Memories of Anne Kriebel

[slideshow_deploy id=’1447′]Long-time Beacon Hill Friends House Director, Anne Kriebel, passed away July 9, 2015 at the age of 90. We invite BHFH alumni and friends to share their memories of Anne in the comments section of this post. Holly Baldwin (Director), Keith Snyder (Assistant Director with Anne), and Jim Grace (alum) share their memories to get us started. For those who are able to gather in greater Boston or greater Philadelphia, Anne’s family and Meetings are holding two memorial services: October 17, 1pm  at Friends Meeting at Cambridge in Cambridge, MA. October 24, 11am at Westfield Friends Meeting  in Cinnaminson, NJ.

Dear friend and colleague, wise and trusted mentor:  Anne was all of these and more for both Lolly and me while living and working with her at Friends House in the 1980s. Just as residents forge close and enduring bonds, so were we, as directors and spouses, called upon to live in harmony and set the tone for the community. From the beginning, Anne and I were a team, supported by our respective partners, the late Bill Kriebel and my spouse Lolly Ockerstrom. Forthright in her opinions, Anne had a gift for servant leadership; I, along with others, was happy to follow.  When the House Committee had to make hard decisions to keep the House afloat, she gently but firmly guided the selection and sale of its furniture and artwork to a successful conclusion. Anne liked, as Lolly and I both did, to discuss House affairs over coffee on Charles Street. She had a lively sense of humor ready to lighten the load of responsibility. The years Lolly and I spent at Friends House with Anne and Bill are among our happiest memories. The bond among us was strong; when Anne and Bill left the House, we often visited them and shared many experiences. We mourn the loss of a beloved friend and fellow traveller. We are deeply grateful for her love and friendship at Friends House and beyond, and for her example of strength and dignity right up until the end of her journey. Thank you, Anne, for showing us the way.

Keith Snyder, Assistant Director, 1982-86

I connected with Anne at a deep level. We discussed together the problems of the world, laughed together at the amusing moments of life, and most of all cherished together the community of the house. She once told me that the hardest part of her job as director was saying goodbye to the residents who left each year. She believed that the annual departures would be the limiting factor in how long she stayed as BHFH director. She got to know each of us personally, and had a soft spot in heart for each resident. She was like a mother to us. I’m in the life stage now where my children are moving off to college, so I can imagine how that tugged at her each year. She really cared for each one of us, for who we were.

Jim Grace (Condict), alum, 1982-84

Anne Kriebel and I became acquainted when we became part of the same Meeting (Fresh Pond). We were attracted to each other through our connections to the Beacon Hill Friends House: she as a storied former BHFH Director, and I as a link to the current life of the house. We became fast friends, gathering regularly to swap stories about the house and other aspects of life, Quaker and otherwise. Anyone who has worked at BHFH can tell you how critical it is to have a good support system outside the community. Anne became the anchor of my support committee, understanding the ins and outs of this special job like no one else could. Her wise counsel helped in all sorts of situations. Recently, I was struggling with a choice between a memorial service in my family and a very important meeting I was supposed to clerk. She counseled me swiftly and firmly, saying, “I have one rule in times like this: Family first.” Her clarity and firmness were a help whenever I felt guilt about missing the big meeting.  And then there was the time several years ago, when the Beacon Hill Friends House was suffering the siege of the bedbugs. Anne sent me home with a care package of comic books to lighten the mood in the community. She was our number one fan, and I was hers. As I’ve spoken with alumni and Friends who knew Anne, it seems that she had that level of connection with everyone: an uncanny ability to connect quickly and deeply with you, and to make you feel known, loved and special.

Holly Baldwin, Director, 2006-present

6 thoughts on “Memories of Anne Kriebel

  1. Sharon Frame

    I was a resident and employee of BHFH for a period of a few years, and Anne (and Bill) were very involved in BHFH while I was there. Anne always had time for me whenever something came up. My best story about Anne, though, was some fifteen years post-BHFH. I had moved to Pennsylvania and hadn’t seen her since I had moved. I went to worship at Fresh Pond Meeting, and she was near the door when I arrived. SHARON FRAME, she exclaimed, without a second’s hesitation, and with a welcome that inspires me to this day.

  2. Linda Jenkins
    Linda Jenkins says:

    I knew Anne and Bill through New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (NEYM), where they each served in many roles, including as presiding clerk, before I also served in that role. It was during my 3-year term as p. clerk that I so appreciated Anne’s practice of intense, instant presence: generally we would connect in the middle of some activity. She was instantly able to put a loving hand on my soul’s shoulder and zero in on the essence of the moment’s challenge while simultaneously including, embracing & acknowledging the most salient facets of the context in which I was laboring and trying to maintain awareness of God. We’d exchange a few brief sentences and I knew she saw and loved and supported me. I may have been able to briefly acknowledge her wisdom experience, that she’d been where I was, or close enough to empathically imagine the rest, and to acknowledge she was right on. So the connection was solidly reciprocal & that made it more powerful. But the gift was hugely to me. These were precious oases of grace that humbled and strengthened me. Later, when I was able to attend Fresh Pond Meeting, I attended a few of the Women’s Circle meetings when Anne was also there and it was a joy to learn more about her in the context of the laughing, crying, sighing and quieting sharings of that group. For me this active quality of Anne’s presence, noted by others here too, while uniquely of Anne, is also a hallmark of some long-time Quaker women. It was meeting and worshiping and working with such women, when I first sought out and visited Friends, that kept me returning to meeting, yearly & monthly. I think and hope Anne is pleased to be counted among them.

  3. Patsy Shotwell

    I was blessed by being Clerk of NEYM Permanent Board during the single year that Anne Clerked the sessions. Her wisdom, kindness and knowledge helped me greatly in my journey as a Friend. Her greatest gift to me however came when she visited my house and said,” Patsy you need a railing off this stoop.” Anne’s advice was always direct and valuable. The railing has been in place since and created a safe secure entry and exit for me and for my guests. I hope Anne knows this. Surely I think of her daily.
    She made wonderful soup too.!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Clifford Putney
    Clifford Putney says:

    Anne Kriebel was a wonderful woman who will be sorely missed. I remember as a resident of Beacon Hill Friends House when Anne stepped up in a period of transition in the early 1990s to run the place. She had run the House in the 1980s, and I have no doubt that she ensured its survival in that decade and the next. Anne was keen-witted, and she didn’t allow much to escape her gaze. She was also “gentle but firm,” as Keith Snyder says, and she proved that you can be a kind Quaker without being a doormat.

  5. David Szanto

    I was a resident at BHFH ’96-’98 while Anne was director. I have many fond memories of Anne… her competent leadership… her kindness. She will be missed.

  6. Rebecca Nebesar

    Milos and I are very lucky to have known Anne. She loved and supported us when we were BHFH residents in the early 1980’s. Her warmth, energy, good humor, common sense and her encouragement of our relationship helped us make the transition to marriage and parenthood. We kept up through the years with annual cards and a couple of visits in Lexington and Boston. We will always remember her, as will our children, who know the photograph of her, dressed as the Easter Bunny wearing an enormous papier mach head mask, holding our infant son Adam.

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