Pamela Mae Babcock, La Jolla, CA Branch

Pamela Babcock

Pam passed away on May 11, 2016 at age 62.

Pamela Babcock was a loved member of the La Jolla Pen Women.  Her life was fascinating!  She shared her “light,” and her energetic, fun personality not only with her Pen Women friends but with all she knew or didn’t know. “All for one and one all!” How Pam lived this. Pam led the Neuropathy Support Group of San Diego for many years and was a member of the La Jolla Garden Club.

Pam’s creativity abounded when she traveled to Soreze, France, an ‘art heaven,’ where she created her first painting. Her paintings, cards, and poems reveal her whimsy.  Her love of life shone forth in her creative, different, vibrant paintings and her wonderful stunning ‘Pam Jewelry.’ Pam was a creator who saw things differently.

Her love for sales and food brought her to a successful catering career where she had private acquaintances with such celebrities as Lucianno Pavarotti, Mohammad Ali, Desi Arnaz, Harry James, and Telly Savalas.

It is hard to understand why Pam contracted a rare debilitating disease which quickly took her life.  There is some consolation that her sixty-three years were full and rich.

With her beautiful smile and infectious laugh she will always be remembered by those who touched her life and she theirs. The La Jolla Pen Women are blessed to have had her as a dedicated and ardent member.

Pam Babcock
by Lois Batchelor

Who is she who made each person she talked with feel special?
It was Pam.

Who lit up a room when she was in it?
It was Pam.

Who was she whose fun and extraordinary paintings made you smile?
It was Pam.

Who created stunning and novel jewelry?
It was Pam.

Who was energetic, vivacious, and caring?
It was Pam.

Who was she whose spirit danced without and within her beauty?
It was Pam.

Who was she whom you always were glad just to see?
It was Pam.

Who was she who gave us the great joy of knowing her?
It was Pam.

And who are they who wish the WAS would still be IS?
Pam, all those who knew you!

Thank you, talented and loved Pam,
for touching us in an “always” way.

Whom do and will we miss
beyond our letters, art, and music?
It IS You, PAM

IT IS YOU!!!!!!!
You are gracing the heavens now, aren’t you?


Lois Duncan, Sarasota, FL Branch

lois-duncanWorld renowned author, Lois Duncan, passed away on June 15, 2016 in Sarasota, Florida. She was a spunky 82 years young.

Lois was the author of over fifty published young adult books and 300 published articles. Of her published novels, four were made into films:

I Know What You Did Last Summer
Hotel for Dogs
Killing Mr. Griffin
Don’t Look Behind You (television series)

Novelist Stephanie Meyers (of the Twilight series fame) once wrote that as a child growing up, Lois Duncan was her favorite author; that she read everything Lois wrote.  Aspiring to follow in Lois Duncan’s footsteps, Stephanie is now known world-wide for her vampire novels and other books as well. Only recently, Stephanie optioned Lois’ books, Down a Dark Hall, for the movie rights.

Two noted quotes by Lois:

“Writers ‘get started’ the day they are born. The minds they bring into the world with them are the amazing machines their stories will come out of, and the more they feed into it, the richer those stories will be.”

“Your actions are important and you are responsible for them.”

In recognition of her passing, newspapers across the country published her obituary.  The Sarasota Branch will miss this gracious, humble and witty Letters Member.

Lois Duncan might possibly be one of the most famous Pen Women amongst us. She was truly genuine and humble … a pleasure to be around.
– Caroline McKeon, PhD, Sarasota Branch

Harriet Foster-Parrish, Nashville Branch

Harriet Foster Parrish, Nashville Branch of the National League of American Pen WomenHarriet was a long-standing member of the Nashville Pen Women in Tennessee who gently placed each of us under her wing.  She generously shared her knowledge with Art and love.  All reciprocated feelings toward her as a mentor.

We often would meet in her home for play-dates to learn a new skill in the arts. We are all benefactors of her kindness and gentle spirit.  She will be greatly missed.

—Marie Palazzolo, President, National League American Pen Women-Nashville Branch

Harriet Foster-Parrish, age 97, passed on February 16, 2016. In her early years she received a College Scholarship from the National League American Pen Women headquarters in Washington DC. She was a Professional Artist-Painter who enjoyed creating Greeting Cards out of Paper and designs. She worked with Oils, Watercolors and Pastels. She leaves behind her dear friends and fellow members at the National League of American Pen Women, the National Society of Decorative Painters, and the Gideons International Auxiliary.

Donna Freckmann, Pensacola FL Branch

Donna Freckmann
Donna Freckmann passed away on Saturday, July 9, 2016 at age 77 saying, “I’ve lived a full life.”

Donna had a great passion for journalism and wrote a society and art column for the Pensacola News Journal. She was also editor of Pensacola Magazine and really connected with her readers. She loved to tell interesting, passionate stories about local society and local events.

Closest to her soul was Art and the realization that creative endeavors help healing at the inner soul level. She was influenced heavily by Taoist sayings such as, “When I feel most destroyed, I am about to grow.” She displayed artwork at both Quayside and Blue Morning Galleries in Pensacola.

In the Spring of 2016, Donna participated in the NLAPW Pensacola branch art show called “Nobis” and was also included in a self published book also called ”Nobis” which means “us” in Latin. Mara Viksnins, President of the Pensacola Chapter puts it this way: “She will be sorely missed by our ladies as she always gave from the heart. There was nothing ever phony about her. She was a genuine artist to the core.”

Gayle Norton Hornsby, Nashville Branch

Gayle Norton HornsbyGayle Norton Hornsby departed on June 25, 2016 at the age of 82.

Nashville Branch President Marie Palazzolo says, “It is difficult to choose one or two bits about a person who made positive changes to so many people.

