Henriette Groot

Date of Birth

April 28th, 1932

Date of Death

September 12th, 2019

Memorial Meeting

Central Coast Friends


Henriette was one of a kind. She was born in the Netherlands and lived through the Nazi occupation. Together with her family, she moved to Los Angeles in 1953. She went toUCLA graduate school to become a psychologist. She was welcomed, as a new foreign student, by the  Quakers. She never forgot that. When she got her degree in clinical psychology, she started work at the Veterans Administration in West Los Angeles and in Long Beach. She worked there until she retired at an early age. 

Henriette and her husband, Carlyle Mayes, had retired so they could sail around the world in a 35-foot Dutch-built wooden yawl named Barones. Henriette did the navigation and was the radio operator. They set out from Marina del Rey Harbor near Los Angeles in 1978. Over the next  17 years, they sailed west, intermittently, until they found harbor near Jacksonville, Florida. Their trip took them across the Pacific Ocean, stopping at many islands. She wrote a book called Come to My Village about their visit to a remote lagoon in the Solomon Islands. They also stayed for a while in Queensland, Australia where Henriette connected with local Quakers. 

Next, they sailed on to the Republic of South Africa. Henriette arrived just in time to attend the Yearly Meeting of South African Quakers, so she got acquainted with local Quakers right away. They stayed in South Africa for years. Henriette experienced the issues there around apartheid,  both as a person of the Netherlands with Boer relatives and as a Quaker with deep concerns about the racial divide. She experienced these issues through the filter of her Quaker testimonies and published a book sharing those experiences called Zebras for Table Mountain: Journal of a Visit to South Africa

While in South Africa, Henriette and Carlyle overhauled their boat in South Africa. Then they sailed to the coast of north Florida and lived there for several years. Henriette became part of Jacksonville Meeting and Southeastern Yearly Meeting. Finally, the couple transported their  boat in a truck across the country to San Luis Obispo County. 

After the death of her husband, Henriette attended and became a vital part of the San Luis Obispo Worship Group for many years. During that time, she saw it join with other local worship groups to become the Central Coast Friends Monthly Meeting. 

Henriette shared her love of the sea and her sailboat with the meeting and took young people and adults from the meeting out sailing. She was a sailing mentor, due to her vast experience, and willingly shared her knowledge. She was also active on the Peace and Social Concerns  Committee and served as Clerk of the Meeting in the late 1990s. She also served on the Nominating Committee of Pacific Yearly Meeting and hosted retreats and committee meetings at her home. 

Henriette was generous in opening her home for Central Coast Friends functions. After many years of living in small spaces, she enjoyed her new house and was able to display her collection of art gathered from her many travels. She felt sad when she made the decision to give her boat to a family member but became active in many local groups such as Mothers for Peace, the Morro Bay Yacht Club and a local ham radio club. She was among one of the many who contributed to the planned future closing of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. She always kept her beloved llamas in her yard and had a dog and cat to keep her company. In her later years, she gained a roommate, Chris Nelson, who was a great help and a source of good cheer for her. She was a prodigious reader and well versed in many different subjects. 

Henrietteā€™s health became an issue in her last few years, but she struggled to maintain herself, had a good sense of humor, and continued to enjoy her friends and her many interests right up to the end. She died at home, supported by Hospice staff and surrounded by friends and family. 

She will be missed.