Susan Jewett Lepper August 11, 1934—May 14, 2019

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Susan Jewett Lepper
August 11, 1934—May 14, 2019

Friends who attended Susan Lepper’s Memorial Meeting in July 2019 said they saw her as a dignified and centered “Quaker lady” who seemed to glow from within. Her professional career told a whole other side of Susan as a woman who excelled in a male-dominated field.

Susan was born in Pittsburgh PA on August 11, 1934, the daughter of Helen Jewett Lepper and Robert Lepper. She attended Swarthmore College, receiving her BA in Economic cum laude Phi Beta Kappa in 1955. She then attended Yale University where she received a master’s degree in economics in 1956 and a Ph.D. in economics in 1963.

She used her expertise first as an economics instructor at Yale University, a researcher for New York Federal Reserve Bank, a staff member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, Chief Economist for the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, Assistant Director of the Research Division and Chief of the Fiscal Analysis Section for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Senior Economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, and as an economist for the U.S.  Department of the Treasury.

Susan first applied for membership in the Religious Society of Friends in New York Monthly Meeting in 1962. She moved to Washington, DC in 1963 and attended Friends Meeting of Washington (FMW) until she moved to Connecticut in 1966 and formally transferred her membership to New Haven Friends Meeting. She returned to Friends Meeting of Washington in 1991 and became a member of this Meeting in 1995.

As a Friend shared at Susan’s Memorial Meeting, it quickly became her practice to see what needed to be done and then doing it. After joining the Meeting, she immediately became Co-clerk of the Finance & Property Committee where she managed the financial aspects of repairing and restoring the Meetinghouse. She served on the FMW Board of Trustees from 1997 until 2009. She was the Meeting’s Recording Clerk from 1999 through 2001 and Alternate Presiding Clerk of the Meeting in 2009 and 2010.

She served as Clerk of the Records and Handbook Committee from 2004-2008. From 2005 to 2010 she served on the Planning Committee, which was responsible for developing plans for the FMW renovation work. Because of that renovation, attenders at her Memorial Meeting who used wheelchairs were able to go to the Quaker House Living Room to attend the reception. It was the first time that space had ever been handicap accessible.

Worshippers at her Memorial Meeting remember her quiet compassion that touched the lives of many of us. For several years she volunteered with the Meeting’s Hunger and Homelessness Taskforce.

She devoted many years to working with the American Friends Service Committee DC Peace and Economic Justice Program, the St. Luke’s Shelter, which was located near her home, and in support of a Friend who worked with the Torreon/Star Lake Chapter of the Navajo Nation.

In some instances, her care extended beyond the end of life. She curated the artwork and legacy of her father, who was a noted artist and professor of art and provided devoted care to a cat that had belonged to a deceased Friend.