Charlotte J. Conroy, 88, a longtime board member of International House of Philadelphia who often made her own house an international gathering place, died Tuesday at her Media home of complications from osteoporosis.
Mrs. Conroy began serving on the International House board during the 1960s while working in the personnel department at the nearby American Friends Service Committee headquarters in Center City.
By then, she already had cultivated a deep interest in foreign affairs.
Mrs. Conroy, who was born and raised in the San Francisco area, majored in international relations at the University of California at Berkeley. There, she met a history major, F. Hilary Conroy, who would become her husband of 45 years.
She moved to Media in 1951, after her husband was hired to teach history at the University of Pennsylvania. While her husband was on sabbatical in Japan during the 1958-59 academic year, she helped him organize seminars and conferences.
When the International House was forced to relocate to make way for a street widening, Mrs. Conroy helped plan the move to 37th and Chestnut Streets. The new building was dedicated in 1970.
While remaining on the International House board, Mrs. Conroy took a full-time position as coordinator of the "International Classroom" program at the University of Pennsylvania museum.
She ran a variant of a speakers bureau that allowed foreign students to earn modest fees for talking at local high schools and colleges. It also allowed her to promote her passion.
"She was very committed to internationalism on a person-to-person basis," said Carole Parker, director of building operations at International House.
She frequently invited Chinese, Japanese and other Asian students to the family homestead, said her son, F.H. "Rusty" Conroy 3d.
"She was a very warm, wonderful person," Parker said.
After Mrs. Conroy retired in 1990, she remained active with the Friends, serving as the head of the International Outreach Committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
She also became deeply involved in gardening. "It wasn't a show garden," her son said. With his mother, it was "almost a religion." She grew tomatoes, lettuce and raspberries; pansies, aster and chrysanthemums.
In addition to her husband and son, she is survived by a daughter, Sharlie Conroy Ushioda, and four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Jan. 10 at Providence Friends Meeting, 105 N. Providence Rd., Media.
Contributions may be made to the American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia 19102.