Edward Broadfield, 63, Quaker leader

During Army basic training in 1968, physicians found that Edward N. Broadfield had glaucoma.

He received a medical discharge, his wife, Joan, said, "but he served long enough that he received medical benefits" for the rest of his life. That was important, she said, because physicians later had to remove an infected eye.

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Edward N. Broadfield of Chester was active in politics.

Despite that disability and diminishing sight in the other eye, Mr. Broadfield went on to become a longtime Quaker activist, even chairing a committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

On Friday, Nov. 26, Mr. Broadfield, 63, of Chester, where he was also a Democratic Party leader, died of gastrointestinal infection at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

"He was a person who gave his full attention to people," his wife said.

"In our neighborhood, there is a guy dismissed by some as tipsy. He listened to him a whole lot. . . . He was someone who paid attention."

Born in Duquesne, near Pittsburgh, Mr. Broadfield attended Lincoln and Temple Universities.

In the 1970s, his wife said, he was director of the Chester Citizens Information Center, a program of the League of Women Voters.

Later, she said, he did his most important work.

"Ed clerked a committee" of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting "on racial concerns in the 1980s," she wrote.

"In 1989 that group planned a gathering of Quakers - members and attenders of meetings throughout the U.S., and also England, South Africa, and Jamaica. More than 100 people, to everyone's amazement, showed up."

She wrote that Mr. Broadfield's "outreach to African Americans to be recognized as Quakers really did provide important support to a population that had been quite underrepresented among Quakers in the U.S."

From 1997 to 2007, he was cochair of the Worship and Care Standing Committee of the Yearly Meeting.

Mr. Broadfield did not limit his efforts to the Quakers.

For several years in the 1980s, his wife said, he was head of the Democratic Party in Chester.

And from the late 1980s into the early 1990s, she said, he was a credit counselor for the Philadelphia Urban League.

In Media, he was a board member of the predecessor of the Community Dispute Settlement program and for the last five years was a board member of Senior Victim Services.

Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, Jonathan; a daughter, Lara; and two sisters.

A memorial was set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23, at Chester Friends Meeting, 520 E. 24th St.


Contact staff writer Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.