Today’s post is in honor of my grandmother, Marie Deemer, who passed away in January at the age of 95. This past week, we traveled to Quakertown Pennsylvania, where her second husband Walter Deemer was buried after his death in 1993.
My grandmother was a fairly remarkable woman: a Doctor of Biochemistry long before women were accepted in the sciences, she volunteered much of her time as well, and had an amazing array of interests, hobbies, and skills. She was not one for many words – a quality I share – but that was only because she tended to eschew the surface discussions and focus on deeper issues. She had a love of art that manifested itself in a really impressive private collection. She spent the two decades between Walter’s death and her own at the Charlestown retirement community in Catonsville Maryland where she helped run the community library, tutored children, and kept herself busy. She stayed amazingly sharp right up to the end, even as her body failed around her. I miss her, but am glad she is at rest now.
The Richland Friends Meeting House Burial Ground, where her ashes were buried, is a relatively small cemetery with around 700 interments. Her headstone is indicative of the ceremony as a whole; small markers, unassuming, as one would expect from a Quaker burial ground. Interestingly, there is also a second burial ground, smaller and on a different lot, which we were told was the African American burial ground. This seems odd for the Quakers, who historically have been fairly progressive in areas of racial equality and justice; I’m doing some research on this now and may put up something on it later.