March MFM News – A Sampling

Friend Marian Fuson – 1920 to 2024

Marian Fuson passed away on February 7 at her home in the Quaker Kendal Retirement Community in Kennet Square PA. She was 103 years of age.

Marian was born to Quaker parents in New Jersey where she attended Moorestown Friends School. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1942 and joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation when Bayard Rustin visited the campus. In 1945 she married Nelson Fuson and they moved to Nashville where Nelson taught physics at Fisk University, an historic black college. (Larry Jordan, once a member of Memphis Meeting, was one of his students.)

Over the years Marian and Nelson worked with AFSC, FGC, FCNL, and Pendle Hill and several other WQOs and peace organizations. They were founders of the Nashville Meeting, helped organize SAYMA, and were very active supporters of the sit-ins and freedom rides organized by students at Fisk, among them John Lewis, who was a close friend and often babysat for their three children.

A founding member of our meeting, Mina Johnson, knew Marian in her Nashville years and met her again at Kendall. Mina writes, “Marion and Nelson Fuson were very important in the early days of the Memphis Meeting. They knew how to tackle forming a new meeting from the shreds of an old one. I have never encountered anyone more dedicated. When I moved here eleven years ago, Marion was clerk of the Kendal Meeting. She was a powerful force until late in her life, an impressive woman.”

Gray Cox, Clerk of the Quaker Institute for the Future, writes, “Marian might take a long time to think things through. She had to do a lot of listening, brainstorming, inquiry, and collaborative reasoning to arrive at something that everyone felt included their point of view and that they could agree to in good faith.”

When Marian was asked in an interview in 2009 for words of wisdom, she said, “Keep on. Keep on keeping on! Do it with integrity and as much as you can with grace. What else can you do if you are a Friend? You’ve got to do things. There is no point in talking. You have to live it.”