Tuesday, December 8, 2015


This drawing of the breaking of Silence at a Quaker Meeting appeared on the website of the Miami Meeting. I was curious about who had created the image and wondered it it was drawn by the artist Bobby Buskirk who had formerly been a member of Miami Meeting. Bobby's daughter Sally Gillespie who was my friend in the Friends Meeting of Ocala for many years was able to confirm that the picture was done by her mother.
Bobby and Phil Buskirk were married in Miami after Phil moved there in 1974. It was a second marriage for both of them. Bobby's first husband Robert Slane had died in 1972. Phil was divorced from Frances Hamer Kanzler to whom he was married from 1942 until the early seventies. Phil and Bobby were distant cousins and knew each other as children in Palisades, Michigan. Bobby was born August 18, 1916 and named Rosamond Mack Clark. She and Robert Slane parented four children, Mack, Robert, Sally and Susanna. Phil and Frances were also the parents of four, Charles, Philip, James, and Martha.

Phil Buskirk had been a powerful spokesperson for peace, justice and reconciliation as he worked for AFSC for many years. He held the position of Field Director for AFSC in Israel from 1959 to 1961. Bobby became a Quaker and joined the Miami Meeting after her marriage to Phil. She was always interested in art. She drew pastel portraits of people and animals.  She designed wood block prints, and she painted in oil and acrylic paints. Her love of art was passed on to her daughter Sally who became an art teacher in public schools.

Later Phil and Bobby moved south from Miami to the town of Florida City very near Homestead and the Everglades National Park. In 1994 extreme south Florida was in the path of Hurricane Andrew which became the costliest storm to hit the US up to that time. The home of Bobby and Phil was destroyed along with 25,000 other homes in Miami-Dade County. Instead of rebuilding in south Florida Bobby and Phil moved to higher ground in central Florida. They settled in the small town of McIntosh 18 miles south of Gainesville. Although they became a part of the Gainesville Friends Meeting their time in central Florida was short. Phil died in 1995 and Bobby's death followed the next year.

Sally said of her mother, "She loved Quaker Meeting.  She enjoyed getting to know the people.  She loved making up poems about people and playing word games and family games.  She liked to laugh and she loved to read." One daughter followed her mother into art, the other became a college librarian.

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