November 10, 1921 – May 28, 2019
Mildred Elizabeth Mott Binns. Strong woman in a contradictory world. Lover and advocate of the Earth, Peace and Justice for All. Brilliant humour. Beautiful mother. Born in the farm house at “The Home Place” in Iowa. To high school among her beloved and life-long friends at Olney Friends Boarding School, Ohio. Wooed by and married to Hubert Mendenhall in 1941. To the prize-winning dairy farm and home in Fairhope, Alabama to begin family life and to practice ‘the ancient art of making order where people dwell.’ Late 40’s: war, materialism, television, consumerism led to seeking simplicity and peace in Costa Rica in 1950. She, Hubert and the family, now Carol Francis, Ruth Eileen and Phillip Elwood, and with Hubert’s parents, two sisters, other Friends and their families, undertook to build home and community from scratch. There Juanita Lucia and Arturo Luis were born and she, alongside her sister- in-law, helped as mid-wife at the birth of others. She was active in all community events and endeavours.
Mildred Elizabeth created a way to thrive. She nourished and nursed her children in a wholesome and chemical-free life style, practicing simplicity in all things. She was skilled at removing stains, mending and repairing, using what was at hand and leaving a light footprint wherever she lived. A fine, self-taught seamstress, she created and sewed all the family’s clothing, household items, teddy bears and doll clothes. In the woods, she built trails, explored new water-ways, rocky gorges, wild places; their plants and birds and blooms, “guardening” the woods that surrounded her wherever she lived. She cherished her music, singing, her short-wave radio, HCJB Quito, Radio Universitaria, CBC, King FM, and Knowledge Network. She loved words, “working with words”, books, reading aloud. Gifted in correspondence and autobiography, she loved recording by word and photograph.
In later years she and Hubert travelled many thousands of miles, she the navigator with her love of maps and of finding beautiful places to camp and picnic, especially beside big trees and rushing rivers.
And to Vancouver Island, Canada, in the late 1970’s with Hubert where much of the family eventually joined them. She was to live there for more years than any other one place, surrounded by beloved Northern woodlands.
A small memorial Friends Meeting for Worship was held on First Day, the second of sixth month, 2019 in her home according to her wishes.
We are deeply grateful to those who helped us care for Mama in her last months and days here. You made all the difference.
“Now to whom shall I give my most beautiful flowers and finest fruits?”
“I’ll be seeing (thee) in all the familiar places” – Juanita
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