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Memorials: Port Townsend Friends Meeting

Ethel Haller

Date of birth

Jan. 7, 1926

Date of death

Feb. 17, 2021


Port Townsend Friends Meeting

Memorial minute

Ethel C.M. Haller died February 17, 2021 in Port Townsend, Washington in the company of her beloved family members Stefanie and Michelle, Ethel’s amazing caregiver Dominica, and her loyal companion dog Pippin. She was 95 years of age.

Ethel, the youngest of four children, was born January 7, 1926, to Mabel Cartland Moody and Chester Alfred Moody in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She grew up in New Hampshire on her family’s small farm and she attended elementary school in a one-room red brick schoolhouse nearby. The farm, the woods, and the house she presided over as the youngest, often much-favored child, fed many happy stories of her time there.

Ethel attended Boston College where she took art classes. She married David Dunham and had two children, moving to the Seattle area in the late 1940’s. In 1952, she married her second husband Jack Haller. During the next ten years, Ethel worked for Children’s Orthopedic Hospital and University Hospital where she was in charge of the business office. Ethel’s parents moved from New England to live with the family, as did Jack’s step daughter Karen.

Ethel was a birthright Quaker through her mother’s lineage, a designation that always was important to her. Ethel was reunited with the Friends upon discovering University Friends Meeting in Seattle. In 1962, the family of seven moved to Pasadena, California, to work for the American Friends Service Committee. Over the years, she was involved in University Friends Meeting in Seattle, Mendocino California MM, Santa Fe New Mexico MM, Las Cruces New Mexico MM, and finally back to Washington to Marysville Worship Group and Eastside Friends Meeting. After Jack’s death in 2002, Ethel moved to Port Townsend and became a beloved member of the Monthly Meeting there.

Ethel cherished and personified Quaker values. She supported Quaker process and discernment, seeking that of God in each and every person, and had a strong commitment to Meeting as beloved community.

Her life was one of social activism on the large and small level, including the care and support of disenfranchised individuals and groups as well as political action at the state and national level.

As Japanese families were returning from incarceration after WWII, Ethel was part of a group of Seattle Quakers, led by Floyd Schmoe, who painted over “No Japs Wanted” and other signs in front of Japanese families’ homes; her comment about this was “this is just what we do.” While in Houston, Ethel chose to have surgery in a Black hospital with a Black surgeon. Later, work with the American Friends Service Committee took Ethel and Jack on so many adventures: to Texas to work with Fair Employment Practices before any federal civil rights legislation had been passed; to Montana to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation where Ethel helped set up a public library, and sales outlets for beading work and other crafts; to New Hampshire to The Meeting School where she and Jack acted as House Parents and she taught Native American culture classes. Later, Ethel and Jack worked as caretakers of the Santa Fe, NM Meeting House and Ethel managed an import store to benefit UNICEF there.

Within every Friends Meeting of which Ethel was a part she was an active participant and an elder in the best sense. Notable leadings of hers helped one Meeting find their way from Worship Group to Monthly Meeting. Another leading helped form Quakerism classes to guide new attenders in Friends’ values and toward membership. In Port Townsend Friends Meeting she served as a rock-solid presence of the Spirit. In one particularly memorable ministry she said that she saw each attender as one teepee pole amongst many—who only by leaning on each other are able to provide support and shelter for the whole beloved community.

Ethel C.M. Haller is survived by her two children, Stefanie Roth and Whitman Dunham, and three grandchildren.