Francoise Wilhelmina Everts Douwes, “Willy,” died on August 24, 2014. She was a longtime resident of Abington and Cheltenham townships. Willy Douwes was born July 6, 1923 in Java, part of the Dutch East Indies. Her future husband, Karel Douwes, was a childhood friend. Following World War II, the couple immigrated to Amsterdam in 1945, where Karel studied medicine. They were married in 1950.
In 1958, the Douwes’ immigrated to the Philadelphia area, where Karel practiced medicine. He died in 1991. Willy was involved in numerous art organizations and the Netherlands-American Association of the Delaware Valley. She also worked as a tour guide and translator for the Center for International Visitors. In the 1980s, Willy became engaged in political and environmental activism. For two decades she was an active member of the Philadelphia chapter of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF.) Her collected papers are part of the Swarthmore College Peace collection. She is survived by two daughters, Francine Douwes Whitney of New York and Caissa Douwes of CT; one grandson, Harry Payne Whitney III; two step-grandsons, Frank and Turner Mullins; a brother, Menno Pennink, of Fayetteville, NC, and many nieces and nephews. A memorial service for her will be held Saturday, October 25th at 11 am at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, 8000 St. Martin’s Lane, Philadelphia. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to a peace or environmental organization in her name.