Date of birth: March 16 1921
Date of death: January 20 2018
Elizabeth “Lib” Segal, 96, drama educator, theatre director, costume designer, and fierce advocate for youth, the arts, and social justice, died of natural causes on January 20, 2018 in Portland, Oregon.
Lib was born in Winston Salem, North Carolina, the fifth child of George Stoney of Ireland and Katherine Crenshaw Stoney of Kentucky. She lived in Washington DC for over 60 years before moving to Friends House in Sandy Spring, Maryland in 2001, and then to Portland, Oregon in 2014. She graduated from the University of North Carolina (UNC) with a bachelors degree in theatre and costume design, completed her course work for a Masters in Costume Design from UNC, and after her children were grown, got a Masters in Education degree from Catholic University on full scholarship. She went on to pursue postgraduate studies in Conflict Resolution at George Mason University.
Lib contributed immensely to her community as an innovative drama teacher and team leader with the Integrated Arts Program in Montgomery County schools and through her leadership with groups such as Adventure Theatre, Arena Stage, Theatre Lobby, and the American Association of Arts Educators. A long time member of Friends Meeting of Washington, Lib was an active Quaker dedicated to national and international conflict resolution and promoting peace. She made significant contributions to groups such as Peace Child, Creative Response and the Washington DC- based City at Peace. An avid supporter of children’s theatre, Lib authored a booklet: Peace Themes, Dreams and Schemes’ in Plays for Youth.
Lib, along with her husband Ben Segal, made their family home a place to gather and house civil rights, labor, and peace activists, leaders and students from around the country and the world. They joined picket lines and protest marches for peace, labor and civil rights, including the integration of Glen Echo Amusement Park. To celebrate their 13th wedding anniversary, Lib and Ben took the family to the 1963 March on Washington where they were honored to hear Martin Luther King’s legendary speech “I Have a Dream”.
Initially with her husband Ben, and later on her own, Lib became a world traveler with friends and colleagues in many nations. She lived in England and Switzerland as a young wife and mother and over the years visited Ireland, Australia, Israel and the Soviet Union.
As a young woman Lib had a job teaching ballroom dancing in New York City, and later taught many of her friends and family. She loved dancing and singing and became an avid pool player, continuing to play pool and sing songs well into her 96th year.
Her legacy includes 3 daughters: Barbara Segal, Margery Segal, and Doris Segal Matsunaga, 3 sons-in-law: John Goncalves, Jason Phelps, and Peter Matsunaga, 4 grandchildren: Joel Matsunaga, Kelly Matsunaga, Jesse Goncalves and Javon Phelps, Joel’s wife: Heather Emmons Matsunaga, and a wide circle of loving extended family and friends.
The family would most appreciate cards, memories and stories about Lib. Although Lib loved flowers, donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to Friends Committee on National Legislation https://www.fcnl.org/ and/or Gala Theater http://en.galatheatre.org/
19 tribute candles have been lit
Candle lit by Loren Scherbak Sending hugs from my siblings and Carol. I always looked to Lib for guidance and support. What an amazing person! I am so grateful I have known her my whole life.
Candle lit by Staff at Crown Memorial Center Our sincere condolences.
Candle lit by Michaela Kelly may you rest in peace
Candle lit by LeAnne Smith a life to celebrate...
Candle lit by Robyn & Bob Wagner "I'm not going to die. I'm going home like a shooting star." Sojourner Truth
Candle lit by Doris Segal Matsunaga Love you, mom.
Candle lit by Anne So glad that you gave me my dear friend Margery. May your memory be a blessing.
Candle lit by Alyce Dodge A great woman, and a great family. Lots of love to you all.
Candle lit by Lianne B. Chong May you Rest In Peace.
Candle lit by Karen Loebl May your light continue to shine bright and guide. What an amazing woman. Deepest heartfelt condolences to Doris, Peter, Joel, and Kelly, and all of her ohana. How so lucky you all are to have such an incredible person in your life for 96 years! Wow! What a blessing to all who knew and loved her!
Candle lit by Carol Hannaford I feel honored to have been welcomed to the family. In these difficult times, when I wonder and worry about where our country is headed, and chafe in frustration at my inability to effect change, Lib will remain as a reminder that I cannot sit and be silent.
Candle lit by Stacey McConlogue A wonderful life so well lived, with gifts given to so many.
Candle lit by Joel Matsunaga Love you Grandma.
Candle lit by Beth Morrison All of us at Friends House who knew and enjoyed Lib will cherish our memories of her--a strong, creative, delightful member of our community.
Candle lit by Karen Young What a full, richly engaged and loving life , with wonderful children that will carry on your legacy...
Candle lit by Diane Grimes My sincerest condolences to all her family. Lib lived a creative, self giving life for her beliefs and her Love for her Family and Humanity. a truly beautiful soul. Thank you Lib for so many wonderful memories. We know she rests in Peace.
Candle lit by Dearest Lib You have been one of my strongest women models and I feel blessed to have been part of your life through all our decades with Peace Child and City at Peace. I thank the God of all religions for your time with us. with my love, Lucia
Candle lit by Steve Jones I tune the pianos twice a year at Friends Home in Sandy Springs, and got to know Lib 15 years ago. Every time I'd tune, Lib and I would have coffee. I write musicals. She encouraged me to write a musical about Winston Salem, and the Tobacco Workers struggle there (the struggle that gave us the song, "We Shall Overcome"), and I patterned a leading character, "Frances", on stories Lib told me: this character is born in Winston Salem, falls in love with a union organizer from the North, and is drawn in to the civil rights and labor movements. Pete Seeger helped us in the creation of this musical. I am so thankful for the gift of Lib Segal!
Candle lit by Adventure Theatre MTC all of us at Adventure Theatre MTC are sorry to hear of Lib's passing. She was an important part of the history of our theater and a large contributor of the lives of the young people we serve. Peace, love and comfort.