Lillian Pemberton Willoughby, 93, of Deptford, a retired dietitian and Quaker activist who went to jail to protest the war in Iraq three months before her 90th birthday, died Jan. 15 at home.
For 65 years Mrs. Willoughby demonstrated against war, racism and nuclear proliferation. Sometimes she was arrested, but the charges were dismissed.
That wasn't what happened, however, when she and four other peace activists were charged with obstructing the entrance to the Federal Building in Philadelphia on March 20, 2003, the day after the Iraq war began.
Magistrate Judge Arnold C. Rapaport gave the protesters a choice: Pay a $250 fine or face jail time. Mrs. Willoughby told the judge she would pay if "you can use the money to provide clean drinking water to children in Iraq or to lessen our grandchildren's tax burden for paying for this war." Rapaport said he wasn't in a position to negotiate.
On Oct. 21, 2004, Mrs. Willoughby gave her husband, George, a hug and a kiss, rose from her wheelchair, and entered the federal detention center in Philadelphia to serve a seven-day sentence. She told supporters she would pass the time by exercising, praying and writing. She did fine, her daughter Sally said, and was soon back to protesting.
In June 2006, Mrs. Willoughby and other members of the Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia carried an apple pie to the Army Recruitment Center on Broad Street in Center City and told the staff that they wanted to enlist in place of their grandchildren. She was arrested with the other women, but charges were dismissed.
Mrs. Willoughby grew up Quaker on a farm in Iowa and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa, where she met her future husband.
They moved to Philadelphia in 1951 when he went to work for the American Friends Service Committee. In 1954 they bought an old farmhouse and three acres in Deptford.
"We always had a vegetable garden, and in the early years had cows, goats and chickens," her daughter said.
The four Willoughby children were raised on brown rice and homemade whole-wheat bread, she said. They spent their summer vacations at demonstrations, including a march to Washington; a protest of nuclear submarines in New London, Conn.; and vigils at military bases, she said.
In the 1960s, Mrs. Willoughby and her husband lent support to black families moving into the new housing development of Willingboro.
In 1971, they cofounded the Movement for a New Society in Philadelphia. The group used canoes to block U.S. ships leaving East Coast harbors with arms for the Vietnam War; demonstrated at nuclear plants in Limerick and in Seabrook, N.H.; and established the Philadelphia Life Center in a rambling house in West Philadelphia.
The center, for members who wanted to live communally, grew to 20 homes and a food co-op. In the 1980s, the Willoughbys lived in one of the houses, where they slept on the floor. At the time, the IRS had a $10,000 lien against the parents, who were lifelong tax resisters. A few years earlier, the government seized their red Volkswagen, which the family bought back at auction.
Mrs. Willoughby, who served as clerk of the Quaker-related War Tax Concerns Support Committee in Philadelphia, once told a reporter that she had stopped paying city taxes during Mayor Frank Rizzo's administration in the 1970s to protest public money he spent to refurbish his office.
While her husband was involved in Quaker activities, she was often the breadwinner, working as a dietitian consultant for hospitals and nursing homes.
By the time the Movement for a New Society disbanded in 1988, it had trained more than 2,000 people in nonviolent conflict resolution. The Willoughbys also helped organize Take Back the Night rallies in West Philadelphia to protest neighborhood crime.
In 1970s, the Willoughbys acquired a tract adjacent to their Deptford farmhouse with the help of friends and neighbors. It is now the Old Pine Farm Natural Lands Trust, a 40-acre nature conservancy.
In 2007, the Edwin Mellen Press published A Biography of Lillian and George Willoughby: Twentieth-Century Quaker Peace Activists by Gregory A. Barnes.
In addition to her husband of 68 years and daughter, Mrs. Willoughby is survived by a son, Alan; daughters Anita and Sharon; and three grandchildren.
A memorial celebration will be held in the spring at the Friends Center in Philadelphia.
Memorial donations may be made to the Granny Peace Brigade in care of Diane Cagun, 241 S. Sixth St., Apt. 1308, Philadelphia 19106.