiently on to her next opportunity.  That was her style.

Her goal was to bring about change for Good, finding joy in what lay before her and  meeting it with humor and enthusiasm and simplicity. “I enjoyed every kind of life I had,” she reported. The outdoor adventuring; the Spiritual expansion of understanding; the call to serve;  the eye for beauty;  the love of challenge, the willingness to work for change at any level, the spirit of loving kindness through it all; made Barbara Boggs a Friend that’s sweet to remember, and a model for her Friends who knew and loved her.

Barbara is survived by her sister Katherine Cook in Gold Hill, Oregon. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Lois Boggs Sargent, and her brother Franklin Boggs, Jr.