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Mary Hopkins

April 20, 1928



Born April 20, 1928

Died October 18, 2019


Mary Caroline Reed Hopkins was born on April 20,1928 in Boston, MA to Virginia Rodman Reed and Frances (Bus) Cables Reed.  She is survived by her children Randolph Byrd Hopkins of Little Rock AR, Virginia Laurel Hopkins of Kennett Square, PA, Elizabeth Bond Hopkins Renaghan of N. Falmouth, MA and Naples, FL; her grandchildren, of Little Rock, AR, Catherine Hopkins Tidwell and Elizabeth Blackshaw, and her great-grandchildren, Anna and Bryce Blackwell. She is also survived by her younger sister, Elizabeth Anne (Betsy) Wilson. She was predeceased by her son, William Reed Hopkins. 

Mary grew up in Short Hills, NJ. The family moved to Charlottesville, VA in the early 1940s when Mary’s father went to work for the Pentagon during World War II.  Mary attended the Shipley School for Girls in Bryn Mawr PA, Finch Junior College in Manhattan, and graduated from Smith College in 1951.  She married Byrd Hopkins in 1951 while she was in college and he was in the Navy and after her graduation they lived in Berkeley, CA, San Diego, CA, and Levittown, NY.  By that time they had two children.  When Byrd left the Navy, they moved to the small New England town of Hampden, MA and had two more children (4 children in five years). In Hampden, Mary was active in the school PTAs and Town Hall Meetings.  In the late 1960s, with 2 preteens and 2 teens in the house, Mary took a job with the Northern Educational Service (NES) in Springfield, MA where she was a Counseling Coordinator between the public schools and disadvantaged students. A few years later, still working for NES and now living in Longmeadow, MA with 4 teens, she was an active protester against the Vietnam War. 

Beginning in the early 1960s, Mary regularly attended the Friends' Conference on Religion and Psychology and studied Jungian psychology.  She was an English major in College, but after her marriage ended in 1971, she increasingly became involved in religious thought, psychology, feminism, and social work.  She also became a Quaker, joining the Mount Toby Monthly Meeting.  In 1977 she earned an MSW from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.  From 1977 to 1981, she worked as a medical social worker for Sacred Heart Hospital in Chester, PA and in private practice.  She was a long-time participant in the Round Table Associates, an Association for Analytical Psychology in the Delaware Valley. 

In the 1980s, Mary became deeply interested in a search for female identity through symbols, and researched the images of women in art from cave drawings to modern art, creating an extensive collection of slides.  After leaving the social work profession, she developed a series of slide lectures on female symbols and the lack of a female iconography created by women; she presented these talks in many forums, including Quaker, feminist, and Jungian groups. She was also active in the Women’s Caucus for Art and worked for three years as a national administrator for the organization.  Her research evolved into a workshop entitled “Exploring Women's Spirituality Through Art History” in six parts, five of which were made into a video series entitled “Woman and Her Symbols,” later combined and named “Revisioning the Sacred.” 

An active Friend as well as a feminist, Mary was involved in groups which were trying to develop a more woman-centered meeting. In the 1990s, she devoted an increasing amount of time and energy to Quaker activities.  She was active in Friends General Conference, especially in the Women's Center and was a member of the Ministry and Nurture Committee.  She served as Clerk of the Women's Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.  She was also involved in Quaker meetings as a clerk and observer.  In the mid-1990s she participated in the Structure and Workings Committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.  She wrote several articles concerning religion and the spiritual state of the Society of Friends, with special attention to silent worship.  She traveled to Alaska twice for their Annual Meeting, and was a visiting friend at Baltimore, MD Yearly Meeting and the New England Yearly Meeting. 

Mary’s papers and writings are in the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore Library: 

Her video, Revisioning the Sacred can be viewed here: 

A Celebration of Life for Mary under the Care of Kendal Monthly Meeting will be held on December 7, 2019 at 2 p.m. in the Kendal Auditorium.

In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the Kendal Reserve Fund.

To send flowers to Mary's family, please visit our floral section.


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