Mary Emma (Painter) Hibbard
Mary Emma, 93, died January 19, 2013, at the Wesley Homes in Des Moines, Washington. Mary Emma was born in 1919 in Poplar Ridge, New York, to Margaret (Hardin) and Levinus Painter. She grew up in small communities in New York State and Vermont in which her father served Quaker congregations. She graduated from Northfield Seminary (high school) and Ohio Wesleyan College and did graduate studies in social work at Western Reserve University.
She married Gene Hibbard June 13, 1943. She embraced her role as minister’s wife by being a true partner with him in the churches and communities they served in Ohio, Manson and Summit (Tacoma), Washington, and Kellogg, Idaho. She not only taught Sunday School classes, but also trained teachers and published monthly articles for small church school programs. Her major accomplishment was raising their five children, encouraging creativity through craft projects, music and puppets and a love of nature through walks through woods and camping.
Later, she became very active in organizations that promoted peace and international understanding. She was instrumental in starting the Western Washington American Youth Hostel Council, establishing hostels in the region, and serving on the Western Regional and National AYH Boards. She hosted international travelers through SERVAS and provided leadership in the organization locally and nationally. She was an active member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Methodist Church Women United, and CROP Walks for Hunger. The Quaker values of her earlier years guided her throughout her life in her relations with others and her commitment to social justice.
She was an exuberant traveler, expanding from family cross-country trips to becoming a world traveler and advocate for international understanding. She and Gene organized and led 5 tour groups to China, where Gene had grown up, and a SERVAS tour to New Zealand and Australia, in addition to travel to Egypt, Costa Rica, Cuba, Japan, and Europe.
Predeceased by her husband of 64 years, Gene (Eugene) Hibbard, Mary Emma is survived by her 5 children, Aileen (Allan) Nettleton of Madison, Wisconsin, Nancy (Don) Michlitsch of Rapid City, South Dakota, Larry Hibbard (Mary Murphy) of Manson, Washington, Dianne Hibbard of Vancouver, Washington, and Allen (Nora) Hibbard of Murfreesboro, Tennessee; grandchildren, Anna Forsberg, Greg Nettleton, Gretchen, Michael and Mark Michlitsch, Laura and Linda Hibbard, Dashiell and Alexandra Hibbard; 8 great-grandchildren, Elliot Forsberg, Jasper, Violet and Finn Nettleton, Kirsten Hillary, and Mason, Cody and Brooklyn Michlitsch; and her brother, Robert Painter.
A memorial service was held at the Wesley Terrace Auditorium, February 4, 2013. Memorials may be made to the American Friends Service Committee, AFSC Development, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 or to the service project of your choice.
Published in The Highline Times February 8, 2013