Lynn Waddington

Date of Birth

November 1st, 1940

Date of Death

October 1st, 2009

Memorial Meeting

University Friends Meeting


Lynn Edith Waddington, beloved member of University Friends Meeting, died in October 2009 after several years of living with pulmonary fibrosis, clearly terminal from its onset. With remarkable serenity and acceptance she provided us all with a model for graceful dying.

Born in November 1940 in Salem, New Jersey, Lynn was the third of four children of Mabel Crouch Pancoast and William Morris Waddington. Growing up in Salem Meeting, Lynn, with twelve generations of Quaker ancestors, found her spiritual home in Quakerism. The storms of the Delaware Bay and the richness of the natural world fostered her early mystical life. This, in turn, inspired her legacy of creativity.

Lynn graduated in 1958 from George School, the Quaker boarding school north of Philadelphia, and in 1962 from Maryville College in Tennessee, While in college she started a worship group on campus and attended meeting in Knoxville. She later earned a Master’s Degree in theater arts from Sonoma State University in California and taught there for a time.

Lynn’s daughter, Kindred Gottlieb, was born in 1973. A few years later Lynn and Kindred’s father separated amicably.

With Sonoma State arts and psychology colleagues Lynn founded and taught in the Expressive Arts cluster school, based on a community of artists in residence and offering a bachelor’s degree. She did further graduate work in humanistic psychology, wrote and directed plays, and studied Jung, dreams, and creativity. She co-founded and ran Venerable Classics, an objects and sculpture restoration house in Santa Rosa, until she developed Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the radiation treatments for which were devastating.

Having transferred her membership to Redwood Forest Meeting in Santa Rosa, Lynn served there as clerk in the early 1990s. In 1993 she left California to join her partner, Margaret Sorrel, in Seattle, transferring her membership to University Friends Meeting (UFM) in 1995. The next year Lynn and Margaret were married under the care of UFM.

At UFM Lynn served on the Worship and Ministry Committee and clerked the Adult Religious Education Committee, reviving the now-thriving adult study hours. Lynn’s contributions to the UFM community are remembered especially for her insight and wisdom that arose from her long experience and rich heritage in Quakerism.

She gifted the wider world of Quakerism through service on the Boards of John Woolman School and Friends Journal. She was instrumental in bringing the 2006 gathering of Friends General Conference to the West.

Lynn produced three videos, Right Sharing for the Right Sharing of World Resources, Friends House Moscow, for that entity, and When God was Female, based on her studies of stone-age sculptures. She produced more than fifty Paleolithic and Neolithic sculptures, exhibiting them and lecturing and writing on what their cultures tell us about a more caring and peaceful way to live.

Much of this activity occurred after the further collapse of Lynn’s health in 2001. Breast cancer, almost certainly caused by the earlier radiation treatments, was treated by a harsh regimen of chemotherapy. This, in turn, led to diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis, Lynn’s final illness.

In 2005 Lynn and Margaret moved to the beautiful home they had built on Whidbey Island. From there they were active in the Whidbey Island Worship Group under the care of the Port Townsend Meeting, though they retained their membership in UFM.

Living with this terminal illness in her last three years was a rich time for Lynn and those around her. Lynn became a grandparent, wrote about her experience of God’s presence in her life, and traveled to nearby Friends Meetings to share her experience of approaching death. In July 2009 she was able to travel to North Pacific Yearly Meeting’s annual session in Missoula. Lynn kept her fine sense of humor, insisting that her obituary ought to begin with the words: “after years of threatening to do so, she finally kicked the bucket.” She taught us much about conscious dying.

Lynn is survived by her partner, Margaret Sorrel, her daughter Kindred Gottlieb (Antony) and granddaughter Genevieve, Margaret’s sons Brendan and Ethan Sorrelgreen (Judy) and grandson Milo as well as her three Waddington siblings and many nieces and nephews. She leaves us all in her debt.