Rest In Peace – Elspeth Pope
Hypatia-in-the-Woods’ beloved founder and director, Dr. Elspeth Pope, died peacefully, surrounded by loving family members, on Saturday, May 18. She underwent emergency surgery two weeks earlier for an intestinal blockage and made a brave attempt at recovery but found that she simply did not have the strength to fight her way back as she had several years earlier after a debilitating stroke. She leaves a startling vacancy in the world she inhabited.
A gathering to celebrate her beautiful life will be held Saturday, June 8, 2pm at St. David’s Church, 324 W. Cedar, Shelton, Washington. The gathering includes a reception in St. David’s Hall.
The board and volunteers of Hypatia are committed to continuing the program and vision to which Elspeth dedicated so much of her energy and her resources. Holly House remains a tribute to Elspeth’s beloved husband, Jim Holly; women will continue to come for their residencies in that place set apart for them to work uninterrupted.
Elspeth’s life was an inspiration. She put herself through her university studies, leaving her home province of Montreal, Quebec, to come to the U.S. in 1951. She worked in medical and university libraries before turning to teaching library and information science, frequently bumping into the “glass curtain” encountered by women in her profession. In 1983, she retired from the University of South Carolina, married Jim Holly, and moved to Olympia, Washington. The two built their home near Shelton in 1991, using windfall cedar trees from the extensive property.
Both letterpress enthusiasts, Jim and Elspeth planned to create a print shop in the cedar building that Jim had used as a workshop during their house-building project. That same year, at a book arts event in England, Elspeth met Dr. Melissa Hardie. Later, Dr. Hardie and her husband, Dr. Phil Budden, visited Jim and Elspeth and the dream of developing a U.S. branch of Hypatia Trust, which Melissa founded In Cornwall, was born.