PLYMOUTH — A memorial service will be scheduled in June 2012 in Plymouth, VT. For Susan H. Webb, 103, co-founder of the Farm & Wilderness Camps, who died on Sept. 9, 2011.
Of the many activities in her rich and full life, Susan Howard Webb is best known for co-founding the Farm & Wilderness Camps in Plymouth, VT, with her husband, Kenneth Webb. When they established the camps in 1939, they were convinced of the merits of Quaker educational systems and the importance of teaching values such as simplicity, equality, tolerance, and peace. Early in the camps history, they championed diversity in their camper base.
Susan was the director of the girls’ camp, Indian Brook, for 30 years. She was beloved by generations of campers and their families. She was the pragmatic half of the partnership with her visionary husband, and retained an active interest in the workings of the camps after they incorporated them as the Farm & Wilderness Foundation in 1972. Today, the camps comprise the six residential camps, the day camp, Family Camp, and winter internship program.
With her husband, Susan co-authored several books about summer camping in the context of experiential education. These include Summer Magic and Beyond Our Wildest Dreams (a history of Farm & Wilderness). Articles she wrote were also published in Parents and American Camping magazines.
Upon retirement, Susan won a seat in the Vermont State Legislature, serving as a Representative from 1973 – 1980, chairing the committees on Health and Welfare and Education. These committee assignments reflected her deep commitment to the well being of children and to social justice. She also demonstrated this commitment through her service on the boards of the Baird Children’s Center, the Executive Committee of the New England Regional Office of the American Friends Service Committee, Vermont Churchwomen United, Adelphi/Vermont, the Vermont Council on Social Concerns, and the Vermont State Committee of the United States Civil Rights Commission. She helped to establish the Office of Aging in northern Windsor County. She offered further service to her beloved Vermont in her role as President of the Board of Directors of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation in Plymouth.
Susan and her identical twin sister, Harriet were born on August 18, 1908, in Burlington, VT, to Harry Stinson Howard and Sue Emma Hertz Howard. Susan received her B.A. from the University of Vermont and a Master’s degree in Classics from Radcliffe Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She married Kenneth Beals Webb in 1932.
Susan mentored or taught in kindergarten or Sunday school numerous Vermont politicians. She and her twin loved to tell stories of how one twin took the place of the other for very good reasons: Susan went to a job interview as Harriet because Harriet was still in England; Harriet greeted campers on the opening day of camp because Susan was caring for her children who had measles. Her sayings outlive her: “She’s a comfortable camper,” “She’s such a delightful child,” “Parents send us their most treasured possessions,” and, above all, “Be ladylike but firm.”
Susan’s husband predeceased her in 1984, her son-in-law Robert Hammond in1998 and her sister in 2004. Susan leaves her three children Susan (Sukie) Hammond of DC, Robert (Rob) Webb and his wife Sonja Johansson of Lincoln, MA, and Martha (Miki) Webb of Las Cruces, NM, as well as 8 grandchildren (Kristi and Meg Webb, Susan and David Hammond, Mike and Lissa Webb, Sarah and Rebecca Johansson Locke) and 7 great-grandchildren (Caleb and Sophie Love-Webb, Danny and Alex Baker, Toby and Lena J.L. Sillman and Sage Webb-Wallace)
Memorial contributions may be made to www.farmandwilderness.org.
This obituary first appeared in the September 29th print edition of the Vermont Standard.
To leave condolences, thoughts or stories, please comment below.
To see more obituaries click here.