Celebration of life of Lee Lewis Harwood | April 30, 2014 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Community - April 30, 2014

Celebration of life of Lee Lewis Harwood

A celebration of the life of Lee Lewis Harwood, who died March 2 at The Sequoias in Portola Valley, will be held there at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 10. She was 96.

Born in Evanston, Illinois, she graduated from Evanston Township High School in 1934 and followed in her father's footsteps to Stanford University, graduating in 1938 as a member of the women's honorary society, Cap and Gown.

She met her future husband, Wilson Franklin Harwood, at Stanford and they were wed on Dec. 31, 1938, in Winnetka, Illinois. They were married for 69 years.

Their pioneering spirit, and Wilson's consulting career, kept them traveling internationally into their 90s. During their first 50 years together, she set up 25 households all over the world, including in Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Iran, Peru, England, Kuwait, Egypt, and both coasts of the U.S.

She lived by the motto, "Think Globally, Act Locally." Her paid positions were as a social worker, secretary to the Turkish ambassador to Kuwait, and poll worker in Portola Valley.

During the 1940s and 1950s in Washington, D.C., she worked with the League of Women Voters to win the right to vote for residents of the District of Columbia. She also volunteered with her daughters' Girl Scout troops, and successfully lobbied for a music program in the D.C. elementary schools.

Overseas, she started a band at the American School of Manila, helped establish a new orphanage in Tehran, and assisted in launching a mobile railroad car health clinic for the wives of railroad workers in Peru.

After returning to the U.S. and settling in Portola Valley in 1965, she rejoined the League of Women Voters, played in the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra, and reported on international subjects to her "Current Events" women's club.

She served as president of the Community Committee for International Students at Stanford and "adopted" foreign students each year, many of whom remained lifelong friends.

During her 26 years at The Sequoias retirement community of Portola Valley, she actively volunteered on numerous resident committees. As editor of The Sequoian newsletter in the late 1980s, she initiated the transition from typewriter to desktop publishing.

She is survived by her three children, Margaret "Peg" Harwood Milledge of Palo Alto, Sara Harwood Arnold of Lexington, Massachusetts, and Lewis Harwood of Bethesda, Maryland; her sister-in-law, Sara "Sally" Harwood de Bivort of Portola Valley; five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Donations may be made to KQED, the League of Women Voters, or The Sequoias' Tomorrow Fund. The Sequoias is located at 501 Portola Road in Portola Valley.

Obituaries are based on information provided by the family.


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