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Memorials: University Friends Meeting

Elizabeth Niaz (Liz) Bagshaw

Date of birth

May 27, 1933

Date of death

Dec. 6, 2017


University Friends Meeting

Memorial minute

Elizabeth Niaz Bagshaw died peacefully on December 6, 2017 at the age of 84.  She was born in Amsterdam, New York on May 27, 1933 to Rahim Ahmad Jallie and Margaret Joyce Foster.  During World War II, the family moved to Bremerton, Washington, where her father worked in the Navy shipyards.  At the start of her freshman year of high school, they moved to Seattle, where Liz attended Franklin High School and then the University of Washington where she was active in the YWCA, and a member of Mortar Board and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies.  She graduated in 1954 with honors and a B.A. in sociology.

She became involved in the American Friends Service Committee in 1954, when she participated in a summer project in New Mexico as a volunteer. She led Institutional Service Units in Pownal, Maine in 1955 and in Manhattan, NY in 1957.  All three projects involved work in mental hospitals. She continued volunteering with AFSC in Seattle in the 1960’s, and visited a work camp on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in Lame Deer, MT in 1961 as a “regional representative” from the Seattle office.

After graduation from the UW she worked for three years as Director of the University Y in Eugene, OR, where she became a member of Eugene Friends Meeting.  She then moved back to Seattle to work on her Master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Washington. In the early 1960s she worked as an advisor for international students at the UW for 4 years.  Some of those students became lifelong friends and spoke at her memorial.

On October 18, 1963, she and Bob Bagshaw were the first couple to be married in the then new University Friends Meetinghouse.  She wrote a thank you note to the Meeting, saying “Bob and I both felt our wedding was everything that we wanted or hoped for.” Their daughters, Margaret and Michelle, born July 18, 1965 and August 26, 1968 respectively, were added to Bob’s children, Paul and Ann, to make up their family.

Soon after they were married, Bob and Liz moved to the house in Montlake, where she lived until she died.  They were involved in the neighborhood, as it successfully fought the proposed R.H. Thompson Expressway, which was to run North from I-90 through the Central District, Montlake and the Arboretum.

University Meeting accepted Liz’s transfer of membership from Eugene Meeting on May 13, 1966.  Eugene does not have membership records that go back that far, but since Eugene became a monthly meeting in 1956, we expect she became a member there in 1956 or 57.   Juniorr. membership for Margaret and Michelle was approved in March 1974. Over the years, Liz served on committees, especially Finance, on which she served from 1987 – 1992, clerking it for part of that time.  Most recently she served on the Scholarship Committee.

She was absent from Meeting for a number of years.  In 2003 when Oversight Committee contacted inactive members, she responded that she had left because of the way she perceived the Meeting treated people who opposed same sex marriage, even though she, herself, had no problem with that issue.  She however would attend occasional events, such as memorials. More recently she had been attending Quarterly Meeting. She was particularly interested in the future of the Meetinghouse and attended the fall 2017 retreat about the future of the UFM campus.  

The family was very active, hiking, backpacking, skiing and swimming.  Arts and culture were lifelong interests – theater, dance, and opera. She was a person who loved people and engaged with all sorts.  She enjoyed hearing the perspectives of others, those with whom she agreed as well as those with differing ideas. She was also known for not being shy about speaking her mind.

The meeting room was filled for her memorial on January 6, 2018.  It was abundantly clear that she loved people and everything about them, and was loved by them in return.  Memories were shared by a wide range of friends and family members, including spouses of her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, neighbors, and the many people who felt she was their best friend.  Some knew her from political work, others from her neighborhood activism, others from her love of opera and the Opera Guild, or of plants and gardening. She was seen as one who walked her talk and lived her Quakerism. As one person said: “It is a blessing when we are in the presence of a person who can hold up the joy of connection to people and nature.”