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

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