The thing that comes to mind when I think of Gayle is how her eyes would sparkle whenever we would plan a Pen Women event.   Her creative spark, energy, and sense of humor were the core of many programs. She worked tirelessly with the literacy programs in surrounding counties.”

Gayle wrote for the Hendersonville Free Press and also for the Hendersonville Star Newspaper in Tennessee. She was best known for her weekly article, “Gayle’s Tales.”

Throughout her life she had many achievements, but her most recent award was the Lifetime Achievement and Honorary Award from The National League American Pen Women-Nashville Branch of which she was an active Letters member for several decades.

Dorothy Kishibay, Connecticut Pen Women

Dorothy Kishibay

About Dorothy Margaret Kishibay, by daughter Darby Hobbs:

Our Mother was a mystic artist, she saw the visible and the invisible. She brought forth an energy and a spirituality that transcended every day thinking. In her early days, Mom knew instinctively that art and her faith would collide and form her center and cast her on her mission. She later would say, “I find I am an instrument of the Lord with a God-given talent which allows me to express joy.”

An artist is not just painting what they see, they paint what the eye can’t see, they paint their interpretation of love, hope, caring, nurturing, power, strength, healing, transformation, learning, innocence, sensitivity and struggles.

Through her landscapes, portraits, roses, poems and teaching many young minds Dorothy truly became what she was meant to be. Today we are reminded of what courage Dorothy had to defy all odds and become what her purpose was in life.


Rose creations by Dorothy Kishibay
Rose creations by Dorothy Kishibay


Dorothy's Roses on the cover of The Pen Woman magazine, June 2003
“Next to Real Roses” Dorothy Kishibay, The Pen Woman magazine, June 2003

arlene_mattosG. Arlene Silva Mattos, Modesto Branch

Arlene Mattos died on June 16, 2016 at the age of 87. Arlene published two books of poetry and was a member of the Modesto branch of NLAPW, serving as the Membership Chairperson from 1992-1998.

In her own words, Arlene was “a ranch-oriented native of California,” and that orientation was often reflected in her writing. After raising her four children and working, Arlene turned to writing. Her poetry was published throughout the United States, and she also wrote prose and articles that appeared in magazines and newspapers. In June of 1996, Arlene was appointed Poet Laureate of Modesto and served two terms until 2000. She wrote poetry for specific occasions and spoke to groups about poetry, especially to school-age children.

Kathleen Alice Neal, Atlanta Branch

Kathleen Alice NealKathleen Alice Neal, longtime member of the Atlanta Branch, passed away January 11, 2016 at the age of 70. At every Branch meeting she attended, she brightened the lives of fellow members with her avid interest in creativity and creators.

Although she worked (and wrote) her entire adult life for various non-profit organizations, she delighted in children and shared selections from her book of children’s poems with many of us in the Atlanta Branch. She shared stories of her worldwide travels, and laughed with us over the antics of her dogs. It was through Kathleen that we learned firsthand about the plight of POW/MIA families. She was a woman of great empathy, deep insight, and exceptional writing ability. We will miss her greatly.

Margaret Lynch Siskow, Iowa City Branch

Margaret Lynch SiskowLetters member of the Iowa City Branch, Margaret Siskow, age 74, of Sigourney, Iowa, died on April 6, 2016, at the Keokuk County Health Center in Sigourney.  Margaret was born Dec. 30, 1941, in Mason City.

A writer of great empathy and compassion, in April of 1985, Margaret founded Hospice of Keokuk County where she volunteered and served as Administrator until retiring in 2002.  In 1984, she received the State of Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Award.  Margaret was an active member of many writer’s groups, including The University Club Writers, Writers on the Avenue, The Poetry Gang, The National League of American Pen Women, Society of Great River Poets and the Iowa Poetry Association.  For a number of summers, she challenged herself by taking classes at the University of Iowa Writing Festival.

Many of her poems and short stories were published in Lyrical Iowa, Julien’s Journal, Our Iowa, and the anthology “Leaves By Night, Flowers By Day,” to name a few.  She and her husband raised three children and enjoyed close relationships with their four grandsons.  As a member of the Red Hat Ladies, she enjoyed her friends and was known as “the nicest lady one could ever meet”.

Emily Virginia Blake Vail, Atlanta Branch

Emily Virginia Blake Vail


Emily Virginia Blake Vail, 93, passed away May 30, 2016, after a brief illness. She loved teaching poetry to children, and her work with a “Poetry in the Schools” project was instrumental in instilling a love of poetry in hundreds of young people.

She was a delightful lady with a sometimes-wicked sense of humor. She always had a story or poem when the occasion arose and never hesitated to surprise people with a special turn of phrase, as evidenced in her poem “Just Past February”:

Just Past February

Just past February days goose-step toward summer,
green daggers slash the faded grass,
and the delicate peony pinks, small as butterbean
buds breaking open hard earth, hide as two sleepy
ants pass

Just past February raindrops raise goose pimples
on the city streets.
Store windows bloom before nature’s flowers,
and the governor’s lady, neat as a mannequin, steps
from the limousine and pauses to give the chauffeur orders.

Just past February black starlings like after-inventory
Sale shoppers
cheep and rattle the bare tree bones,
and the woodpecker’s hollow knock on the knobby trunk
is impatient—he fears there is
nobody home.

Just past February the sun is deranged and burns with
a wavering wick.
Color and contour are fickle fifteen, and the bosoms of Men are likewise
secretary resigns in a huff, the lawyer has a heart
attack, the preacher takes poison, and mother is
especially mean.

Just past February the rusty tin can has squatters’
rights in the yard,
leaves and twigs lie, hopefully unnoticed like sins,
and the old tire swing, stale as a doughnut and left
all winter to its own devices, comes to life with
the March winds.