[pjw] Remembering Ann Huntwork: Saturday Oct. 21 and Sunday Oct. 22
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Tue Oct 10 19:56:44 EDT 2017
Friends of Peace and Justice:
Some of you on this list may have received notice by postal mail that
there are two memorials for our dearly departed Ann Huntwork coming up on
Saturday October 21 and Sunday October 22.
Here's what we wrote:
Two opportunities to remember Ann include a drop-in potluck event on
Saturday, October 21 from 4-7 PM at Peace House (2116 NE 18th), and a more
formal memorial on Sunday, October 22 at 2:30 PM at Westminster
Presbyterian Church (1624 NE Hancock).
Goudarz Eghtedari of the American Iranian Friendship Council (another of
Ann's many organizational affiliations) said this about Ann:
The incomparable Ann Huntwork passed away on September 23, 2017.
Ann was a 100% committed activist and she will be deeply missed by all of
us who were fortunate enough to know and work with her. Please join us
to pay respect to her memory and survived dear family!
He also forwarded a lengthy biography of Ann that was compiled by John
Schweibert of Peace House, which I have edited for brevity here.
And, as mentioned in a previous email, we will be remembering Ann during
the potluck portion of our fall quarterly Peace and Justice Works meeting
on Sunday November 19-- also at Peace House-- the potluck will be 12-12:30
and the meeting, which will include discussion of formally starting an
"Ann Huntwork Direct Action Memorial Fund" at PJW, will go from
12:30-2:15. And, incidentally, in my first email about Ann I said she was a
board member here from 2004-2009, neglecting to note she was also on the
board from 1999-2003, so that was a total of 9 years...
peace and justice works
Ann Huntwork 1931-2017
Billie Ann Blakely was born in 1931, during the Great Depression that
followed the 1929 market crash.
Although Ann experienced childhood poverty, she has fond memories of her
early childhood because her family lived in a multicultural environment
where neighbors respected and helped each other.
The expanded family moved to Beverly Hills which, though not so glitzy as
it later became, offered greater opportunities for employment. Ann
graduated from Beverly Hills High school in 1948. She enrolled at the
University of California's branch in what is now Santa Cruz but later
obtained her bachelor's degree at UC Berkeley in 1952.
Eager for new experiences, she applied for an opportunity to live and work
in China for a year. This was after she had discussed marriage with a man
named Hans Schmidt, who promised to wait for her return from China when he
would marry her and they would begin a life together. When the plans to go
to China fell through Ann decided instead to accept a 3 year work
assignment in the Philippine Islands doing work with youth under the
auspices of the United Church of the Philippines, even though Hans decided
that if work was more important to Ann than their marriage he was
unwilling to wait three more years for her. He then terminated their
After her sojourn in the Philippines Ann enrolled in Union Theological
Seminary in New York City and received a Master of Divinity Degree before
returning to Berkeley.
While in Berkeley Ann met Bruce Huntwork who had just graduated from
Medical School at UC Berkeley. Together they made plans to move to Iran
where they were married in 1958 as they began a five-year term working at
the first of three hospitals operated by the Presbyterian Mission Board and
becoming fluent in Farsi, the primary language spoken in Iran.
Their first three daughters, Karen, Laurie, and Dawn were born in Iran.
When their five-year term was completed in 1963 the family traveled
extensively in Asia, Korea, and Japan before settling in Detroit, Michigan
where Bruce furthered his medical education at the Henry Ford Hospital and
Ann was a volunteer in the hospital's daycare center. During that time
Ann also studied community organizing under Saul Alinsky.
The family attended a small multi-cultural church about a block from their
house, and there Ann became radicalized through her involvement in
interracial justice activities that she describes as "a precursor to the
current Black Lives Matter movement." Her radicalization was enhanced
also by the Detroit Riots that took place in 1967 while they were still
living in that city. It was during this time that they increased the size
of their family by adopting an African American boy, Tim.
Bruce and Ann decided to return to Iran in 1966 to serve a second
five-year term with the Presbyterian Mission Board. There Ann gave birth
to their fourth daughter Colleen. When their term in Iran ended In 1971,
the family lived for a brief time in Louisville, Kentucky where they
completed their family by adopting their sixth child, a Korean named
The whole family then moved to Portland Oregon where Bruce became a surgeon
in the Kaiser Permanente Health Maintenance Organization. Ann enrolled in
graduate studies at Portland State University and in time received a
Master's Degree in Social Work, with skills that afforded her the
opportunity to secure employment with Kaiser Permanente as well.
Almost immediately upon their return to the United States, the two became
active in protests against their country's involvement in the Vietnam War
and the excesses of the U.S. military industrial complex. They became
military tax resisters, at first refusing to pay the military portion of
their federal income tax and instead redirecting their payments to
non-governmental organizations that were devoted to humanitarian causes.
Later, after seeing the ways that non-military parts of their income tax
were being used to support torture by the government of Iran, and other
atrocities, they started redirecting 100% of their tax liability. They
also became active in a local World Peacemaker group with other people of
faith who were also practicing military tax resistance and redirection.
In 1986 they joined with five other Christian military tax resisters to
form a communal household--the 18th Avenue Peace House--which continues
to thrive after more than three decades. At the same time, the seven
Peace House residents helped form a new peace-and-justice focused
congregation known as Metanoia Peace Community United Methodist Church.
Ever since 1978 when San Francisco City Commissioner Harvey Milk was
assassinated because of his sexual orientation Ann had developed a new
interest in problems faced by lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and in problems
related to the AIDS epidemic. She continued her advocacy for rights for
sexual minority person in Portland and for their full acceptance by the
churches to which she belonged. For several years she volunteered, in
retirement, as a social worker at Our House, and AIDS hospice in Southeast
Ann was also a volunteer for Health Help, the free clinic connected with
St Andrew Catholic Church, and the Middle East Studies Center at Portland
Ann continued to be involved in protest actions involving non-violent
direct action and civil disobedience in opposition to US military
violence. In 2001, at the age of 70, she was arrested after illegally
entering the property of the School of the Americas in Fort Benning,
Georgia. She was tried for criminal trespass and sentenced to six months
in the Women's Federal Prison in Dublin, California. Ann had positive
memories of her sojourn in prison where she made new friends and could
still enjoy occasional visits from her Portland friends and family.
Later Ann helped create a group of senior-citizen peace activist known as
the "Seriously Pissed Off Grannies." They were arrested several times;
during the US occupation of Iraq for sitting in rocking chairs as they
blocked entrances to the Armed Forces Recruiting Center on NE Broadway,
less than a half mile from the Peace House.
During her Portland years, she did not give up her interest and
involvement in social justice abroad. She traveled to Iraq, with Bruce,
to fulfill a short-term mission project with the Mennonite Central
Committee and later to Israel/Palestine to spend several weeks with a
Christian Peacemaker Team.
Ann and Bruce remained members of Westminster Presbyterian Church for more
than forty years. On the Sunday before her death Ann was the honored guest
at a special event at the church celebrating her life of service and
Then Ann died suddenly on September 23, 2017, just two days after her 86th
birthday. Years of gradually failing health had caught up with her and
she died less than one hour after being enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente
Hospice Care Program.
In addition to Bruce who remains in the care of the 18th Ave Peace House
family, Ann is survived by her 6 children, 8 grandchildren, 6 great
grandchildren and the 11 other current members of her Peace House family.
(Prepared by John Schwiebert)
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